New Players Join Fight over Washington D.C. Carry Law

Washington D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier.

The battle over concealed carry laws in the nation's capital is ongoing, with new parties joining the fight this month.

Last week, the attorneys general of Maryland, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New York—along with anti-gun groups such as the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence—filed a brief in defense of Washington D.C.'s concealed-carry law, portions of which a federal judge ruled unconstitutional in May, according to this story from wamu.org.

On the other side, the National Rifle Association has given notice that it will file its own brief in opposition to the law, which was passed by the District Council last year. A spike in the District's violent crime numbers has added heat to the continuing clash.

The law includes a provision that requires applicants show "a good reason" for getting a concealed carry permit, meaning they must prove they face a personal threat or work in an industry that requires them to carry a firearm to protect valuable items on a daily basis. On May 18, a District Judge Frederick J. Scullin, Jr. rules that the requirement violates the Second Amendment and that the city should begin issuing permits immediately. His ruling was appealed, and Scullin's decision was stayed until a Federal Appeals court is able to review the case. Originally, it was estimated the hearing would be in a few weeks after the stay order was issued in June. Now, this story says the hearing is expected until November.

District officials asked, as part of their appeal, that Scullin's ruling not be enforced until the outcome of the appeal is determined. Because of this, the District is still following the law as written and requiring "a good reason" from all applicants.

Since then, the district has issued very few permits. Of 206 applications filed for a CCW permit since October 23, 2014, only 44 were approved, according to this dailycaller.com story.

Gun-rights advocates say the law violates the protection of the individual to keep and bear arms, guaranteed by the Second Amendment. D.C. officials argue that nothing in the Constitution prevents them from saying who can carry a concealed handgun, or where it can be carried, as it does not impact the ability of an individual to possess a firearm.

D.C. modeled its law after Maryland's. Forty-two states have "shall-issue" licensing rules, while D.C. is in the minority of "may-issue" jurisdictions with gun-tough states like New Jersey and New York.