The District of Columbia has filed an emergency appeal requesting a hearing in a case recently won by the Second Amendment Foundation that struck down the city’s “good reason” requirement for obtaining a concealed-carry permit.
By making residents and non-residents prove they have a “good reason” to carry a firearm, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier has been able to deny 99 percent of all carry applications.
But the city’s leaders have refused to abide by the July 26 decision of a three-judge panel in Wrenn vs. District of Columbia, which ordered them to stop the unconstitutional “good reason” excuse for denying permits.
The district is seeking further delays, requesting a full-court hearing in the case.
The move was not unexpected, said Alan Gottlieb, executive vice president and founder of the Bellevue, Washington-based Second Amendment Foundation, which brought the case against the city.
“This is an attempt to try to overturn our court victory that said their virtual ban on the right to carry a firearm for self-protection was unconstitutional,” Gottlieb said.
He said his foundation would fight vigorously to sustain the decision handed down by a 2-1 ruling of a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
SAF has been battling the city over this issue for years. The city has resisted at every turn, arguing in its latest petition that the city is “unique” because of its dense population, which includes “thousands of high-ranking federal officials and international diplomats.”
But in July, the District Court of Appeals majority opinion is that the “good reason” restriction violates the Second Amendment rights of citizens living in the district.
“They have no intention of complying with any court decision that supports the right to keep and bear arms,” Gottlieb said. “It took the Heller decision to force them to allow a gun in your own home for self-defense. It took the Palmer decision, another SAF case, to force them to repeal their total ban on carry and now they are kicking and screaming about losing the Wrenn decision.”
Gottlieb maintains that even if the district is “unique,” the citizens living there still retain their right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment. The city’s “good reason” requirement makes it far too easy to deny all but a few people their rights on the flimsy grounds that average citizens never have a good enough reason.”
The court recognized this problem and ruled against the district’s requirement, he noted.
“Municipal stubbornness cannot be allowed to outweigh the Constitution,” Gottlieb said. “A civil right should not be subject to bureaucratic neurosis.”
About 80 percent of case law in support of gun rights has been won by the Second Amendment Foundation.
“We plan on continuing to win firearms freedom one suit at a time,” he said.
The District of Columbia does issue non-resident licenses, so the court’s decision in this case has a far-reaching impact beyond just the residents of the capital city. Millions of visitors to the nation’s capital each year will now be able to apply for a carrying permit as well as residents.
The majority opinion in the July ruling was written by Judge Thomas Beall Griffith, a 2005 George W. Bush appointee, who declared:
At the Second Amendment’s core lies the right of responsible citizens to carry firearms for personal self-defense beyond the home, subject to longstanding restrictions. … The District’s good-reason law is necessarily a total ban on exercises of that constitutional right for most D.C. residents. That’s enough to sink this law under (the 2008 U.S. Supreme Court’s Heller ruling).
Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, told WND in July that the D.C. law was a de facto gun ban that affected all law-abiding people who visit the nation’s capital.
“Overturning the de facto D.C. gun ban on constitutional grounds is very welcome. Not only does it respect the Constitution, it will result in fewer crimes of violence in the District,” he said.
Judge Karen Henderson was the lone dissenter in the July 26 ruling, using the same argument now being put forth by the city, that D.C. has “unique” security challenges as the nation’s capital and that the law does not affect the right to keep a firearm at home.
Pratt blasted that argument as an “insult” to the Second Amendment.
“Judge Henderson’s statement in favor of the D.C. law is insulting, namely that it is enough to have a gun at home,” Pratt said. “Keeping a gun at home is like keeping a car in the garage – even though we need our gun and our car much more away from home. King George had a similar view of the right to keep and bear arms. That’s why we fought his soldiers. I’m glad it did not come to that with Judge Henderson.”