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.

TRENDING NOW
Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

NRA Achieves Historical Milestone as 25 States Recognize Constitutional Carry

News  

Friday, April 1, 2022

NRA Achieves Historical Milestone as 25 States Recognize Constitutional Carry

Half the country will now enjoy the freedom to carry a handgun for self-defense without a permit from the state thanks to the tireless efforts of men and women of the National Rifle Association. 

DHS “Misinformation Governance Board” Could Seek to Sway Gun Debate

News  

Monday, May 16, 2022

DHS “Misinformation Governance Board” Could Seek to Sway Gun Debate

In late April, Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), made a bizarre announcement during a congressional hearing that DHS was forming what it called a “Mis- and Disinformation Governance Board.” The statement came ...

Follow the Science, Unless it Leads Where You Don’t Want to Go

News  

Monday, May 16, 2022

Follow the Science, Unless it Leads Where You Don’t Want to Go

Researchers in California have published the results of a study evaluating the effectiveness of so-called “gun violence restraining orders” (a.k.a. “extreme risk protection orders” or “red flag” orders). Assembly Bill 1014, was enacted in California in ...

President Donald J. Trump to Address NRA Members at the 2022 NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Houston, Texas

News  

Thursday, May 12, 2022

President Donald J. Trump to Address NRA Members at the 2022 NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Houston, Texas

Former President Donald J. Trump will headline the 2022 NRA-ILA Leadership Forum on May 27, at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Monday, June 30, 2014

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Alaska: Legislature Fails to Pass Pro-2A Legislation as it Adjourns

Friday, May 20, 2022

Alaska: Legislature Fails to Pass Pro-2A Legislation as it Adjourns

At midnight on Wednesday, the Alaska Legislature adjourned from its 2022 Legislative Session. 

Georgia: Gov. Kemp Signs Constitutional Carry

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Georgia: Gov. Kemp Signs Constitutional Carry

Today, Governor Brian Kemp signed Senate Bill 319, constitutional carry, into law. Georgia is now the 25th constitutional carry state, and the fourth to join that group in 2022. Half of the country now recognizes the right ...

Illinois: General Assembly Passes “Ghost Gun” Ban

Monday, April 11, 2022

Illinois: General Assembly Passes “Ghost Gun” Ban

On Friday, the House Judiciary Committee held a subject matter hearing on House Bill 4383 Senate Floor Amendment 2, to ban individuals from making their own firearms for personal use, and voted to advance the measure. ...

Oklahoma: Your Action Needed - Majority Floor Leader Greg McCortney Refuses to Bring Firearm Discrimination Prevention Measure to a Vote

Friday, May 20, 2022

Oklahoma: Your Action Needed - Majority Floor Leader Greg McCortney Refuses to Bring Firearm Discrimination Prevention Measure to a Vote

Your NRA-ILA has learned that Majority Leader Greg McCortney is refusing to bring the FIND Act, House Bill 3144, up for a vote in the Senate.

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.