A strict D.C. gun law that prevents most firearms owners from carrying concealed handguns in public in the nation’s capital is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court panel ruled Tuesday, saying the city government cannot demand citizens prove a “good reason” before being issued permits.
In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ordered lower courts to issue permanent injunctions blocking enforcement of the law.
City officials said they are considering an appeal, but gun rights supporters said the ruling is a major step and could set up an even bigger victory should the U.S. Supreme Court adopt the circuit judges’ decision.
“At the Second Amendment’s core lies the right of responsible citizens to carry firearms for personal self-defense beyond the home, subject to longstanding restrictions,” Judge Thomas B. Griffith wrote in the majority opinion. “These traditional limits include, for instance, licensing requirements, but not bans on carrying in urban areas like D.C. or bans on carrying absent a special need for self-defense.”
The ruling is the latest blow to the District’s efforts to curtail gun possession and use. The Supreme Court struck down the city’s near total ban on firearms possession in 2008, and a federal court blocked an effort to ban the carrying of firearms in public in 2014.
by Andrea Noble