Do I need to demonstrate to my chief of police “good cause” to exercise my right to free speech or freedom of religion?
Hell no! Then why the heck should anyone need to show “good cause” to exercise their right to keep and bear arms?
It’s a question that’s at the heart of the gun debate going on in our nation’s capital. This week, U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. scrapped D.C.’s “good cause” requirement for concealed carry. “Good cause” basically says that one needs to provide one’s local CLEO (Chief Law Enforcement Officer) with documentation to suggest that their life is in danger, e.g. restraining order, police reports of violent threat.
Judge Scullin, the same judge who overturned the District’s outright ban on concealed carry over a year ago, forcing the city council to adopt an issuing standard, wrote the following:
“This conclusion should not be read to suggest that it would be inappropriate for the District of Columbia to enact a licensing mechanism that includes appropriate time, place and manner restrictions on the carrying of handguns in public. The District of Columbia’s arbitrary ‘good reason’/’proper reason’ requirement, however, goes far beyond establishing such reasonable restrictions.”
“Rather, for all intents and purposes, this requirement makes it impossible for the overwhelming majority of law-abiding citizens to obtain licenses to carry handguns in public for self-defense, thereby depriving them of their Second Amendment right to bear arms.”
In a nutshell, “good cause” is unconstitutional. Hence the injunction which prevents D.C. police from trying to enforce the “good cause” mandate.
For the plaintiffs in the case, who were represented by the Second Amendment Foundation, it was a big win. And for the gun-grabbers who run D.C. it was a painful loss, as SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb noted in a press release.
“This is a devastating loss for the District and its anti-gun-rights policy,” said Gottlieb. “We’re delighted with the judge’s ruling, because once again, the court has thwarted the District’s blatantly obvious effort to discourage the exercise of Second Amendment rights by forcing permit applicants to jump through a series of hoops and then frustrate them by requiring an arbitrary ‘good reason’ for the exercise of a constitutionally-protected civil right.”
Gottlieb explained that attorneys for both sides were ordered to appear for a court conference on July 7 to “discuss an expedited schedule for the resolution of this case.”
“You can’t ask for more than that,” Gottlieb said.
As far as a ruling is concerned, Gottlieb is right on. You can’t ask for more than that. But as far as an outcome, well, let’s just say that this fight isn’t over yet. The D.C. attorney general may decide to appeal the ruling.
“We are reviewing the ruling; however, we believe that the law passed by the Council is constitutionally valid,” OAG spokesperson Robert Marus told the Washington Free Beacon.
Generally speaking, it would appear that the days of ‘may-issue’ concealed carry laws (those that require “good cause) are numbered. While they still exist in a number of states, counties in New York and California, for example, overwhelmingly the tide has shifted to ‘shall-issue’ laws that typically require just a background check, some number of firearms training and a fee. These laws pass Constitutional muster, whereas the may-issue laws are problematic for obvious reasons — as I pointed out at the outset of the article.
Hopefully the Supreme Court will finally render a judgment on this issue and put the matter to bed once and for all. But we’ll have to wait and see.