Realizing, perhaps, that the District of Columbia was fighting a losing battle against a guaranteed Constitutional right, Attorney General Karl A. Racine announced Wednesday that he would not proceed with an appeal challenging a federal judge’s ruling that found the District’s former ban on concealed carry to be unconstitutional.
In July of 2014, U.S. District Judge Frederick Scullin Jr. essentially said that due to recent landmark Supreme Court ruling, District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. Chicago (2010), it’s beyond question that the right to keep and bear arms extends beyond the home.
“In light of Heller, McDonald, and their progeny, there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny,” wrote Scullin in a 19-page ruling.
Perturbed by the decision, the D.C. leaders acted quickly to file an appeal. Meanwhile, per the Judge’s order, the District city council was forced to set up a concealed carry issuing process. The result was the current and constitutionally dubious may-issue standard that was supposed to serve as a placeholder pending the outcome of the appeal.
But as A.G. Racine said on Wednesday, the appeal is dead, and he will instead fight for the current may-issue standard which is also being challenged in court.
“We need to focus our energies not on litigating old laws, but defending new ones that our leaders enacted in good faith to comply with court rulings while still protecting public safety,” Attorney General Racine said in a statement.
“The Council enacted a law that sets a process by which individuals may apply for gun licenses, which has superseded the law at issue in Palmer v. District of Columbia,” he continued. “Going forward, our energies are best spent focusing on defending the current law. We are vigorously defending it in the district court, and we are confident that it will be upheld.”
Racine understands that he has a much better chance of winning a case that defends may-issue (requires arbitrary approval from law enforcement before one is issued a CCW) versus no-issue concealed carry (complete ban on CCW). Courts across the country are split on the subject of ‘may-issue.” Some judges have argued that may-issue fits within the purview of “reasonable limitations” while others argue that it is indeed an infringement on the Second Amendment. Until the Supreme Court opts to take up a case on the matter, one can expect that things will remain unresolved.