Good news for residents of the District of Columbia. Despite being one of the most anti-gun communities in the country for years, the nation’s capital has decided to become a shall-issue jurisdiction. Well, “decided” is kind of a strong word, since they didn’t want to do it. They didn’t have a whole lot of choice in the matter, but they still made a decision that will net a big win for people in the district.
In the midst of Capitol Hill lawmakers considering new gun control legislation in the wake of the deadly Las Vegas shooting, the District of Columbia decided not to appeal a court order that blocked the city’s restrictions on concealed carry, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
The decision not to appeal, made by D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, comes as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is expected to hand down an order by Friday that carries out a ruling that struck down the city’s “good reason” requirement for people in the district wanting licenses to carry concealed firearms.
Racine, according to The Post, stated that while he continues to support the constitutionality of D.C. concealed carry firearm law, he did not want to risk an adverse ruling from the Supreme Court that would place other metropolitan areas with concealed carry restrictions across the nation in a similar legal difficulty.
In other words, there was every reason to believe they’d lose the appeal and, if they did, they’d throw the anti-gun cause back decades.
However, the ruling by the appeals court still sets the stage for a ruling by the Supreme Court, since there are conflicting decisions at that judicial level. The Court typically hears those cases so a definitive decision can be made on the issue.
Considering the current makeup of the Court, it’s very likely that should they decide to hear a case on the constitutionality of may issue laws, they will decide to kill the whole thing. That would have ramifications all over this country, but particularly in New York City which has famously barred guns without a permit for over a century, and is also famous for almost never issuing out those permits except for the politically connected.
From a strategic point of view, D.C. was smart to not appeal the decision, and for the reasons Racine states.
Unfortunately for anti-gun forces, it’s far from over on this. Instead, expect to see some pro-gun organization to find someone in New York City or New Jersey or some other place where they’ve been barred from getting a carry permit. They find them, file a lawsuit with this individual named as the plaintiff, and just keep appealing until it’s before the Supreme Court.
Then it’s game, set, and match.
The truth is, there’s nothing at all constitutional about may-issue permits. Many would argue that there’s nothing constitutional about requiring permits, which I agree with. I also know how difficult a sell that will be to anyone, including the Court. Forcing the issue before the Supreme Court may allow our friends and family in these may-issue states to finally be able to carry a firearm for protection, something many of us have been able to do for years now.
It would be a win. A big one.