While leftists all over the country, from Hollywood to Hillary Clinton, are hyping gun control in the aftermath of the horrific sniper attack on concert-goers in Las Vegas, the District of Columbia is raising the white flag in a court fight over that very issue, apparently hoping to limit what officials there would consider damage from an adverse ruling.
It was a panel of the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that rejected the district’s requirement that people prove to police they have a “good reason” to want to carry a firearm, and then rejected the district’s insistence that the full court hear the arguments.
An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was the next possible step for District of Columbia officials, but they have now said they will not do that, giving up their own law apparently in the hope that there won’t soon be a Supreme Court ruling that could take down other, similar, laws in other parts of the country.
It was Second Amendment Foundation founder Alan M. Gottlieb, whose organization handled the Wrenn v. District of Columbia case, who noted the court ruling simply means wider opportunities for those who feel they may need to defend themselves to be prepared.
He said disallowing the demand in the district for people to convince government authorities of their “good reason” to have access to a weapon “represents one more advancement in our effort to win firearms freedom one lawsuit at a time.”
On Thursday, Gottlieb noted, after the district’s announcement it would not appeal: “We believe the city was under intense pressure to take the hit and not appeal the ruling by the U.S. District Court of Appeals. If the district had lost the case before the high court, it would have dealt a fatal blow to similar requirements in California, New Jersey, Maryland and New York, for example, and that prospect had anti-gun politicians in those states quaking in their shoes.”
It was back in 2008 that the Supreme Court struck the district’s total handgun ban as unconstitutional, and that opened a wave of legal challenges to state laws. One of those was the McDonald v. Chicago case that resulted in a nullification of that city’s handgun ban, “but more importantly incorporated the Second Amendment to the states,” the SAF said.
“Let’s face it,” Gottlieb continued, “anti-gunners are determined to cling to their dogma of public disarmament rather than admit that their resistance to common sense concealed carry reform amounts to nothing more than stubborn denial. These people simply do not want to enter the 21st century. They refuse to accept the Supreme Court ruling that the Second Amendment protects and affirms an individual right to not only keep arms, but to bear them as the Founders understood.”He noted the district’s decision still could result in a Supreme Court ruling, since there are now conflicting opinions among circuit courts on the issue of concealed carry.
Karl Racine, a Democrat who is attorney general in the district, said in a statement, “I continue to believe the district’s ‘good reason’ requirement is a common-sense, and constitutional, gun regulation. However, we must reckon with the fact that an adverse decision by the Supreme Court could have wide-ranging negative effects not just on district residents, but on the country as a whole.”
The decision not to challenge the ruling means that those who want concealed carry permits in D.C. can begin applying once the appeals court issues a formal mandate.
D.C. officials also could attempt to rewrite the law, although that move could result in yet another court challenge.
In 2015, the courts also blocked the district’s plan to limit gun buyers to one per month as unconstitutional, although officials there have been successful in eliminating all licensed dealers in the district, so residents must obtain a certificate from D.C. police, then pick up a weapon after it has been purchased elsewhere and shipped to a dealer inside police headquarters.
“Ten years ago, Washington, D.C.’s political leadership tried to extinguish Second Amendment rights before the Supreme Court,” said Alan Gura, the famous attorney who has fought many gun-rights battles in court.
“The result was D.C. v. Heller, a tremendous victory for the rights of all Americans. With the court of appeals again confirming the people’s right to bear arms, Washington, D.C.’s politicians must once again ask themselves whether it makes sense to keep resisting our fundamental rights.”
He was the lawyer who won at the Supreme Court in both the 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller case and in 2010 in the McDonald v. City of Chicago.