Perhaps the most notorious jurisdiction in the U.S. for trampling the rights of its inhabitants, the District of Columbia kept its residents from legally owning firearms – never mind carrying – for decades. The 2008 Supreme Court decision in the Heller case finally put the brakes on that outrage, but District politicians refused to let their infringements go softly into the night. Nearly a decade after the Heller ruling and D.C. is still doing everything it can to keep its people as subjects without the means of practical self-defense. But that’s all finally changing. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a ruling Tuesday that blocks the enforcement of “good reason” legislation. D.C. has thirty days to appeal, but should they fail to do so, citizens will finally be allowed to carry one week later.
Under the good reason rule, citizens who would go out armed must convince the government that there is some legitimate threat requiring them to carry. Imagine having to persuade a DMV official that you really, really need to be able to drive legally. As it stands, you present your credentials, pass the tests, and get the license. That’s what gun carriers want – simply to be held to a universal standard. One that a surly bureaucrat who hates what you’re attempting to do can’t deny just by saying “no.”
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected efforts to frustrate the right to self-defense. In a ruling sure to impact those of other circuits, the Court stated that “it’s more natural to view the [Second] Amendment’s core as including a law-abiding citizen’s right to carry common firearms for self-defense beyond the home.” District officials argued that because it is an urban area and the national capital, that there were special concerns. No matter that cities like Philadelphia, Houston, Atlanta, Phoenix, etc., all have carry laws that honor the rights of citizens without carnage in the streets.
This case was decided by a three-judge panel in a two to one decision. The District can appeal the case to be heard by the full Circuit Court in what’s called an en banc proceeding, and if either party doesn’t like the outcome there, they can petition for the Supreme Court to hear the case. D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine said they were considering whether to appeal to full Circuit Court and that “The Office of Attorney General is committed to working with the Mayor and Council to continue fighting for common-sense gun rules.” Where’s the commitment to see the civil rights of District residents honored?