Advocates of the Second Amendment celebrated an announcement May 26 that struck down the District’s gun law requirement to show “good reason” to get a permit to carry a concealed firearm. However, the celebration may be short lived as city attorneys filed an immediate appeal.
In a ruling last week, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, called the regulation an “unconstitutional burden,” and issued a preliminary injunction that temporarily bans enforcement of the city’s “may issue” laws while the case works its way through the court system.
The “may issue” permitting platform allows D.C. residents and nonresidents to apply for concealed carry permits by showing proof that they need to carry a weapon for self-defense. While concealment advocates like retired military officer and Ward 7 resident William Murray believe better oversight is necessary in granting permits in general, upholding the Constitution is more important. “Our Founding Fathers did not write out in the language of the Constitution that I had to have a good reason for carrying a firearm, they simply said I had that right as a function of my citizenship,” Murray said. “As the random violence in this city moves from one area to another and begins to happen in places like the bus and subway, residents should have a right to defend themselves within the law.”
The city has filed for a stay of the order arguing that the laws are “necessary to prevent crime and promote public safety.”
Janay Thompson, a Ward 8 resident, said while she believes in the Constitution, the vagueness of the concealment law would encourage people who feel threatened by the presence of teens, or are intimidated by their surroundings, to the shoot first and ask questions later. “A lot of residents feel the need to protect themselves, but access to guns – concealed or otherwise – has led to a lot of unnecessary violence that escalated because someone felt threatened and had access to a gun,” Thompson said. “We are sending mixed messages about rights versus responsibilities.”
“The risk of a gun-related tragedy – accidental or deliberate – involving new licensees who have no particularized fear of any specific danger to their safety outweighs plaintiffs’ speculative fears about any imminent need to defend themselves from a random, public attack during the pendency of this litigation,” city attorneys wrote in their motion for a stay of the order.