Carry Rights Are Here To Stay In DC

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Apr 03, 2015 12:45 PM
Carry Rights Are Here To Stay In DC

Last July, the Palmer v. DC case finally struck down the District of Columbia’s law prohibiting the carrying of firearms outside the home as unconstitutional. Now, it’s here to stay (via FoxDC):

District of Columbia officials will no longer challenge a court ruling that struck down a ban on carrying handguns outside the home.

Attorney General Karl Racine announced Wednesday that he'll ask a federal appeals court to dismiss the District's appeal in the case.

The D.C. Council has already passed laws allowing people to obtain concealed-carry permits. However, gun-right advocates say it's too difficult to get a permit and are challenging the new laws in court. Residents must show a specific reason why they need to carry a handgun, among other restrictions.

Racine says in a statement that his office will focus on defending the concealed-carry laws. He says he's confident they will be upheld.

The Palmer case was a decision five years in the making, and it applied to both open and concealed carrying of handguns. Yet, the ten-round magazine ordinance and the ban on the open carrying of rifles and shotguns remained in effect. A stay in the decision was agreed upon by both parties to allow the DC city council to draft a law that reflected the court’s decision. To no one’s surprise, the new law was a stringent "may issue" carry law. The Washington Free Beacon’s Stephen Gutowksi discussed at length the concealed carry application process, where only eight permits have been issued (so far) in a city of nearly 660,000. Oh, and there's only one instructor to handle all these applications.

Yes, this is more of a symbolic victory. But it’s worth noting that this news, coupled with Illinois being the last state to recognize concealed carry rights in 2014, shows that there is some form of carry law on the books in all 50 states, including the District of Columbia. That’s a sign of progress. The next step is taking "may issue" carry laws into the courtroom. We almost got there with Drake v. Jerejian, which concerned the “justifiable need” requirement in the New Jersey concealed handgun permit process. John M. Drake, one of the petitioners, argued it was unconstitutional; the Supreme Court declined to hear the case last year. If one day the Court decides to hear this case–and strikes down that provision–DC will have to revise their permit process again. And it could strike "may issue" carry laws as unconstitutional across the country.