Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

Court Rebukes D.C. for Discretionary Licensing Regime, Orders Issuance of Concealed Carry Licenses to Eligible Applicants

Friday, May 22, 2015

Court Rebukes D.C. for Discretionary Licensing Regime, Orders Issuance of Concealed Carry Licenses to Eligible Applicants

On May 18, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an order prohibiting enforcement of provisions of D.C. law that effectively grant to the police chief the discretion to decide who may lawfully exercise the right to bear arms in public for self-defense. This follows on the heels of an earlier ruling in which the District lost the argument that the right to “bear arms” does not apply outside the home, leading to the hasty enactment of an “emergency” may-issue concealed carry licensing scheme. Such a license is the only means by which most people can lawfully carry firearms in D.C. for self-defense.  Monday’s case, Wren v. District of Columbia, made a preliminary ruling that D.C.’s policy of discretionary issuance would likely run afoul of the Second Amendment.

Under D.C.’s law, an applicant must show a “good reason to fear injury to his or her person” or “other proper reason” for the carrying of a concealed handgun. Apart from employment involving the handling or transportation of cash or other valuables, the only way to meet these requirements is to show “a special need for self-protection,” or for protection of a vulnerable family member, “distinguishable from the general community” (emphasis added). In other words, the District has established a strong legal presumption against exercise of the right that an applicant has to rebut with “evidence of specific threats or previous attacks which demonstrate a special danger” to the life of the applicant or vulnerable family member.

The upshot of these requirements is that most applications will be summarily denied, which D.C. acknowledged to the court was the point of enacting them. The court wrote, “Defendants argue that the … requirement[s] reasonably further[] its important governmental interest in reducing the number of concealed weapons in public in order to reduce the risks to other members of the public and to reduce the disproportionate use of such weapons in the commission of violent crimes.”

According to the court, however, meeting the “good” or “proper” reason requirement “does not indicate, in any way, whether that person is less likely to misuse handguns or may be less dangerous.” The court also found the requirements irrelevant to the question of whether the person would be at an increased risk of an accidental shooting or of criminal activity. “Is the Court to conclude,” Judge Frederick Scullin asked rhetorically, “that people who do not have a heightened need for self-protection are more likely to commit violent crimes?”

On the other hand, the court also found “it possible that even persons who cannot manifest a present need for self-protection are just as likely to be victims of a violent crime.”

Accordingly, the court ruled, “Defendants have failed to demonstrate that there is any relationship … between reducing the risk to other members of the public and/or violent crime and the District of Columbia's ‘good reason/’proper reason’ requirement.” Instead, “this requirement makes it impossible for the overwhelming majority of law-abiding citizens to obtain licenses to carry handguns in public for self-defense, thereby depriving them of their Second Amendment right to bear arms.”

To date, the neither the District Court nor the D.C. Court of appeals have delayed implementation of Judge Scullin’s order that prohibits both enforcement of the unconstitutional provisions and denial of applications for those who otherwise meet licensing requirements and are eligible to possess and carry firearms in the District. For now, at least, D.C. is effectively a “shall-issue” jurisdiction.

How long that situation will last is anybody’s guess, but D.C. officials have already indicated to the media that they will continue their campaign to make D.C.’s gun control laws the strictest in the nation.

In the meantime, D.C. residents have access to what the U.S. Supreme Court characterized as a right to carry firearms “in case of confrontation,” rather than a District-granted consolation prize for those who have, metaphorically, taken one for the team by enduring the first round of aggression while disarmed.

TRENDING NOW
New Hampshire Governor Signs Constitutional Carry Into Law

News  

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

New Hampshire Governor Signs Constitutional Carry Into Law

Measure Effective Immediately. Today was a great victory for gun owners in New Hampshire when Gov. Chris Sununu signed Senate Bill 12 into law, allowing law-abiding New Hampshirites to carry their firearms in the manner that ...

North Dakota: Important Self-Defense Bills Pass House

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

North Dakota: Important Self-Defense Bills Pass House

Today, February 21, two important pro-gun bills passed the House of Representatives.  House Bill 1169, the constitutional/permitless carry bill, passed the House with a 83-9 vote and House Bill 1310, the school carry bill, passed ...

Kentucky: Senate Constitutional/Permitless Carry Legislation Amended

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Kentucky: Senate Constitutional/Permitless Carry Legislation Amended

Today, Senator Robin Webb (D-18) offered a strike and insert amendment to constitutional/permitless carry legislation, Senate Bill 7.

New Mexico: Beware of "Fake News" Regarding HB 50!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

New Mexico: Beware of "Fake News" Regarding HB 50!

Late last week, instead of voting on House Bill 50, the New Mexico House referred the bill back to the House Judiciary Committee.

New Hampshire: Governor Sununu Signs Constitutional/Permitless Carry Bill Into Law!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

New Hampshire: Governor Sununu Signs Constitutional/Permitless Carry Bill Into Law!

Today, in a private signing ceremony, Governor Chris Sununu signed Senate Bill 12 into law.  Similar legislation had been vetoed by former Governor Maggie Hassan for two years in a row, but thanks to your active involvement, ...

NRA-Backed Resolution to Stop Obama Attack on State Wildlife Management Passes House

News  

Hunting  

Friday, February 17, 2017

NRA-Backed Resolution to Stop Obama Attack on State Wildlife Management Passes House

On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.J. Res. 69, a measure that would use the Congressional Review Act to repeal an Obama-era rule passed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to preempt ...

Massachusetts: Legislation Introduced to Challenge AG Healey’s Gun Ban

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Massachusetts: Legislation Introduced to Challenge AG Healey’s Gun Ban

The Massachusetts General Court’s 2017 legislative session is in full swing with the introduction of numerous pro- and anti-gun bills.  Among the pro-gun bills are Senate Docket 1157 and Senate Docket 1889.  Both SD 1157 ...

California DOJ Withdraws “Assault Weapon” Regulations

Monday, February 13, 2017

California DOJ Withdraws “Assault Weapon” Regulations

As previously reported, after the California Department of Justice submitted regulations regarding newly classified “assault weapons” to the Office of Administrative Law (“OAL”) for publication in the California Code of Regulations (CCR), NRA and California ...

Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Ignores Heller: No Protection for Guns It Deems “Dangerous”

News  

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Ignores Heller: No Protection for Guns It Deems “Dangerous”

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinions in Heller and McDonald, many of the lower U.S. courts have been making up their own rules when it comes to the Second Amendment. Tuesday’s outrageous opinion by ...

Senate Votes to Block Obama Social Security Administration Gun Ban; Legislation Heads to President Trump

News  

Friday, February 17, 2017

Senate Votes to Block Obama Social Security Administration Gun Ban; Legislation Heads to President Trump

On Wednesday morning, the U.S. Senate voted 57-43 in favor of H.J.Res.40, which would block the implementation of an Obama-era rule under which the Social Security Administration (SSA) would report the names of tens of ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.