D.C. officials will continue to fight for strong gun regulations after a U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ordered lower courts to issue permanent injunctions blocking enforcement of a law that limited the right to carry a handgun in public only to people with a “good reason” for self-defense.
The federal appeals court struck down the regulations in its 2-1 ruling in Wrenn v. D.C., calling it unconstitutional and saying that the government cannot demand citizens provide a good reason before being issued a permit, Tuesday, July 25.
The decision will hold for 30 days to allow D.C. to appeal, which it is likely to do.
According to D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine, his office may consider an appeal of the decision.
“The District of Columbia’s ‘good reason’ requirement for concealed-carry permits is a common-sense gun regulation, and four federal appeals courts have rejected challenges to similar laws in other states,” Racine said. “The Office of Attorney General is committed to working with the mayor and [D.C.] Council to continue fighting for common-sense gun rules.”
Ward 6 Council member Charles Allen, chair of the council Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, also strongly disagreed with the court’s opinion and said he would support an appeal to the full court.
“The District of Columbia uniquely faces many security and urban public safety challenges, and we have crafted our laws in a way that respects the rights of District residents while protecting public safety,” Allen said. “What we’ve set forth in law has been upheld in other jurisdictions. This decision stands at odds with all of those previous rulings.”
The ruling stands as the latest blow to the District’s decadeslong efforts to limit gun possession and use in the city.
The Supreme Court struck down a near-total ban on firearm possession in a 2008 ruling, and a federal court blocked an effort to ban carrying guns in public in 2014.
The Council responded to the 2014 ruling with a third attempt to limit gun rights. Its “good reason” restrictions required residents to prove they had “good reason to fear injury” or another “proper reason” in order to get a concealed carry permit.
The District’s attempts to limit gun possession did not stop there.
Two weeks before the ruling, Ward 1 Council member Brianne Nadeau introduced a measure modeled after California legislation that would allow police to immediately confiscate guns from the subject of a temporary extreme civil protection order and prevent them from purchasing other firearms for 14 days. The bills states that after 14 days, the court will decide if there is significant threat of harm to self or others to justify removing firearms for a one-year period.
Nadeau called the measure, which was co-introduced by Council members David Grosso and Anita Bonds, “a vital tool for residents and police to reduce gun violence.”
D.C. has some of the most restrictive gun laws not only when compared to its neighbors, but nationwide. Since the 2008 lift of the city’s gun ban, the Metropolitan Police Department said it has received 606 concealed carry applications as of June, and granted 125 permits while denying 403.
Neighboring Maryland has more lenient limitations. The state generally requires a permit to wear or transport a handgun, but unlike the District’s former ban, it does not apply to private property.
Maryland State Police maintain a registry of regulated firearms that are allowed to be sold in the state and private sales are prohibited. A safety training certificate must be present at each purchase which are limited to one every 30 days.
At the end of 2015, Virginia had roughly 445, 000 concealed carry permit holders.
Virginia has rather weak gun regulations, banning only plastic firearms and the Armsel Striker and similar shotguns and restricting permits to persons 21 or older who meet certain qualifications. Otherwise, there are no limits on magazine capacity or the amount of guns to be purchased at any given time, and no background check for private sellers.