Federal judge strikes down DC concealed carry law: ‘Good reason’ provision likely unconstitutional

The fight over Second Amendment rights in the nation’s capital has entered a new phase. A federal judge has ruled that the city’s concealed carry law is likely unconstitutional, citing the “good reason provision” in the injunction order on Tuesday (via WaPo):

For the second time in as many years, a federal judge in Washington ordered the city to halt enforcement of its new, concealed-carry law, requiring applicants to state “good reason” to carry a weapon in order to obtain a permit from police.

The preliminary injunction was contained in a 46-page ruling Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon that will be in force pending further litigation. Leon declared the District’s gun-permitting system is likely unconstitutional. The system was adapted by the District after its long-standing ban on carrying firearms in public was overturned at court order in 2014.

In 2014, Judge Frederick Scullin of the New York District Court ruled in Palmer v. DC that the District of Columbia’s ban on carrying firearms outside of the home was unconstitutional. For a very brief period, the city honored constitutional carry per the order of DC Police Chief Lanier until new legislation could be drafted to accommodate the ruling. The Palmer decision was handed down on July 27, 2014. At the time, Katie wrote that a 90-day stay was handed down two days later, with the defendants filing a partially unopposed motion in support of the judgment, along with agreeing to the 90-day timeframe.

District of Columbia’s total ban on the carrying of handguns in public was unconstitutional; and, therefore, the Court permanently enjoined Defendants from enforcing D.C. Code §§ 7-2502(a)(4) and 22-4504(a). On July 28, 2014, Defendants filed a partially unopposed motion to stay pending appeal or, in the alternative, for 180 days and for immediate administrative stay.

In support of this motion, Defendants’ counsel advised the Court that he had conferred with Plaintiffs’ counsel, “who indicated that [P]laintiffs do not oppose a 90-day stay starting immediately ‘pending the city council enacting remedial legislation that complies with constitutional standards.’

The new concealed carry law went into effect on October 22, 2014; the day the stay would expire. Yet, there were still stringent standards that many would view as unconstitutional, especially the “good reason” provision, wherein the applicant must tell the city why they must have a carry permit. The city could arbitrarily reject them, as D.C. has a “may issue” carry law. To give some clarity on how absurd may issue carry states operate, just look at Fox Business’ John Stossel’s odyssey to obtain a carry permit in New York. It took him eight and a half months, and a $430 processing fee, for his application process to end with a letter of rejection from the New York City Police Department.

The latest challenge to the law that led to the “good reason” provision being cited as being likely unconstitutional was filed by Matthew Grace and the Pink Pistols.

Source: Matt Vespa, Town Hall

Author: Greg Raven

Trained with Chuck Taylor. What else is there to know?