Back in July the Washington D.C. ban on concealed and open carry of handguns was struck down by U.S. District Judge Frederick Scullin as unconstitutional. As a result, the DC City Council reluctantly voted to approve concealed carry, giving the power of writing the rules and regulations to the Washington D.C. police. Now, those rules have been written and they're impossible to follow.
Investigative reporter Emily Miller and author of Emily Gets Her Gun has started the process of applying for a concealed carry permit in the District.
I am a registered gun owner, but I feel that I'm in more danger on the streets of Washington, D.C. than inside my home. So when D.C. recently passed a new law allowing for some rights to carry a gun outside the home, I decided to apply for a permit. I quickly found that it is still impossible to exercise my Second Amendment right to bear arms.
What she has found so far about the process is enraging. Currently, D.C. police are failing to comply with the court order and the required training that is only available through the D.C. police hasn't been set up yet. Further, the chief-of-police will determine who has enough evidence and justification for "needing" a concealed carry permit. Living in a high crime area with regular occurrences of rape and murder doesn't count.
“You need to meet two criteria,” Agurs explained. “First that your life is in danger, your family or your property, or you have the type of business you carry large sums of money, jewelry. Under those circumstances, you can get a carry permit in DC.”
“To prove my life is in danger?” I asked. “Obviously there is a rising crime rate and a high rate of murders and sexual assaults in D.C. -- is that enough to say I want this for self-defense?”
“You have to prove you need concealed carry as opposed to just wanting one,” he replied.
Prove a need for a constitutional right? That's what D.C.'s new law says.
The application that Agurs gave me said that living and working in a high crime city is not enough to get a carry permit. I read further down where it says that it has to be “a special danger to your life."
What's the difference between a regular danger -- like getting raped and murdered on the street --- and a special danger? You have to prove you are being targeted.
“Do I have to give evidence?” I asked.
“Yes ma'am,” said Agurs.
“I was a victim of a home invasion. And I've gotten a threat against me. Do I just give the police records?” I asked.
“Yes, ma'am,” he said.
To make things worse, during an interview a D.C. police department employee essentially argued that Second Amendment rights don't apply in D.C. because they were written "for when the British were coming." For the record, "the British were coming" (a reference from Paul Revere's famous ride) in 1775. The Second Amendment wasn't written until 1787. Yes, we fought the British again for the War of 1812, but that isn't why the Amendment was written.
So, the Washington D.C. police department whose philosophy about the Second Amendment is that it was "for when the British were coming," is going to get trainers to certify citizens to carry firearms but will not allow any other kind of training, no matter how extensive or elite, to qualify or go toward mandated training hours for permit certification in the District. Oh and by the way, they still don't have any trainers to provide the required 16 hours of classes that can only be taken from them. And, certification costs $400. Incredible. Under these impossible rules, training from academies like Gunsite (where I've spent more than 60 hours training on the range and inside a classroom, you can read all about it here) or training from the military does not apply. Why? Because the Washington D.C. police are experts...or something. Further, with all do respect to Miller's colleague who tells her to "move to Virginia," Second Amendment rights apply everywhere, including the Nation's Capitol. Not to mention, although residents are able to easily carry concealed in Virginia, they must disarm before crossing the arbitrary border into Washington D.C. to avoid automatically becoming a criminal.
I have a feeling the court battle on this issue is far from over and more lawsuits fighting against the impossible regulations surrounding concealed carry in D.C. will surely be filed.