D.C. Appeals Court Strikes Down ‘Good Reason’ Licensing Scheme

“Unconstitutional” is what a federal appeals court has ruled on the D.C. gun law that says people must show “good reason” to have concealed handgun permits.

The Second Amendment is sufficient reason itself to issue permits, according to the 2-1 ruling released Tuesday July 25, by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Court of Appeals

“In fact, the Amendment’s core at a minimum shields the typically situated citizen’s ability to carry common arms generally,” wrote Judge Thomas B. Griffith in the ruling on the case Wrenn v. District of Columbia.

Subsequently, the appeals court instructed lower courts to block the D.C. law with permanent injunctions. City officials indicated they’re exploring an appeal, while gun-control groups claim the ruling shrinks public safety in the nation’s capital.

D.C. gun laws are among the strictest in the U.S., but they’ve also faced several legal challenges in the last few years, said Kirk Evans, President of U.S. & Texas LawShield.

Evans noted that one landmark pro-gun victory was District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008 in which the U.S. Supreme Court—voting 5 to 4—struck down D.C.’s ban on handguns. Then, in 2014, another federal court prevented a proposed ban on carrying guns in public.

The D.C. Council—the enclave’s municipal government—responded by creating the “good reason” rule, which only issued permits to citizens who could prove they faced legitimate threats, Evans said.

“Simply residing in one of the District’s high-crime neighborhoods was not considered ‘good reason,’” Evans said. “This was not unnoticed by at least one member of Congress who complained colleagues were unarmed when a gunman shot up their ball practice in June.”

But, according to the appeals court’s decision, the “good reason” rule negated what the Supreme Court decided in Heller.

“The District’s good-reason law is necessarily a total ban on exercises of that constitutional right for most D.C. residents,” Judge Griffith wrote. “That’s enough to sink this law under (Heller).

Second Amendment advocates praised the latest ruling, including Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF).

He said the ruling “contains some powerful language that affirms what we’ve argued for many years, that requiring a so-called ‘good-cause’ to exercise a constitutionally-protected right does not pass the legal smell test.”

Gottlieb added, “We are particularly pleased that the opinion makes it clear that the Second Amendment’s core generally covers carrying in public for self-defense.”

In the days after the ruling it was too early to tell how far the case would rise through the appeals process. The Supreme Court in June declined to consider another Second Amendment case, Peruta v. California, in which the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a San Diego County law requiring gun owners to prove they have “good cause” to apply for concealed carry permits.

But Gottlieb said the latest victory in D.C. spurs confidence among Second Amendment advocates.

“To say we are delighted with the ruling would be an understatement,” Gottlieb said. “We are simply more encouraged to keep fighting, winning firearms freedom one lawsuit at a time.” — Bill Miller, Contributor, Texas & U.S. Law Shield blog

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10 Comments On This Article

  1. When, if ever, are the anti-gunners going to accept the fact that those who would commit a crime with a gun could not care less about ANY laws against carrying a gun? Laws against the carry guarantee of our Constitution is just fodder for the criminal, who already knows that only law abiding citizens obey the laws. Every anti law that passes just gives the criminal more assurance of less resistance.

    • I think they do know that. The mindset is that if they can remove all guns from the United States then no one will have guns (legal or illegal) with which to commit crimes. Mission accomplished…
      .
      How many millions of guns are in the US?

  2. As I live in NJ, this is good news. I hope it translates into turning this state from a “may issue” to a “shall issue” state.

    • Born and raised in the Garden State. Got out fast as I could. Although NY and CA have rivaled the outrageous legislation on 2A freedom, I believe no state has almost unanimous hostility towards gun rights as New Jersey has proven by locking up people passing through with CCW licenses and tortuous regulations for citizens.

      • So why doesn’t anyone ever help us out here in New Jersey. Why don’t we ever sue the state like this ??? I don’t really even care anymore though. After 50 years in nj I’ve had enough. Going to South Carolina next summer. Between gun laws and property taxes I’ve had enough.

  3. WHAT CONSERV’s -NATIONWIDE – NOT JUST IN DC – NEED TO REALIZE, UNDERSTAND, ‘ACCEPT’… and NEVER ACQUIESCE TO… “NEVER”…. IS THE FACT THAT:

    ** GUN CONTROL: ITS NOT ABOUT GUNS. ITs ABOUT CONTROL!!

    OR: RE-PHRASED FOR HARDHEADS – LET THEM TALK. LET THEM SCREAM. LET THEM THREATEN, CRY, “REASON” & JUSTIFY; …BEG, SNIVEL, … TEMPER TANTRUM… EVEN RIOT – LIKE THEY’RE DOING NOW!! …WHATEVER THEY WANT TO DO… THIS IS WAR, STUPID! THEY r AT “WAR” WITH THIS COUNTRY, U!! ACCEPT IT.

    U DONT SEE WHAT THEY’RE DOING TO TRUMP, NOW??? HUH??

    AND “U” NEVER CAPITULATE… – AGAIN! … AGAIN!!!!!!!!!

    *** GOD – I HATE “MODERATE CONSERVATIVES”… SAME AS SAYING “I DONT CARE WHAT I BELEIVE. BEST JSUT TO ‘GO WITH THE FLOW’…”

    REMEMBER: LIBERALISM – A [SERIOUS] MENTAL ILLNESS!! BY WAY OF ‘THAT’ REASONING ALONE, “THEY” SHULD BE RESTRICTED FROM BUYING, OWNING GUNS! I CHALLENGE THE “FIRST” POLITICIAN TO CRAFT A BILL AROUND THAT SOLID REASONING. HIS NAME WILL LIVE IN HISTORY AS A HERO!!!!!!!!!! : )) …NEXT TO TRUMP’s.

  4. The Ninth Circuit (AKA “Circus”) should be handed yet another reversal by SCOTUS on the Peruta case, and San Diego County should get TOLD to knock off the BS. (Not that it’s stopped the District of Columbia from scewing with residents’ 2A rights.)

  5. All I have to say is thank God I dont live in a anti-constitutional rights crine infested socialist “utopia” such ad Dist. of Columbia. As a proud CCL holder in Tennessee, I will say I will never live or visit DC or any place like it.

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