Blog
05 May 2020

By George L. Lyon, Jr, Esq.

 

As you may have heard the Supreme Court last week dismissed as moot the New York State Rifle and Pistol case that many had hoped would clarify for the lower courts the standard court should use to review second amendment cases. While not unexpected, the 6-3 decision was still a disappointment. Justice Alito wrote a dissenting opening which Justices Thomas and Gorsuch joined arguing that the case was not moot and that the city ordinance at issue was unconstitutional. In the penultimate paragraph of his opinion, Justice Alito made the following comment:

“We are told that the mode of review [by the lower courts] in this case is representative of the way Heller has been treated in the lower courts. If that is true, there is cause for concern.”

Justice Kavanaugh issued a short concurring opinion in which he stated he agreed “with JUSTICE ALITO’s general analysis of Heller and McDonald. Post, at 25; see District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U. S. 570 (2008); McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U. S. 742 (2010); Heller v. District of Columbia, 670 F. 3d 1244 (CADC 2011) (Kavanaugh, J., dissenting). And I share JUSTICE ALITO’s concern that some federal and state courts may not be properly applying Heller and McDonald. The Court should address that issue soon, perhaps in one of the several Second Amendment cases with petitions for certiorari now pending before the Court.”

The comments by these two Justices indicates in my opinion that they are both ready to take up another second amendment case of which there are several that have been pending at the court while the court considered New York State Rifle and Pistol. Presumably Justices Thomas and Gorsuch are also disposed to take up additional second amendment cases. We may very well see the court agree to hear one or more of those cases within the next few weeks. Yesterday, on May 4, the court delayed any announcement of whether it would accept or reject consideration of the numerous second amendment cases currently pending.

Separately, there have been a number of developments regarding District of Columbia concealed carry and firearm registration that are discussed in my most recent blog post on the Arsenal Attorneys web site. The following is a link to that blog entry:
https://www.arsenalattorneys.com/firearms-blog/important-news-on-dc-concealed-carry-licenses-and-firearms-transfers.

As I discuss in the blog, while the current medical emergency is in effect, I will be conducting the DC Concealed Carry Class (conducted separate from my law practice for Arsenal Attorneys), including the renewal portion of the class, on line via Zoom. Our next three classes are May 16-17, June 27-28 and July 18-19. The portion of the class for renewal students is given in the afternoon of the first day. Range sessions will be scheduled as soon as indoor ranges in Virginia can reopen. You can contact me directly for signup instructions.

Arsenal Attorneys’ George Lyon is licensed to practice law in Virginia and the District of Columbia. He was one of the plaintiffs in the Palmer v. District of Columbia case that forced DC to begin issuing concealed carry licenses and in the Heller case that legalized handguns in Washington, DC. Mr. Lyon is licensed by the Metropolitan Police Department to teach the DC concealed carry course including the renewal course and conducts the course monthly. His next class is May 16, 2020 to be conducted online. To sign up for his course, contact Mr. Lyon at gll[at]arsenalattorneys.com or at 703-291-3312.
This blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship.

25 April 2020

By George L. Lyon, Jr, Esq.

 

There have been a number of important developments affecting DC Concealed Carry Licensees, and new and renewal applicants.


First, due to the Corona virus medical emergency, indoor ranges are closed and in person classes are difficult, if not impossible to conduct classes and shooting qualifications. This especially impacts persons with DC carry licenses up for renewal while the Corona virus emergency is pending.


I brought this fact up to MPD and DC City Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, who in turn spoke to Chief Newsome about extending the expiration date on expiring licenses. The DC council then passed legislation giving the Mayor authority to extend expiring licenses (carry as well as other licenses) through the current medical emergency. Chief Newsome then exercised that authority by extending licenses expiring during the medical emergency for the duration of the medical emergency and for an additional 45 days thereafter.


With respect to handling training while the emergency lasts, MPD gave me the thumbs up on conducting the classroom portion of the DC Concealed Carry training online. Mark Briley of Capital Defense Instruction and I just completed our first online course with nine new students and 20 renewal students. The course went off without a hitch. We will be conducting our May 16-17 course also online. Spots are currently available in that course for new and renewal students.


On the not so good side, DC Concealed Carry License renewals are now taking up to two months to process. There are a couple of reasons for this.


First, there was a large number of new licenses granted approximately two years ago following the Wrenn and Grace cases that changed DC law on carry permits to ‘shall issue’, and those licenses are now expiring. Thus, MPD is currently processing an unusually large number of renewals. Second, Chief Newsome has ordered all renewal applicants to go through a full background check. Apparently, the chief thinks some people received licenses who should not have received them, and it appears MPD is being very stringent in evaluating the results of these background investigations.


This has led to some very questionable results such as licenses being denied because of police contact that did not even result in arrest, or refusing to license or renew individuals who have an arrest record even though they were never convicted of a crime.


In light of this situation, we now advise renewal applicants to submit their renewals at least two months in advance of expiration.


DC concealed carriers should also be aware that DC regulations require that they carry their guns on their body in a holster. This raises an important safety issue regarding off body carry such as in a purse, backpack or fanny pack. A firearm should always be carried so that the trigger guard is covered. Any carry device that does not cover the trigger guard is a safety hazard. We know of one case in which MPD arrested a licensed carrier where the gun was equipped with a Techna Concealed Carry Clip, a device that clips an unholstered firearm to a belt. That device should not be used in the District of Columbia, and, quite frankly, should not be used at all because the trigger guard is s not covered.


We remind you as well that DC regulations require that the firearm be fully concealed. Avoid inadvertent disclosure or printing of the firearm under clothing. Also, if the firearm is taken off the body while in a vehicle, which as discussed above potentially creates a problem, store it in a case, or car safe, or somewhere out of sight. An individual managed to get into trouble who simply put the gun in the floorboard of his vehicle. He was arrested for that following a traffic stop.
Although DC is ‘shall issue’, it is still not gun friendly.


Lastly, long time Washington DC FFL Charles Sykes has retired and is no longer handling handgun transfers in DC. In accordance with a provision passed several years ago, MPD is undertaking to perform handgun transfers until another FFL begins performing handgun transfers in DC. (There are several FFLs in the District, but none perform handgun transfers to the general public.) According to Lt. Hall, who heads MPD’s gun control section, normal FFL procedures apply to transfers via MPD. Unfortunately, MPD is continuing Mr. Sykes’s practice of charging $125 per transfer. We clearly need a gun store in the District.


Arsenal Attorneys’ George Lyon is licensed to practice law in Virginia and the District of Columbia. He was one of the plaintiffs in the Palmer v. District of Columbia case that forced DC to begin issuing concealed carry licenses and in the Heller case that legalized handguns in Washington, DC. Mr. Lyon is licensed by the Metropolitan Police Department to teach the DC concealed carry course including the renewal course and conducts the course monthly. His next class is May 16, 2020 to be conducted online. To sign up for his course, contact Mr. Lyon at gll[at]arsenalattorneys.com or at 703-291-3312.
This blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship.

23 October 2019

By George L. Lyon, Jr, Esq.

Arsenal Attorneys frequently advises clients in the concealed carry of firearms, including licenses to carry in the District of Columbia by residents and nonresidents alike. After helping win the battle for these rights, I now help clients renew their carry licenses. This blog provides a summary of the license renewal procedure. But first, some history.


Two years ago, on September 28, 2017, the Federal DC Circuit Court of Appeals declined to overturn the ruling of its three-judge panel in Wrenn v. District of Columbia finding DC’s ‘may issue’ concealed carry licensing scheme unconstitutional. Since that time, DC has been a ‘shall issue’ concealed carry jurisdiction.


As a result of the court’s ruling, DC concealed carry licenses have increased from 123 in September 2017 to 3,339 as of the end of August 2019. Despite DC’s lamentations that shall issue conceal carry would threaten public safety, the record shows that DC’s concealed carry license holders have been exceedingly law abiding. Since June of 2014, when the courts first forced DC to issue concealed carry licenses, only two concealed carry licenses have been revoked for criminal violations and these were not for violent crimes, but rather for violation of one of DC’s myriad, complex weapons offenses, e.g., possessing a firearm in DC the license holder had not registered.


Nor have DC concealed license holders set off gun fights in the street. There has been just one reported shooting by a DC concealed carry license holder. It occurred when the license holder fired in self-defense when attacked by two would be robbers. No charges were filed against the licensed carrier.


Given that DC requires its concealed carry licenses to be renewed every two years and that quite a few people applied for carry licenses soon after DC went shall issue in September of 2017, we thought we would review the procedure for renewing DC carry licenses. The good news is that unlike the rather complex and time-consuming process for receiving the initial carry license, the renewal process has been greatly streamlined.


Although the initial mandatory training for the DC carry license is 16 hours of classroom instruction and two hours of range training, the renewal training requirement is just four hours of classroom training plus a two-hour range session. The renewal training requirement is mandatory and not waivable. A DC-licensed firearm instructor will provide you a certificate documenting proof of your training which you must submit with your renewal application. The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) has a portal on its website allowing you to pay the $75 fee and submit the renewal application and training certificate online. It can be accessed at this link. If your renewal is submitted online, your renewed license will be mailed to you in about a week.


Be advised that for reasons unknown the portal is sometimes unreliable. Alternatively, you may submit the application and training certificate at MPD’s firearm registration office at 300 Indiana Avenue to submit your application, training certificate, and $75 renewal fee. When submitting in person, your renewed license will be issued to you after about an hour’s wait.


Remember, a carry license holder may only carry a firearm that has been registered in DC. There is no requirement to re-register the guns that you carry. In a later blog, we will explain which firearms are legal to possess and register in Washington.

 

Arsenal Attorneys’ George Lyon is licensed to practice law in Virginia and the District of Columbia. He was one of the plaintiffs in the Palmer v. District of Columbia case that forced DC to begin issuing concealed carry licenses and in the Heller case that legalized handguns in Washington, DC. Mr. Lyon is licensed by the Metropolitan Police Department to teach the DC concealed carry course including the renewal course and conducts the course monthly. His next class is November 16 in Arlington, Virginia. To sign up for his course, contact Mr. Lyon at gll[at]arsenalattorneys.com or at 703-291-3312.

This blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship.

07 December 2018

By George L. Lyon, Jr

         Arsenal Attorneys™ recently learned from sources in the Metropolitan Police Department that the District of Columbia has issued more than 2,000 Concealed Carry Licenses to residents and nonresidents alike. This confirms recent reporting by Daily Caller journalist Kerry Picket, who revealed that until September 2017, as few as 123 persons were able to satisfy the District’s requirement to show a special need to carry a handgun outside the home for personal protection. And then things changed. The District became a shall issue jurisdiction, and, therefore, the number of Concealed Carry Licenses skyrocketed to the 2,000+ total today. 

         In June of 2017 the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in the Wrennand Grace cases determined that the District’s stringent need requirement violated the Second Amendment rights of District residents and visitors. Several months later, after the full DC Circuit refused to disturb that decision, the District quietly accepted the result rather than seek Supreme Court review and risk a decision likely to jeopardize other facets of its restrictive gun laws and those of other states. 

 

Concealed carry permit

holders have arrest and

conviction rates 6 to 10 times 

lower than police officers

 

The 2,000+ DC permit holders are resident and non-resident, non-law enforcement individuals now authorized to carry a gun in the city, and more persons are applying to the Metropolitan Police Department for carry licenses every day.

Which brings us to the question of where is all the crime and violence DC officials predicted if persons were allowed the means to protect themselves with licensed concealed firearms? DC officials have always claimed their restrictive gun laws were necessary for public safety. But former DC Metropolitan Police Department (“MPD”) Chief Cathy Lanier put the lie to the canard when she admitted that legal gun owners were not the problem.

Although there has been a spike in homicides in the District this year compared to last, violent crime in general is down seven percent this year compared to 2017, and burglary is down eight percent. In no case in which we are aware has a person holding a District of Columbia carry license been charged with a serious crime. That is not surprising at all. Around the nation, concealed carry permit holders have arrest and conviction rates 6 to 10 times lower than even police officers. In the numerous states that have adopted either “shall issue” or permitless carry, i.e. Constitutional carry, the scaremongering of Second Amendment opponents has proven false.

What is surprising is that due to DC’s reputation for stringent gun laws, many residents and nonresidents are still unaware that if they jump through the necessary hoops, they can get a license to carry a concealed handgun in Washington, DC.

Those hoops include submitting an application in person, undergoing fingerprinting, registering their carry gun, and taking 16 hours of classroom firearms training and two hours of range training, including passing a 50 round shooting test from 3 to 15 yards.  Assuming there is nothing otherwise disqualifying in the applicant’s background, MPD is required to issue the applicant a concealed carry license.

Arsenal Attorneys’ George Lyon is licensed to practice law in Virginia and the District of Columbia.  He was one of the plaintiffs in the Palmer v. District of Columbia case that forced DC to begin issuing concealed carry licenses and in the Heller case that legalized handguns in Washington, DC. Mr. Lyon is licensed by MPD to teach the DC concealed carry course and conducts the course monthly. His next class is scheduled for December 15-16 in Arlington, Virginia. Mr. Lyon can be reached at gll[at]arsenalattorneys.com or at 703-291-3312.

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