D.C. Appeals Court Strikes Down ‘Good Reason’ Licensing Scheme

“Unconstitutional” is what a federal appeals court has ruled on the D.C. gun law that says people must show “good reason” to have concealed handgun permits. The Second Amendment is sufficient reason itself to issue permits, according to the 2-1 ruling released Tuesday July 25, by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals D.C.“In fact, the Amendment’s core at a minimum shields the typically situated citizen’s ability to carry common arms generally,” wrote Judge Thomas B. Griffith in the ruling on the case Wrenn v. District of Columbia.

Subsequently, the appeals court instructed lower courts to block the D.C. law with permanent injunctions. City officials indicated they’re exploring an appeal, while gun-control groups claim the ruling shrinks public safety in the nation’s capital.

D.C. gun laws are among the strictest in the U.S., but they’ve also faced several legal challenges in the last few years, said Kirk Evans, President of U.S. & Texas LawShield.

Evans noted that one landmark pro-gun victory was District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008 in which the U.S. Supreme Court—voting 5 to 4—struck down D.C.’s ban on handguns. Then, in 2014, another federal court prevented a proposed ban on carrying guns in public. The D.C. Council—the enclave’s municipal government—responded by creating the “good reason” rule, which only issued permits to citizens who could prove they faced legitimate threats, Evans said.

“Simply residing in one of the District’s high-crime neighborhoods was not considered ‘good reason,’” Evans said. “This was not unnoticed by at least one member of Congress who complained colleagues were unarmed when a gunman shot up their ball practice in June.” But, according to the appeals court’s decision, the “good reason” rule negated what the Supreme Court decided in Heller.

“The District’s good-reason law is necessarily a total ban on exercises of that constitutional right for most D.C. residents,” Judge Griffith wrote. “That’s enough to sink this law under (Heller).

Second Amendment advocates praised the latest ruling, including Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF).

He said the ruling “contains some powerful language that affirms what we’ve argued for many years, that requiring a so-called ‘good-cause’ to exercise a constitutionally-protected right does not pass the legal smell test.” Gottlieb added, “We are particularly pleased that the opinion makes it clear that the Second Amendment’s core generally covers carrying in public for self-defense.” In the days after the ruling it was too early to tell how far the case would rise through the appeals process. The Supreme Court in June declined to consider another Second Amendment case, Peruta v. California, in which the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a San Diego County law requiring gun owners to prove they have “good cause” to apply for concealed carry permits.

But Gottlieb said the latest victory in D.C. spurs confidence among Second Amendment advocates.

“To say we are delighted with the ruling would be an understatement,” Gottlieb said. “We are simply more encouraged to keep fighting, winning firearms freedom one lawsuit at a time.” — Bill Miller, Contributor, Texas & U.S. Law Shield blog

Check out these other great articles from U.S. Law Shield and click here to become a member:

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Comments (8)

  1. The vote was 2 to 1. What I’d like to know is who is the ignorant SOB that voted “NO”?

    I swear that some of these places, NYC, LA, SF, Chicago, Seattle, etc. are full of people who are effin’ crazy. They have to be dragged, kicking and screaming into the constitutional world! Delay, delay, delay. I’d like to see them prosecuted for things like this. If they continue to get away with making unconstitutional law after unconstitutional law time after time, it seems to me that they won’t stop until they are prosecuted and jailed! LOCK THEM UP!

  2. It never ceases to amaze me that the gun control NUTS are so dense they cannot see that criminals do not follow the law. Keeping citizens unarmed is making the public “safe?” When criminals can , and do, carry illegally, that puts the unarmed citizenry at risk. Seems awfully plain, clear, simple and common sense to me. But what do I know? I don’t share their irrational fear of THE GUN!

    Level the playing field. Law abiding citizens must be able to protect themselves anywhere. Gun free zones create killing fields full of unarmed sheep. This ruling needs to stand. The citizens have the RIGHT to life, liberty, safety and security.

  3. The simplest “fix” would be for anyone interested in their Second Amendment rights (and apparently few in DC are except the rather large criminal class), MOVE TO ANOTHER STATE!! Job be damned, that job isn’t going to help you one bit when TSHTF, especially in the presence of all those “diversities” in the aforementioned criminal class, you’ll be lucky if you get out of DC alive. It’s a rotten place to live or work, but it’s an excellent place to die.

  4. This was a three judge panel of the District Court. I expect this decision to be appealed to the full District Court, which was packed with liberal appointees by Obama and Harry Reid. Second Amendment cases have not fared well in the full District Court.

  5. The real shame on the American people themselves is that the center of our freedom, the heart of our Republic, the keeper of our freedoms, the very core of our being, is the place where the the most anti-American rhetoric seems to be concentrated. The representatives we elect to send to this centerpiece of our government should be first in voice to fight and defend the Constitution that birthed our Republic, WE THE PEOPLE – are ultimately responsible for our own downfall by sending these anti-American people to our Senate and House of Representatives to represent us. WE THE PEOPLE need to send the right representatives to our Congress. If those we sent do not represent WE THE PEOPLE, then recall them, replace them with the Constitutionally based representatives we need to preserve our rights, not just the Second, but ALL of our freedoms that we voted on and attached to our great document. To all of the people, be part of your representative government, don’t be a bystander hoping things will work out for us. Support the candidates that will do the right thing. DONATE and work for the cause, get out of the watchers chair and be part of the force that will be our future.

  6. Has anything further progressed on National Reciprocity? That’s what I want to hear about, but haven’t heard squat. Guess it takes a lot of little twigs to make a pile.

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