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.

26 April 2019

By George L. Lyon, Jr, Esq.

         The District of Columbia has some of the most severe gun laws in the country. Yet, many people traveling to Washington, DC either don’t consider DC’s gun laws or worse simply believe those laws won’t be enforced against them because they are not using their guns to commit other crime. You do not want to make that mistake.

         DC frequently prosecutes gun owners merely for possession of guns, gun accessories, and/or ammunition which would be legal to possess in jurisdictions located just minutes away. Let’s briefly recap DC’s gun laws. It is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and up to a year in jail to possess a firearm that is not registered in the District of Columbia. DC Code Section 7-2502.01. An exception applies to active and retired law enforcement officers with credentials issued pursuant to the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (“LEOSA”). 

To register a firearm in the District of Columbia one must either be a DC resident or DC business owner, or have a DC issued Licensed to Carry a Concealed Handgun. The DC License to Carry only allows a nonresident holder to register handguns.  Non-residents cannot carry or register a long gun in the District. More on that later.

Not only is it an offense to possess an unregistered firearm in the District, but it is also a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and up to a year in jail to possess ammunition in the District unless one has a DC registered firearm. DC Code Section 7-2506.01. Further, DC considers ammunition to include any component of ammunition, so even a single expended shell can get you charged with this offense, which is called “possession of unregistered ammunition.”  DC Code Section 7-2501.01(2).

The District of Columbia does not recognize any other jurisdiction’s carry permits or licenses. Carrying a handgun in the District without a DC issued carry license is a felony. That’s right a felony.  DC Code Section 22-4505(a). If you are convicted of that felony, you will become a federally prohibited person and will no longer be able to possess firearms or ammunition anywhere in America.

Transporting a handgun in your vehicle through DC is legal as long as you comply with the Federal Firearms Owners Protection Act. That law requires that the gun be unloaded in a locked container and inaccessible to you with the ammunition stored separate. Your journey must be a continuous one going from one jurisdiction where you may possess and carry the firearm to another where you can possess and carry the firearm. Stopping in DC with a firearm in the car can get you arrested on a felony carrying charge, in which case you will spend at least one night in jail and possibly many more before your trial. Let’s be very clear about this:  driving in DC with any long gunin the car can get you charged with felony carrying. DC Code Section 22-4504(a-1). The same with a handgun unless you have a DC issued License to Carry.

Lastly, possession of a firearm magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds is also now a felony whether or not you are in possession of any gun.  DC Code Section 7-2506.01(b).

DC police will not cut you a break because you are otherwise a law-abiding citizen. First, they have no way to know whether you are a criminal or intend to commit a crime. Second, DC’s policy goal is to eliminate the possession of guns entirely, and they have relaxed its guns laws only under court order in several cases. To the extent DC is able to maintain its draconian gun laws, you should assume those laws will be enforced on a zero-tolerance basis. 

How do people most often run afoul of DC gun laws? There are many ways. Here are a few:

  • Putting a backpack through an X-ray at a governmental building or museum with a gun or ammunition you forgot to remove. 
  • Getting stopped for a traffic offense and in full view of the police officers is a box of ammunition, some type of firearms accessory, or even just an empty shell casing. This will lead to a search of the vehicle where other ammunition, firearms or magazines could be found. 
  • Getting stopped for a traffic violation, and either granting permission to search your car or admitting to having a firearm in your possession. Admitting that you screwed up or consenting to a search will not result in the officer letting you go. It will just make it more difficult for your lawyer to argue that your 4thamendment rights were violated. It is best to advise the officer that you do not wish to answer any questions and do not consent to any searches.

If you regularly carry a firearm and have occasion to go into the District of Columbia, consider obtaining a DC License to Carry a Handgun.  Although that will protect you from a handgun carry charge and an ammunition charge, it will not protect you if your vehicle contains a long gun, an unregistered handgun, or magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.

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 and conducts the course monthly. His next classes are scheduled for April 27-28 and May 18-19 in Arlington, Virginia. To sign up for his course, contact Mr. Lyon at gll[at]arsenalattorneys.com or at 703-291-3312. 

Arsenal Attorneys is looking for persons who have obtained their DC concealed carry licenses and who would be willing to participate in a civil rights case relating to DC’s myriad of concealed carry restrictions. Contact Mr. Lyon if you have an interest in learning more.

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

 

How Can We Help You?
Please type your full name.
Please type your full name.
Invalid email address.
Invalid email address.
Please type your phone number
Please type your phone number
Invalid Input
Invalid Input
Invalid Input
By clicking “submit", you agree to our Privacy Policy
Invalid Input

Call or Email

Connect with us

Connect with Arsenal Attorneys on Social Networks

SSL - Secure Payment

Newsletter

 

Please type your full name.
Please type your full name.
Please type your phone number
Invalid Input
Invalid email address.
Invalid Input

 

Office Locations:


Mailing Address: 
4000 Legato Rd, Suite 1100
Fairfax, VA 22033

We serve clients in most states across America.