Second Amendment

Restrictive concealed carry law violates Second Amendment, DC Circuit rules

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A federal appeals court has blocked a Washington, D.C., gun law that that restricts concealed carry permits to those who can show a good reason for carrying firearms.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled 2-1 on Tuesday that the restriction violates the Second Amendment because it amounts to a total ban on the right to carry a gun for most residents. The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.), Reuters and the Washington Post covered the decision (PDF).

“At the Second Amendment’s core lies the right of responsible citizens to carry firearms for personal self-defense beyond the home, subject to longstanding restrictions,” Judge Thomas Griffith wrote for the majority. Traditional restrictions include licensing requirements, but not special-needs requirements, he said.

“The Second Amendment erects some absolute barriers that no gun law may breach,” Griffith wrote.

At least four other federal appeals courts have upheld similar restrictions, while a fifth has recognized a constitutional right to carry a gun outside the home, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Washington, D.C., gun law says the police chief “may issue” concealed carry permits to those who show “good reason to fear injury to his person or property or has any other proper reason for carrying a pistol.”

To show “good reason,” applicants have to show evidence of specific threats or previous attacks that demonstrate a special danger to the applicant’s life. District regulations interpret “other proper reason” to include employment involving the transportation of cash or valuables.

Washington, D.C., is considering asking the full court to hear the appeal, which had consolidated two cases—Wrenn v. District of Columbia and Grace v. District of Columbia.

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