The residents of Washington, D.C., proper may soon be able to conceal carry given the good news this week. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the enforcement of DC’s existing onerous anti-gun law which criminalizes concealed carry by law-abiding gun owners.
Here’s more context behind the legal battle over gun rights in the nation’s capital:
The city’s law had required gun owners to prove they have a “good reason to fear injury” or another “proper reason,” such as a job that requires carrying large amounts of cash or valuables, in order to get a concealed carry permit. Under the city’s law, living in a high-crime neighborhood was not reason enough to justify approval of a concealed carry permit.
Second Amendment advocates who brought the lawsuit said the city’s law was so restrictive that most law-abiding citizens would be unable to obtain permits. As of June, the Metropolitan Police Department reported having granted just 125 concealed carry permits since the law took effect in 2014.
The city’s strict concealed carry laws have remained in effect while the D.C. Circuit was considering whether to rehear the case, so the ruling marks the first time the “good reason” requirements will be cast aside.
In July, the same court upheld the 2016 ruling that Washington, D.C., must issue handgun licenses to law-abiding D.C. residents in the same fashion that other states issue carry permits too. More specifically, this ruling means that an applicant for a concealed handgun permit (CHP) won’t have to prove a special need or request (may issue) to obtain a CHP. Instead, permits should be issued on a shall-issue basis for adults who pass background checks and successfully complete a gun safety training course.
This derives from a May 2016 ruling in which the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard J. Leon issued a 46-page opinion stating the Second Amendment not only applies to owning guns in homes, but also legal carry in the streets via concealed carry–writing that presenting a “good reason” for carrying in the nation’s capital is unconstitutional. The 2008 Supreme Court Case District of Columbia v. Heller affirmed the constitutionality of law-abiding gun owners to keep and bear arms inside their homes. However, D.C. residents are unable to carry outside their homes–leaving many defenseless and vulnerable to attack in one of the nation’s most dangerous cities.
Law-abiding Americans who wish to conceal carry shouldn’t have to prove a “good reason” to do so–especially in one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S.
Washington, D.C. has been famously nicknamed the “murder capital of the U.S.” given its bloody track record. Neighborhood Scout named it the #30 most murderous city in all of the U.S. in 2017. In 2016, WTOP listed DC as the 10th top murderous city in all of the U.S. Why don’t city lawmakers see that onerous laws that leave people defenseless only empower gangs and murderous thugs to perpetuate crimes on unsuspecting residents?
In April 2013, a D.C. hate crime victim told NBC Washington the following in response to his assault:
“I’m going to get a license and get a 9mm,” he said. “That’s the truth.”
In the case of the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise, who just returned to Congress yesterday, had it not been for his bodyguards, him and other lawmakers would likely not be alive today. However, preventing concealed carry or concealed carry reciprocity for D.C. residents to also carry in nearby territories or other states could make shootings like the June 2017–which left Scalise seriously injured–happen again if their Draconian gun laws are not overturned.
Experts say this case will move to the Supreme Court soon. As in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, let’s hope the highest court in the land rules in favor of the constitutionality of concealed carry for law-abiding Americans. This shouldn’t be an issue: gun rights are human rights.