New Washington, D.C. Carry Law Still Restrictive and Unconstitutional

   10.13.14

New Washington, D.C. Carry Law Still Restrictive and Unconstitutional

In July, I reported a judge’s ruling that said the city government and police chief of Washington, D.C. may not prevent citizens from carrying guns outside of their homes “unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.”

On Friday, October 10, a statement was issued by the police chief and attorney general, stating that “Mayor Vincent C. Gray has signed emergency legislation, the ‘License to Carry a Pistol Emergency Amendment Act of 2014,’ passed by the Council of the District of Columbia in response to the ruling by the U.S. District Court in the case of Palmer v. District of Columbia. This law maintains our commitment to keeping guns out of the wrong hands and ensures the safety of all within the District of Columbia, while fully respecting the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

Despite that claim, the law asserts that only “members of the public who meet the statute’s criteria will be able to apply for a license to carry a pistol in the District.”

It also makes clear the D.C. government’s intent to abuse and prosecute anyone exercising his or her right without such a permit:

“…carrying a gun in public remains a criminal offense, and anyone found doing so will be subject to arrest. The District’s Office of the Attorney General is prepared to prosecute all cases within its jurisdiction. All firearms will be seized as contraband. Firearms with a valid registration in the District of Columbia will be held as contraband unless and until the person goes through the process of applying for a valid license to carry.” (Emphasis added)

Gun rights advocates have already been protesting this new law, which requires that citizens fairly beg to exercise their rights, requiring each applicant to prove a “good reason to fear injury to his or her person or property or… other proper reason for carrying a pistol.”

Furthermore, issuance of carry permits is apparently made at the discretion of a single person (the police chief), who can also “limit the geographic area, circumstances, or times of the day, week, month, or year in which the license is effective, and may revoke the license.”

Many other restrictions exist and can be read here: License to Carry a Pistol Temporary Amendment Act of 2014

Claiming that this scheme is Constitutional and that it “fully respect[s] the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution” is laughable at best.

For that reason, this “emergency” legislation utterly fails to comply with the court’s ruling that any such law must be “consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.”

The law is expected to be reviewed soon by the same judge, U.S. District Court Judge Frederick J. Scullin. Let’s hope he treats it with all the respect it deserves–by tossing it out.

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