4th Circuit to hear oral arguments in two key gun rights cases

The oral arguments in Lane v. Holder (CA4 Case 11-1847) will take place next Tuesday, October 23rd at 9:30AM in room 201 (the ‘Green Courtroom’ ) of the Powell Courthouse in Richmond Virginia.  Lane is the first case docketed for the day in that courtroom so plan to be there early if you want to attend the Lane oral arguments.

One day later on Wednesday, October 24th, the 4th Circuit will hear oral arguments in Woollard v.  Gallagher (CA4 Case 12-1437).  Oral arguments are scheduled to begin at 9:30AM in room 412 (the ‘Red Courtroom’) but Woollard is currently scheduled as the last of the four cases docketed for that day.

Lane v. Holder

Lane v. Holder is a case challenging the federal prohibition on inter-state purchase of handguns and Virginia’s equivalent state law prohibition. The Plaintiff, Michelle Lane, lives in DC and, since the closure of DC’s only FFL, was unable to legally receive a handgun that she wished to purchase for personal protection.

The Timeline of The Case

The case was initially filed on May 10, 2011 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

On June 15, 2011, District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee dismissed the case on standing grounds.

On July 29, 2011, the plaintiff filed an appeal with the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Woollard v. Gallagher

Woollard v. Gallagher is the appellate follow-up to the Maryland state case Woollard v. Sheridan which I have written about as it progressed.  For those unfamiliar with the case, it involves a Second Amendment challenge to Maryland’s discretionary carry permit issuance standards.

The timeline of The Case

The case was filed on June 29th, 2010 in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland

On March 2nd, 2012, District Judge Benson Legg granted summary judgement in favor of the Plaintiffs; striking down Maryland’s discriminatory issuance standards and effectively rendering Maryland a shall-issue state.

On March 30th, 2012, Judge Legg granted a temporary stay of the ruling to allow the state time to petition for a permanent stay.

On April 6th, 2012, the state appealed the ruling to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals as Woollard v. Gallagher.

On July 23rd, 2012, Judge Legg denied the state’s request for a permanent stay and lifted the temporary stay effective August 7th, 2012

On August 2nd, 2012, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay pending the outcome of the appeal

If You Plan to Attend Either Day

The address for the Powell Courthouse is:

1000 East Main Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219

View Larger Map

The 4th Circuit website also notes that the Bank Street entrance to the Courthouse is currently closed due to construction, requiring use of the Main Street entrance.

They also caution that all electronic devices are prohibited in the courthouse and that visitors must present photo id before being admitted.

About John Pierce

Monachus Lex is written by Virginia attorney John Pierce. John is a life-long gun rights advocate, an NRA certified instructor and co-founder of the nationwide gun rights group OpenCarry.org.

He has an undergraduate degree in Computer Information Systems, an MBA from George Mason University and is a 2012 Honors Graduate of Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, MN.

Professionally, John is a member of the American Bar Association Second Amendment Civil Rights Litigation Subcommittee and his writings have been published by the ABA Civil Rights Litigation Committee and the ABA Minority Trial Lawyer Committee.

In addition, his open carry advocacy has been featured on Nightline and The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.
This entry was posted in Concealed Carry, District of Columbia, Federal Courts, Firearm Sales, Maryland, Permit Requirements, Virginia. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to 4th Circuit to hear oral arguments in two key gun rights cases

  1. MKEgal says:

    “all electronic devices are prohibited in the courthouse and visitors must present photo id before being admitted”
    I strongly disagree with both of these policies. How on earth can those be justified for public safety (which is the only reason I can think that they might be in place)?
    Why should I have to tell the gov’t who I am in order to enter a public building & attend a public hearing handled by public employees?
    I could agree with not having electronics on in the courtroom, that’s only polite. But to ban them from the building??

  2. Jack says:


    If you were summoned to court for jury duty, and you were told you could not enter because you were carrying your firearm, how do you think that would play out?

    I’d be interested to see if the court would be willing to violate someone’s 2nd Amendment rights in order to require that person to appear for jury duty.

    It would be an interesting challenge, I think.

    • John Pierce says:

      I think the court would uphold that violation without blinking an eye . The courts have great latitude in how they conduct their affairs and you will recall that Heller specifically named courthouses as a sensitive place.

    • Don LaRue says:

      I’ve always wondered about that also…If they allow the police to carry(not a right and the police don’t have to protect anyone) in court houses but then don’t allow a juror to carry. It amounts to losing your right to self defense under threat of arrest if you don’t report to jury duty. If that is the case, then I would think if one demanded that the state be 100% liable for any damages incurred as a juror, you would have a case….Me,…I just don’t answer their improperly served summons for possible jury selection….Not going to give up that right, which is an individual power if you will, so that the state can administer one of their powers in seeking justice.

  3. Don LaRue says:

    The one thing that I don’t like about most of these gun cases is that they(gun lobby) seem to push all these permit/license involved cases….Anything that the government can license, is not something that an individual has a right to do….I have yet to see one open carry without a license case get moved by the gun lobby….But that is where the right ultimately lies, and not in concealed/open carry with a license.

    U.S. Supreme Court
    319 U.S. 105 (1943)

    “It is contended, however, that the fact that the license tax can suppress or control this activity is unimportant [319 U.S. 105, 113] if it does not do so. But that is to disregard the nature of this tax. It is a license tax – a flat tax imposed on the exercise of a privilege granted by the Bill of Rights. A state may not impose a charge for the enjoyment of a right granted by the federal constitution.”

    “The tax imposed by the City of Jeannette is a flat license tax, the payment of which is a condition of the exercise of these constitutional privileges. The power to tax the exercise of a privilege is the power to control or suppress its enjoyment.”

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