District of Columbia—In the latest victory for the Second Amendment rights of residents of the District of Columbia, the full federal court of appeals that sits in the District declined, on Thursday, to rehear an earlier decision by three judges of that court striking down provisions of the City’s code that barred most D.C. residents from carrying firearms for self-protection. The law at issue requires law-abiding citizens who wish to carry a firearm in public to obtain a license to do so, but restricts the issuance of licenses to those citizens who can show a specific, documented need for self-defense—for example, by proving that they had been previously attacked or were receiving death threats. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued an opinion in July invalidating that restriction as fundamentally incompatible with Second Amendment. The District then asked the full circuit court to hear the case, arguing that allowing ordinary, law-abiding citizens to carry firearms—the regime that prevails in 42 of the 50 States and in major cities including Chicago, Houston, Miami, and Philadelphia—would “increase crime and cost lives.” On Thursday, the full court issued a short order turning away the District’s plea to reconsider the case.
“We applaud the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals for reaffirming the rights of ordinary, law-abiding citizens to carry firearms to protect themselves and their families in the District of Columbia,” said Chris Cox, Executive Director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action. “The District’s draconian restrictions on core Second-Amendment rights are out of step with the mainstream protections in the rest of the country, and as the D.C. Circuit’s opinion shows, they are equally out of step with our Nation’s traditions and fundamental law.”
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