Federal Judge Says D.C. Gun Law Too Restrictive

Federal Judge Says D.C. Gun Law Too Restrictive
photo from WashingtonTimes.com

Three gun owners have filed suit and are seeking to overturn the new Washington D.C. firearms law on the grounds that the regulations are so strict that they make it impossible to exercise their Second Amendment rights—and they're making some headway.

On Monday, a federal judge put a hold on the District's requirement that gun owners demonstrate a "good reason" in order to receive a concealed carry permit.

The District's concealed carry laws were drafted last year to comply with a ruling by U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. that overturned D.C.'s long-standing ban on carrying firearms in public.

A process was created by which residents and nonresidents could apply for a CCW permit by showing proof that they needed to carry a weapon for self defense. D.C. Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier was given the authority to decide who met the criteria.

After being denied CCW permits by Lanier this year, D.C. residents Brian Wrenn and Joshua Akery, along with Tyler Whidby of Florida, who maintains a residence in Virginia, filed suit.

They were denied permits because they were unable to demonstrate "a special need for self-protection distinguishable from the general community" or to provide evidence showing that they have been subject to "specific threats or previous attacks," according to the lawsuit.

Judge Scullin granted a preliminary injunction Monday, writing that the "good reason" requirement goes far beyond reasonable concealed carry restrictions and that the city cannot enforce the law until the suit is settled.

"The issue here is not whether the District of Columbia's good reason/proper reason requirement is a reasonable or wise policy choice. Rather, the issue is whether this requirement, no matter how well intended, violates the Second Amendment," Judge Scullin wrote.

The injunction leaves other CCW requirements in place, including the completion of firearms training and restrictions on where concealed weapons can be carried, since the lawsuit isn't challenging those restrictions.