Washington, D.C. residents may no longer need to provide a “good cause” or “good reason” to carry a concealed firearm after a federal appeals court placed a block on the requirement this week.
In a 2-1 ruling, in the case of Wrenn v. District of Columbia, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia decided that requiring law-abiding citizens to provide a good cause to carry was tantamount to placing a ban on one’s right to keep and bear arms.
“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…,” wrote Judge Thomas Beall Griffith, a 2005 George W. Bush appointee.
“The District’s good-reason law is necessarily a total ban on exercises of that constitutional right for most D.C. residents. That’s enough to sink this law under (the 2008 U.S. Supreme Court’s Heller ruling),” Judge Griffith continued.
Under the District’s concealed carry law signed into effect back in 2014, permit applicants had to provide to the police chief a “good reason to fear injury to his or her person or property” or “any other proper reason for carrying a pistol.”
In other words, D.C. was treating the 2A like a privilege — not like a fundamental right. You had to not only seek permission but provide evidence that you were in danger before you were allowed to carry. And if the police chief didn’t accept your reason, well, then he or she could deny your application willy-nilly.
“Today’s ruling contains some powerful language that affirms what we have argued for many years, that requiring a so-called ‘good cause’ to exercise a constitutionally-protect right does not pass the legal smell test,” said the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb.
“We’re particularly pleased that the opinion makes it clear that the Second Amendment’s core generally covers carrying in public for self-defense,” Gottlieb added.
The SAF lead the charge to defeat this unconstitutional provision. This ruling is of particular importance because it really underscores that “good cause” is just a scheme to keep good guys from carrying guns.
“To read the majority opinion and not come away convinced that such ‘good reason’ or ‘good cause’ requirements are just clever ways to prevent honest citizens from exercising their rights is not possible,” Gottlieb stated.
“To say we are delighted with the ruling would be an understatement,” he continued “We are simply more encouraged to keep fighting, winning firearms freedom one lawsuit at a time.”
Meanwhile, D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine appears to be reeling from the ruling. In a statement, he reminded residents that the good cause requirement is still in effect as his office considers its next move, which may involve calling the case before the entire D.C. appeals court for an en banc review.
“The District of Columbia’s ‘good reason’ requirement for concealed-carry permits is a common-sense gun regulation, and four federal appeals courts have rejected challenges to similar laws in other states,” said Racine.
“As we consider seeking review of today’s 2-1 decision before the entire D.C. Circuit, the ‘good reason’ requirement remains in effect,” he continued. “The Office of Attorney General is committed to working with the Mayor and Council to continue fighting for common-sense gun rules.”
About the SAF
The Second Amendment Foundation (www.saf.org) is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.