Legislators have fought against the human right of self-defense in the District of Columbia tooth and claw, and have only recently and begrudgingly passed a highly restrictive “may issue” concealed carry law when forced to do so by a federal judge.
Now gun rights advocates are challenging the highly restrictive new law, which is designed to make it nearly impossible for an average citizen to carry a firearm in lawful self-defense.
Gun owners who successfully sued the D.C. government to overturn the city’s ban on carrying firearms in public are asking a judge to block implementation of a new law regulating concealed carry, saying the measure is unconstitutionally restrictive.
Plaintiffs in the Palmer v. District of Columbia case filed a motion Thursday asking U.S. District Court Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. to block the legislation “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.”
The D.C. Council adopted emergency legislation last month that establishes for the first time in decades a process by which gun owners can apply to carry a concealed weapon on city streets. The approved legislation, valid for 90 days, would grant the city’s police chief the authority to issue concealed carry permits and would require gun owners to demonstrate “good reason” to carry a gun.
“They have merely dusted off their earlier statute restricting handgun carry licenses at the police chief’s pleasure, a licensing regime which explicitly rejects the notion that people have a right to carry handguns for self-defense,” wrote attorney Alan Gura in his request for an injunction.
The District’s gun laws are based upon the restrictive “may issue” gun permitting scheme in neighboring Maryland that turned Baltimore into virtual shooting gallery where law-abiding citizens cannot readily carry arms for self-defense and criminals brazenly ignore the law.
Baltimore and Washington are among the very few large cities that are penalized with “may issue” permitting, and among the few that saw their murder rates increase in 2013.
Chicago, the murder capitol of the United States, has seen their murder rate plummet when Illinois was forced by another federal judge to adopt a less-infringing “shall issue” system.