District of Columbia –
Less than a year after striking down D.C.’s unconstitutional handgun-carry ban, a federal judge ordered D.C. to end a new provision it adapted as a response to his original ruling.
The new permitting system as was passed by the D.C. Council, the new legislature was still very strict. It required applicants to state ‘good reason’ to carry, in order to be issued a carry permit. The permitting requirement didn’t even survive a year.
In a 23 page opinion, District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. ruled that the ‘proper reason’ requirement “impinges on the plaintiffs’ Second Amendment right to bear arms,” as it failed to target dangerous people or to specify how or where permit holders could carry weapons.
“The issue here is not whether the . . . requirement is a reasonable or wise policy choice. Rather, the issue is whether this requirement, no matter how well intended, violates the Second Amendment,” Scullin wrote.
Despite the provision being ruled unconstitutional, applicants must still pass background checks and training requirements to obtain a carry permit in the nation’s capitol.
D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine said in a statement, “We are reviewing the ruling; however, we believe that the law passed by the Council is constitutionally valid”. The District argued throughout the case that the proliferation of legal firearms in jurisdictions with more permissive gun regulations has led to an increased risk of gun deaths.
Judge Scullin obviously disagreed, offering the following in his opinion, “Is the Court to conclude that people who do not have a heightened need for self-protection are more likely to commit violent crimes?”
The Judge’s opinion is contrary to that of the US Court of Appeals (4th Circuit) which recently upheld a similar “may-issue” concealed carry law.
“The District can still regulate the carrying of firearms in the interest of public safety, but the city has to come to terms with the fact they are regulating a fundamental right.”