According to Parsons, D.C. code already has an allowance for some semiautomatic handguns — pistols with a magazine holding fewer than 12 live rounds were grandfathered under the now-overturned 1976 ban.
"They are falsely claiming that all semiautomatic handguns are banned
," Parsons said. She said the NRA will wait until the city sets its new rules to decide how to respond.
The District interprets its prohibition to encompass all semiautomatic handguns. Alan Gura, one of the lawyers who represented D.C. residents seeking gun rights
in District of Columbia v. Heller, said one line of D.C. code basically renders semiautomatic handguns as a machine gun, which would still be illegal.
Current city law defines a "machine gun" to mean "any firearm which shoots, is designed to shoot
, or can be readily converted or restored to shoot
: a) Automatically, more than one shot by a single function of the trigger; b) Semiautomatically, more than 12 shots without manual reloading."