Last week the District of Columbia's Attorney General announced DC will not seek Supreme Court review of the D.C. Circuit’s decision invalidating its “good reason” requirement for issuing Concealed Pistol Licenses to residents and nonresidents alike. This means that the District is now a 'shall issue' jurisdiction. Other requirements, such as the 16 hours of classroom training and two hours of range training, etc. are not affected by the Court’s ruling.
There has been some misunderstanding recently concerning where one can carry in the District. A recent Facebook post that has been widely disseminated interpreted the DC Gun Free Schools Act as prohibiting carrying a firearm within 1000 feet of a school and certain other locations, which would effectively make 90 plus percent of the District off limits to carry. This law, however, is an enhancement statute that doubles the penalty for otherwise illegally carrying a firearm. It does not apply to persons who have the legal right to carry, such as persons with a DC Concealed Pistol License.
DC law separately sets out locations where CPL holders may not carry. They include the actual school and university grounds, government buildings, medical facilities, night clubs, stadiums, the DC Metro, the monuments on the Mall, and designated areas around the White House, the Vice President’s residence, and the Capital Grounds. It does not include parks, sidewalks and streets, private businesses, or other outdoor locations. Nor does it include residences or houses of worship where the CPL holder has permission to carry from the owner or responsible manager.
If you are interested in obtaining a DC Concealed Pistol License or would like more information on the process, Arsenal Attorneys’ George Lyon is a DC Concealed Pistol Instructor and is scheduling classes now.
Washington, D.C.’s efforts to prevent law abiding citizens from carrying firearms for personal protection got the stiff arm last Thursday from the whole bench of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
In a sparsely worded order, the full court declined to rehear the July 25, 2017 decision of a three-judge panel that had invalidated DC’s requirement that applicants for Concealed Pistol Licenses show “good cause” to carry a handgun outside the home.
After losing before the Court’s 3-judge panel, the City had petitioned the full Court of Appeals, consisting of 10 active judges and one senior judge to rehear the case, arguing that the panel’s decision was inconsistent with the decisions of four other federal circuit courts and that DC, as the seat of government, was a uniquely sensitive area. According to the Court’s order, it declined DC’s invitation because not a single judge of the Court had asked for a vote on the city’s petition.
The July 25th decision was in the combined cases of Wrenn v. D.C. and Grace v. D.C, which challenged the District’s may issue concealed carry licensing scheme. In a nutshell, the three-judge panel held the District’s restrictive licensing scheme unconstitutional and ordered the District Court to permanently enjoin D.C. from enforcing its “good cause” requirement to obtain a concealed carry license.
The decision will become effective when the D.C. Circuit issues its mandate for Wrenn and Grace, expected by October 5, 2017. Unless the Court stays its decision, or unless DC is able to convince the Supreme Court to stay the decision, the District will become shall issue when the Court’s mandate is issued.
Unless the Court stays its decision ...
the District will become a 'shall issue' jurisdiction ...
DC’s last chance to maintain its restrictive carry licensing scheme is to petition the Supreme Court to review the case. The District has not announced whether it will ask the high court to intervene. The Supreme Court has discretion over what cases it takes. The overwhelming majority of petitions for the Court to hear a case are denied. However, because the D.C. Circuit’s decision conflicts with the decisions of four other federal circuits, Supreme Court may very well hear the case to resolve the matter.
Should the high court accept the case for review, it will have the opportunity to clarify how lower courts analyze Second Amendment cases. To date the lower courts have rejected most Second Amendment challenges to state and federal firearm regulations, prompting criticism that the lower courts are treating the Second Amendment as a second class right.
Considering the composition of the Supreme Court, DC may very well be reluctant to seek review of Wrenn and Grace. Further, other jurisdictions might discourage DC from pursuing the matter. If the high court affirms the D.C. Circuit, similar "may issue" permitting schemes in Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Hawaii, New York and portions of California would likely be doomed. In addition, a strong Second Amendment decision from the Supreme Court could derail other gun control statutes across the nation, including those of the District’s. The anti-self-defense lobby may decide they’d prefer the District to accept defeat and forego Supreme Court review if it posed such a risk of overturning much of their gun control agenda nationwide.
Kudos to lawyers Alan Gura and Charles Cooper for their victory and our friends Brian Wrenn and Matthew Grace for standing up for their rights.
DC residents and nonresidents alike will be interested to know how two recent decisions by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on July 25, 2017 upheld rights under the Second Amendment to carry concealed firearms. The two cases, Wrenn v. D.C. and Grace v. D.C., challenged DC’s may issue concealed carry licensing scheme. In a nutshell, the Court held DC’s restrictive licensing scheme unconstitutional and ordered the District Court to permanently enjoin DC from enforcing its “good cause” requirement to obtain a concealed carry license.
"Even a person residing beside a drug den or who has previously been the victim of crime, likely would not qualify for a DC carry license."
DC was first compelled to issue carry licenses because of the Palmer v. D.C. decision in 2014. Arsenal Attorneys’ George Lyon was a plaintiff in Palmer. Begrudgingly, DC implemented very strict requirements for carry license applications. The good cause standard requires a resident or nonresident applicant to show he carries cash or other valuables on his person for business or has been personally threatened or has been a victim of crime needing to carry a handgun to protect himself from apprehended danger. Simply living in a high crime area, in other words most of DC, does not qualify. Even a person residing beside a drug den or who has previously been the victim of crime, likely would not qualify for a DC carry license without proof of a current threat or an extraordinary security need. These difficult requirements enabled DC to reject all but a very few applications.
Arsenal Attorneys' George Lyon was interviewed on WMAL radio concerning the recent attack on congressmen by a gunman. Mr. Lyon discussed the difficulties of obtaining permits to carry concealed firearms in jurisdictions, like the District of Columbia, who have a 'may issue' policy rather than a 'shall issue' law requiring approval of applications by law-abiding citizens. Listen to the full interview at this link.
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Arsenal Attorneys regularly helps clients with their estate planning needs, including wills, trusts, powers of attorney, medical directives, and more. Contact us to discuss your goals and questions.
Arsenal Attorneys' George Lyon appeared on the Russian independent TV network, RTVi, to debate gun rights in Russia. Several Eastern European countries, including Russia and the Czech Republic, have taken up the debate of whether to adopt legislation similar to America's Second Amendment.
One panelist in the RTVi debate asked Mr. Lyon why he would carry a firearm everyday. "Because a cop is too heavy," he responded.
The full video can be found at this link.
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