Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Victory in D.C.! Shall-Issue Concealed Carry Coming to the Nation’s Capital

Monday, November 20, 2017

Victory in D.C.! Shall-Issue Concealed Carry Coming to the Nation’s Capital

In a stunning development, District of Columbia officials decided in October that they would not appeal a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit concerning the District’s discretionary concealed carry licensing regime.

This means the District of Columbia – which just over nine years ago banned handgun possession itself – is now a “shall-issue” jurisdiction for concealed carry permits.

The story of how D.C. went from banning handguns to joining the 42 right-to-carry states is one of sustained effort and painstaking advocacy. Your NRA has been there at each critical skirmish in this ongoing battle.

First came the historic decision in District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008. There, the U.S. Supreme Court held that D.C.’s ban on handgun possession and functional firearms within the home violated the Second Amendment. It also conclusively rejected spurious arguments that the Second Amendment protects only a “collective” right of states to maintain militias or an individual right, but only in the context of serving in such a militia.

The District’s reaction to Heller was defiance and denial. It enacted a prohibitively expensive and highly bureaucratic firearm registration system, effectively banned gun shops within D.C., banned many popular firearms, rationed gun sales, and repealed the long-dormant authority of the police chief to issue licenses to carry.

This provoked additional litigation, which for years worked its way through the federal court system, with mixed results for gun owners. Yet even gun-shy federal judges found occasions to rebuke District officials for overreaching into the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding residents.

One case in point was 2014’s Palmer v. District of Columbia, in which the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia held that D.C. officials could not ban carrying firearms outside the home for self-defense.

In response to Palmer, D.C. established a licensing regime that effectively granted the chief of the Metropolitan Police Department discretion over who received a license, a power the chief exercised to summarily dismiss nearly all applications.

Needless to say, this provoked additional litigation. The specific legal issue at stake centered on whether District officials could require applicants to show a “good” or “proper” reason for needing to carry a concealed handgun that distinguished them from the general population. This meant that most otherwise qualified applicants could not obtain a permit, which is the only way to lawfully carry a loaded, accessible firearm in D.C. for self-defense.  

The specific legal issue at stake centered on whether District officials could require applicants to show a “good” or “proper” reason for needing to carry a concealed handgun that distinguished them from the general population. 

That question was eventually answered by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in the combined cases of Wrenn v. District of Columbia and Grace v. District of Columbia.

In a split decision, two judges reasoned that the question was not whether a few select people could exercise their right to bear arms. The question was whether D.C.’s system made that right available to responsible, law-abiding people under ordinary circumstances. Because the majority found that D.C.’s “good” or “proper” reason requirement was effectively a ban on bearing arms by people entitled to Second Amendment protection, it declared the requirement invalid and barred its enforcement.

City officials then asked the full Circuit Court to rehear the case. That request was denied, leaving D.C. with two basic choices: accept the panel’s ruling or appeal it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

To the surprise of many, D.C. officials eventually decided they would not seek review by the U.S. Supreme Court. This meant the Circuit Court’s opinion became controlling law on the issue.

We may never know exactly why District officials chose not to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, but they obviously questioned their ability to prevail before the high court. While their arguments had always been weak, they also had a new justice to contend with in Donald Trump nominee Neil M. Gorsuch. I’ve said it before: the importance of judicial nominations cannot be overstated.

If history is any guide, however, D.C. officials will continue to push the envelope on restricting Second Amendment rights. Your NRA will be monitoring the situation closely and will respond appropriately to any further infringements.

Yet law-abiding Americans are now closer in D.C. than they have been in nearly half a century to being able to exercise their right to bear arms outside the home.  That is real progress. If it can happen in Washington, D.C., it can happen in other anti-gun jurisdictions as well.

You can be assured that your NRA won’t rest until it does.

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
Show-Me State Sham: Sen. McCaskill Cons Missouri Voters on Guns

News  

Friday, October 19, 2018

Show-Me State Sham: Sen. McCaskill Cons Missouri Voters on Guns

It appears Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) forgot she represents the Show-Me State. Missouri’s nickname derives from its residents’ healthy skepticism – especially for politicians and their “frothy eloquence.” Rather than take someone’s word for something, ...

What Happens if our Opponents Take the U.S. House?

News  

Thursday, September 20, 2018

What Happens if our Opponents Take the U.S. House?

There is no question that our liberties are at stake on November 6th. The Democrat leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives has become completely radicalized when it comes to the Second Amendment. Our constitutional ...

For Levi’s, Freedom isn’t Fashionable

News  

Friday, October 19, 2018

For Levi’s, Freedom isn’t Fashionable

Americans eager to take political direction from a multinational pants manufacturer were in luck this week. On Tuesday, PRWeek, a public relations trade publication, published an interview with Levi Strauss & Co. Chief Communications Officer Kelly McGinnis and ...

Illinois “Parking Lot Law” Shields Employee from Termination

News  

Friday, October 19, 2018

Illinois “Parking Lot Law” Shields Employee from Termination

A federal appeals court recently upheld a labor arbitrator’s decision concluding that, in light of the state’s concealed carry law, an employer had improperly fired an employee for violating the company’s weapons policy. The case, Ameren ...

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up:  Brooklyn Area Witches Unite to “Take Down” People “In Charge,” Hurl Curses at Justice Kavanaugh

News  

Friday, October 19, 2018

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: Brooklyn Area Witches Unite to “Take Down” People “In Charge,” Hurl Curses at Justice Kavanaugh

Well, Samhain is approaching, and if you’re familiar with the wing of the extreme Left that also identifies as witches and warlocks, that can only mean one thing: more politically-inspired attempts at paranormal activity! We ...

Poll: Most Americans Oppose Ban on “America’s Rifle”

News  

Friday, October 19, 2018

Poll: Most Americans Oppose Ban on “America’s Rifle”

This week, Gallup released the results of a poll which included a finding that should surprise no one: Americans oppose a ban on AR-15s and similar semiautomatic firearms by robust a margin of 17%. Meanwhile, current support ...

President’s Column | Your Vote Outweighs Their Millions: Make Your Voice Heard Nov. 6

News  

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

President’s Column | Your Vote Outweighs Their Millions: Make Your Voice Heard Nov. 6

My fellow NRA members, we stand at the edge of the precipice of one of the most important elections of our lives. That is the reality we face, and we face it just days from ...

Levi’s Teams with Billionaire Michael Bloomberg to Attack Gun Rights

News  

Friday, September 7, 2018

Levi’s Teams with Billionaire Michael Bloomberg to Attack Gun Rights

Levi Strauss & Co. established its brand in the mid-19th century by selling durable clothing to working-class Americans. As Levi’s signature jeans gained popularity amongst a wider set in the middle of the last century, ...

Who’s BS’ing Now? Gonzalez Argues for Gun Confiscation but Insists She’s “Pro Second Amendment”

News  

Friday, October 12, 2018

Who’s BS’ing Now? Gonzalez Argues for Gun Confiscation but Insists She’s “Pro Second Amendment”

Gun control advocates are constantly looking for the right messenger to push an agenda that boils down to law-abiding Americans giving up their freedoms, their security, and their property without expectation of affecting the behavior ...

South Carolina: Governor McMaster Signs Pro-Gun Bill

Monday, May 22, 2017

South Carolina: Governor McMaster Signs Pro-Gun Bill

Last Friday, May 19, Governor Henry McMaster (R) signed H. 3429 into law.  This bill went into effect upon the Governor’s approval.

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.