Has Washington D.C. cried “uncle!” over its concealed carry law? The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 decision that the “good reason” provision of the city’s gun law is unconstitutional. The city requested an en banc hearing. In the interim, the city kept enforcing the provision regarding the approval and distribution of concealed carry permits. In September, that hearing was denied. So, where does the city go from here? It looks like they’re going to be sacrificial lambs. The attorney general for the city, Karl A. Racine, made that known on Thursday. They won’t appeal to the Supreme Court because Justice Neil Gorsuch is there—and the 5-4 decision that definitely would have been handed down on this issue would have a ripple effect on the Democratic states that have similar provisions within their concealed carry laws (via AP):
“I continue to believe the District’s ‘good reason’ requirement is a common-sense, and constitutional, gun regulation. However, we must reckon with the fact that an adverse decision by the Supreme Court could have wide-ranging negative effects not just on District residents, but on the country as a whole,” District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine said in a statement.
Racine said if the city were to appeal to the Supreme Court and lose, it would affect similar gun regulations elsewhere including in Maryland, New Jersey and New York. Racine acknowledged at a news conference he had received several phone calls from elected and unelected officials in other jurisdictions worried about the effect of a Supreme Court ruling against the city. But Racine and District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser said the decision that was made was ultimately what was in the city’s best interest.
“What is important to know is that while the ‘good reason’ part of our concealed carry law was invalidated by the courts, all of the rest of the requirements related to carrying a concealed weapon are in place, and so opening up the case and taking the chance at the Supreme Court actually puts us and the remainder of our concealed carry law also in jeopardy,” Bowser said.
The city’s “good reason” requirement had remained in effect while the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit considered whether to re-hear the case as a full court. The appeals court announced last week it would not, and the city then had to decide whether it would appeal to the Supreme Court. The city says the appeals court will soon issue what is called a “mandate” that will mean the city can no longer enforce the “good reason” requirement.
The provision requires that an applicant must show that they are in danger of grievous bodily harm or death, usually in the form of threats by stalkers, in order to obtain a concealed carry permit in D.C. and other so-called “may issue” states. Those states can arbitrarily deny you a carry permit, whereas the majority of states are “shall issue” and have to issue that permit to the applicant if they submit the proper paperwork, pass the required courses, and pass a background check. A little over a dozen states are in a special club called constitutional carry in which gun owners don’t have to have a permit to carry. Vermont, the land of Bernie Sanders, is a constitutional carry state. And yet, it’s not a warzone up there.
D.C’s decision also shows a keen awareness on the Left that they’re losing on this issue and they know they are. Good reason provisions will soon be decided by the Court, if not by this city, then by another lawsuit from any of the states mentioned by Racine. Let’s hope the Court decides to hear arguments on this question.