Recent actions by Washington, D.C., officials prove that there are few things they care more about than keeping guns out of the hands of law-abiding D.C. residents wishing to protect themselves on the mean streets of our nation’s capital.
First, here’s some background.
On May 18, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an order prohibiting enforcement of provisions of D.C. law that effectively grant to the police chief the discretion to decide who may lawfully exercise the right to bear arms in public for self-defense. This followed an earlier ruling in which the District lost the argument that the right to “bear arms” does not apply outside the home, leading to the hasty enactment of an “emergency” may-issue concealed carry licensing scheme. That license is the only means by which most people can lawfully carry firearms in D.C. for self-defense.In reality, what would “minimize unnecessary disruption and confusion” would be for D.C. leaders to stop fighting against court rulings that uphold the right of law-abiding Americans to protect themselves—regardless of where they live.
Under D.C.’s law, an applicant must show a “good reason to fear injury to his or her person” or “other proper reason” for the carrying of a concealed handgun. Apart from employment involving the handling or transportation of cash or other valuables, the only way to meet these requirements is to show “a special need for self-protection,” or for protection of a vulnerable family member, “distinguishable from the general community.”
Of course, D.C. politicians just couldn’t stand for the May 18 ruling, which actually permits carry by law-abiding citizens who can’t prove such a “special need.” So last Monday the council asked Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. to let the city enforce a central element of its restrictive Right-to-Carry law—the requirement that handgun owners demonstrate a “good reason” for a permit to carry—while a lawsuit over the matter works its way through the federal court system.
“Granting an administrative stay would minimize unnecessary disruption and confusion,” D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine wrote in that request, noting that if a later ruling were to overturn the injunction, any concealed-carry permits issued during that time might have to be withdrawn.
In reality, what would “minimize unnecessary disruption and confusion” would be for D.C. leaders to stop fighting against court rulings that uphold the right of law-abiding Americans to protect themselves—regardless of where they live. Allowing D.C. to continue enforcing restrictive portions of the law is both unnecessary and inadvisable.
Thankfully, that’s the way the judge saw the petition, too. On Thursday, Judge Scullin denied the request to stay his earlier ruling, leaving D.C. leaders empty-handed in their latest assault on firearm rights.For now, at least, D.C. is effectively a “shall-issue” jurisdiction.
Neither the District Court nor the D.C. Court of Appeals have delayed implementation of Judge Scullin’s order that prohibits both enforcement of the unconstitutional provisions and denial of applications for those who otherwise meet licensing requirements and are eligible to possess and carry firearms in the District. For now, at least, D.C. is effectively a “shall-issue” jurisdiction.
Fact is, D.C. residents are American citizens who have a Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms just like law-abiding citizens throughout the country. For D.C. officials to continue to make it as difficult as possible for people to practice that right is a shame and a travesty.
Hopefully the courts will continue to rule against D.C. and its warped view of what the Second Amendment really means. We’ll keep an eye on this issue and report back as further information becomes available.