Judge Slams D.C. Concealed Carry Law As Unconstitutional
A federal judge ruled yesterday that a provision of the District of Columbia’s concealed carry law was too strict in requiring applicants to show “good reason” in order to obtain a concealed carry permit.
U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon found that the law violates the “core right of self-defense” granted in the Second Amendment, setting aside arguments from District officials that the regulation is needed to prevent crime and protect the public.
“The enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table,” Leon wrote in a 46-page opinion, quoting a 5-to-4 Supreme Court decision in 2008 in another District case that established a constitutional right to keep firearms inside one’s home.
Leon said the right applies both inside and outside the home.
“The District’s understandable, but overzealous, desire to restrict the right to carry in public a firearm for self-defense to the smallest possible number of law-abiding, responsible citizens is exactly the type of policy choice the Justices had in mind,” he wrote.
Leon’s decision is going to alarm gun control supporters in other very restrictive locations, as the District’s so-called “may issue” provision matches those in Maryland, New Jersey, and New York. The language has been upheld by federal judges in those states, suggesting that we have the makings of a constitutional crisis to force the U.S. Supreme Court to face the issue head-on.
Leon arrived at his decision by using strict scrutiny, which is a level of judicial requiring a law to serve a compelling government interest and must be narrowly tailored to serve that interest.
Laws targeting core constitutional issues typically face strict scrutiny in the courts, though our Second Amendment rights are often seized from us by courts who find a way to justify using a lower level of scrutiny known as intermediate scrutiny, where the law must advance,” important government interest by means that are substantially related to that interest.” It was under this lower level of scrutiny that the laws of Maryland, New Jersey, and New York were upheld.
The battle over the right to self-defense has been raging for years in the District of Columbia, which as an out-of-control violent crime problem which the city’s Democrat leaders want to blame on guns instead of the city’s thug culture and failed leadership.
While Judge Leon’s decision is a step in the right direction, don’t expect the District of Columbia to stop fighting against the right of citizens to carry a concealed handgun in self-defense.
They love power in the District of Columbia far more than they love liberty.
Then again, that has long been the case, in every context.