Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News Second Amendment

Winning in the Courts on Right-to-Carry

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Winning in the Courts on Right-to-Carry

In July, gun owners won a critical victory for the Right-to-Carry in the combined cases of Wrenn v. D.C. and Grace v. D.C. In a strong opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. voided D.C.’s restrictive system for issuing handgun carry permits to only those it finds have a “good reason.”  

Washington, D.C. has been issuing carry permits to only a select few individuals while denying the vast majority of law-abiding gun owners their right to carry a handgun for personal protection.  Citing the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which clearly held that law-abiding individuals have the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense, the Appeals Court held that the District’s scheme is unconstitutional. 

Of course, the reason is simple. D.C. officials have a long history of denying the Second Amendment rights of city residents and visitors. To them, a Supreme Court decision is of no consequence if it contravenes their long-held opposition to our firearms freedom.  

And this hostility runs deep. In July 2014, a federal district court held that D.C.’s complete ban on carrying firearms violated the Second Amendment. Rather than appeal that decision, the District flouted the judicial branch and enacted its restrictive carry regime, which remains a total carry prohibition for all but a very few. 

D.C.’s sham system for granting permits requires applicants to show a “good” or “proper” reason for carrying concealed – which does not include the natural right of self-defense. This includes a “special need for self-protection distinguishable from the general community;” job duties requiring the transport of large amounts of cash or valuables; or the need to protect a close relative who cannot provide for his or her own self-defense. Practically speaking, this means the vast majority of law-abiding gun owners who want to carry a handgun for self-defense are disqualified.

To them, a Supreme Court decision is of no consequence if it contravenes their long-held opposition to our firearms freedom. 

In striking down the District’s permit system, the court pointed out that it was very similar to the handgun ban at issue in Heller. D.C. attempted to argue that their restrictive permitting system was a “reasonable” regulation on carrying firearms because permits were technically available, at least in theory. The court dismissed this argument by noting that the handgun prohibition addressed by Heller also had theoretical exceptions, but it was nonetheless unconstitutional because it prevented average, law-abiding people from exercising their constitutional right to keep and bear arms.  

Most Americans would find it shocking to call a near total ban on carrying handguns for self-defense a “reasonable” regulation, but this was actually D.C.’s least egregious line of argument.  Before claiming that the carry law was a “reasonable” regulation, the District argued that any scrutiny by the court was unwarranted because the law simply didn’t burden any protected rights.

That’s right, D.C. officials claimed that a de facto prohibition on the Right-to-Carry didn’t burden any protected right whatsoever, that the Second Amendment has nothing to do with protecting oneself against violent attack while in public.  

And if that wasn’t enough, the District argued that even if there is a right to carry a handgun for personal protection, that right simply does not apply to D.C., because the city has a special character that demands heightened restrictions on constitutional freedoms.  In short, D.C. officials believe they should have ultra-constitutional authority to restrict the Second Amendment over and above any other jurisdiction in the country.

It would be laughable if it was a joke, but there’s no joke here. D.C. officials want the power to pick and choose which constitutional freedoms apply to its residents and law-abiding Americans visiting our nation’s capital.

D.C. officials claimed that a de facto prohibition on the Right-to-Carry didn’t burden any protected right whatsoever, that the Second Amendment has nothing to do with protecting oneself against violent attack while in public. 

Thankfully, the Court of Appeals strongly disagreed.  As Judge Thomas Griffith wrote for the majority, “At the Second Amendment's core lies the right of responsible citizens to carry firearms for personal self-defense beyond the home." 

The court did, however, put the ruling on hold to allow D.C. officials to determine their next move.  This could result in a rehearing by the full appellate court, an appeal directly to the Supreme Court, or city officials might amend their law to delay implementation of a fair permitting system.  

It remains clear that if given the opportunity, D.C. officials would like to obliterate the Second Amendment altogether, Heller or any other case respecting our freedoms notwithstanding. They’ve made their position clear, and we must be resolute in challenging them at every turn. 

Rest assured the NRA will continue the fight as long as is necessary to fully restore the Second Amendment, including the Right-to-Carry, in our nation’s capital.

Chris W. Cox

BY Chris W. Cox

NRA-ILA Executive Director

Follow This Contributor

Chris W. Cox has served as the executive director of the Institute for Legislative Action, the political and lobbying arm of NRA, since 2002. As NRA’s principal political strategist, Cox oversees eight NRA-ILA divisions: Federal Affairs; State & Local Affairs; Public Affairs; Grassroots; Finance; Research & Information; Conservation, Wildlife & Natural Resources; and Office of Legislative Counsel. Cox also serves as chairman of NRA’s Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF), the Association’s political action committee; president of the NRA Freedom Action Foundation (NRA-FAF), which focuses on non-partisan voter registration and citizen education; and chairman of NRA Country, an effort to bring country music artists together with NRA members in support of our Second Amendment freedoms and hunting heritage.

TRENDING NOW
Beto Going All-In on Confiscation

News  

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Beto Going All-In on Confiscation

Democrat Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke continues to struggle to gain any sort of traction for his campaign. With some polls putting him in 10th place, and his average sitting around 7th, some might say that it is desperation ...

NRA Names Jason Ouimet to Head NRA Institute for Legislative Action

News  

Hunting  

Thursday, September 19, 2019

NRA Names Jason Ouimet to Head NRA Institute for Legislative Action

The National Rifle Association’s executive vice president and CEO, Wayne LaPierre, has named Jason Ouimet to serve as executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA). The NRA Board of Directors unanimously affirmed ...

California: Carson City Council Fails to Pass Unconstitutional Resolution Targeting Lawful Firearm Possession and Sales

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

California: Carson City Council Fails to Pass Unconstitutional Resolution Targeting Lawful Firearm Possession and Sales

Yesterday, September 17, the Carson City Council failed to pass anti-gun Resolution 19-1693.  ​The resolution was being pushed by Mayor Albert Robles in an effort to prohibit firearm dealers and firearm possession in the City of Carson to the ...

Tell Your Lawmakers: No Semi-Auto and Magazine Ban!

News  

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Tell Your Lawmakers: No Semi-Auto and Magazine Ban!

The Democrat Party is now so aligned with gun control that every major candidate running for its 2020 presidential nomination recently appeared in a propaganda video produced by one of the nation’s most active firearm prohibition groups. ...

U.S. Supreme Court Schedules NRA-Supported Second Amendment Case for Argument

News  

Friday, September 20, 2019

U.S. Supreme Court Schedules NRA-Supported Second Amendment Case for Argument

In January, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a Second Amendment challenge to a gun control law for the first time in nearly 10 years. The case arose from a New York City regulation that banned ...

NRA Files Suit Against San Francisco for Violating First Amendment

News  

Sunday, September 15, 2019

NRA Files Suit Against San Francisco for Violating First Amendment

On September 3, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors smeared millions of law-abiding Americans by unanimously adopting a resolution that designated NRA a “domestic terrorist organization.” Less than one week later, on September 9, NRA filed a federal lawsuit ...

New Hampshire: House to Vote on Gov. Sununu's Vetoes of Anti-Gun Bills

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

New Hampshire: House to Vote on Gov. Sununu's Vetoes of Anti-Gun Bills

On Wednesday, September 18th, the New Hampshire House of Representatives will vote on Governor Chris Sununu's vetoes of three anti-gun bills sent to his desk by the General Court.  Anti-gun Representatives who remain stubbornly committed to ...

House Democrats Continue Unprecedented Push for More Gun Control

News  

Sunday, September 15, 2019

House Democrats Continue Unprecedented Push for More Gun Control

As was continually threatened while Congress was on its six-week Summer break, House Democrats hastily convened a hearing on Tuesday to promote their latest batch of anti-gun bills.  The House Judiciary Committee’s markup of three bills, ...

California: Carson City Council to Hear Unconstitutional Resolution Targeting Lawful Firearm Possession and Sales

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

California: Carson City Council to Hear Unconstitutional Resolution Targeting Lawful Firearm Possession and Sales

Today, September 17 at 5pm PST, the Carson City Council will be considering a late addition to this evening’s City Council meeting, Resolution 19-1693.  ​The resolution is being pushed by Mayor Albert Robles in an effort to prohibit firearm ...

NASCAR Takes a Hard Left

News  

Friday, August 30, 2019

NASCAR Takes a Hard Left

After decades of NASCAR drivers literally turning left for hours every race day (road course races excluded, of course), the governing body appears to be taking a figurative left turn, politically. K-Var, a retailer in outdoor and ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

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.