Huge 2A Victory! D.C. Residents No Longer Need ‘Good Cause’ to Carry Concealed

(Photo: NRA-ILA)

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 ( 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.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Tom Smith July 28, 2017, 12:43 pm

    Don’t get your hopes up too high, boys and girls. This 2-1 decision had 3 Circuit judges appointed by Reagan and a Bush. And one of them dissented. Also, the ruling is stayed in effectiveness pending potential petition for and decision in an en banc appeal to the entire DC Circuit Court. That court, with 8 years of Obama appointments, including some judges steeped in the social justice and anti-liberty ideology of the Left, is anybody’s guess as to outcome, but my own is this ruling will not stand.

  • A.D. Roberts July 28, 2017, 10:28 am

    You don’t know bureaucrats very well. So we have a ruling forbidding them from restricting our 2A rights. All that will happen now is they will go about their business as slow as possible and effectively STILL prevent people from their rights. No, this will take CIVIL action of a lawsuit to force them to do their job or lose MASSIVE amounts of money personally. That is right. Make a law that prevents them from being protected by any law that prevents suit against an illegal action by those bureaucrats.
    It is called ACCOUNTABILITY. And until such time as you can HURT the individual, they have NO reason to obey any judge.

    • Edodaniel July 6, 2018, 6:49 am

      A. D. Roberts is quite correct. Until the individual can be held liable for their actions political personages will continue to push unconstitutional laws upon the public because, when caught out, there are no consequences.

      Personally I believe Congress should pass a Federal Law making all elected or appointed persons fully and legally responsible for their words and deeds. Currently even Congress critters are protected from legal action regardless of what they say or propose in Congress. This is for a good reason BUT the law protecting them needs to be amended to allow prosecution if their words or proposals are possibly (not even probably, just possibly) counter to what the Constitution authorizes Congress to act upon. ANY form of gun control for instance is an infringement of citizens rights. ANY law restricting free speech or religious practice is unconstitutional because the Bill of Rights spells out specific areas that the founders did not want government meddling in. The Bill if Rights is there because the Constitution Ratification Conventions all indicated they would not ratify unless those specific areas they were greatly concerned about were specifically spelled out and added to the Constitution. They were concerned because each and every area covered by the initial ten amendments were areas that King George had abused in his efforts to constrain and control the colonists.

  • CharlieKing1 July 28, 2017, 9:59 am

    Even if this AG Racine gets his en-banc review from the entire court, and even if the court rules in favor for allowing the DC citizens to carry, the DC town fathers will still thumb their nose at the entire ruling and continue to do business as usual. How do these people get away with ignoring the rulings of a court? I’m still scratching my head over the Hawaii Fed District Judge that is correcting the SCOTUS ruling on Pres. Trump’s EO Travel Ban… such arrogance!

  • William Imre July 28, 2017, 9:33 am

    What about New Jersey ?? We are discriminated against the second amendment when it regards concealed carry, magazine capacity, rifle butt type, and manny other nonsense. The Second Amendment should be the law of the land, and not controlled by stupid politicians. As for citizens agains guns ? very simple DON’T HAVE ONE, but don’t tell me I can’t have guns.

    • TXSteve July 29, 2017, 11:14 am

      Many of those that are griping about the gun restriction is against Gun Control. I mean Gun Control against non-US Citizens and ex-felons and idiots from owning and have a firearm in their possession. Washington, D C is listed as a high crime area, because the crooks know law abiding citizens do not have a firarms. Sadly DC has a stupid law that ALL homeowners Must register their firearms kept in the home, and have to pay for the permit. Law abiding US Citizens and the NRA must work together to get a National Conceal Carry Test and qualifications that could be accepted in ALL US States, just like a driver license. And agree that ALL persons that violate the Conceal Firearm Laws and other who unlawful use and have a firearm in their possession will receive a stiff penalty.

  • Mark Are July 28, 2017, 8:37 am

    Now if we can only get the courts to realize that the assault on the RIGHT to keep and bear arms goes far beyond that. As a matter of fact, I’ve put together a new version of the 2nd amendment as it is followed these days.

    The NEW Second Amendment of the amended US Bill of Rights… (sorry, we no longer follow “proper procedure” for amending these pain in the rear listed rights)
    A well regulated militia being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed EXCEPT:
    You are buying the firearms for yourself.
    EXCEPT: you are under indictment or information for a felony for which the judge could imprison you for more then one year.
    EXCEPT: you have been convicted of a felony or any other crime for which the judge could have imprisoned you for more then one year, even if you received a shorter sentence including probation.
    EXCEPT: you are a fugitive from “justice”
    EXCEPT: you are an “unlawful” user of or addicted to marijuana or any depressant,stimulant, narcotic drug or any other controlled substance.
    EXCEPT: you have ever been “adjudicated” mentally defective or you have ever been committed to a mental institution.
    EXCEPT: you were dishonorably discharged from the armed forces.
    EXCEPT: you are subject to a restraining order restraining you from harassing, stalking or threatening your child or an intimate partner or child of such partner.
    EXCEPT: you have been convicted in a court of a MISDEMEANOR crime of domestic violence.
    EXCEPT: you have ever renounced your “United States” citizenship
    EXCEPT: you are an illegal alien
    EXCEPT: the firearm fires more then one round with the pull of the trigger
    EXCEPT: the firearms doesn’t have a vertical grip attached if it is a pistol
    EXCEPT: the barrel on a shotgun is not shorter then 18″
    EXCEPT: for sound suppressors
    EXCEPT: the rifle has a barrel no shorter then 16″. (It used to be 18″, but we accidentally sold some 16″ carbines to the public so we had to fix this and so we shortened the length to 16″ to cover our screw up.)
    EXCEPT: if it is a pistol there is no shoulder stock attached.
    EXCEPT: you carry it concealed, with a permit, which of course we issue and charge you for.
    EXCEPT: it has a magazine that can contain more then 10 rounds
    EXCEPT: the magazine is removable
    EXCEPT: it is black and looks scary
    EXCEPT EXCEPT EXCEPT…stay tuned for updated version. We the psychopaths who own you have now concluded that this new 2nd amendment is in force and effect and that you have no rights guaranteed by ANYTHING UNLESS you are in the “big club” which of course you are NOT. So screw your rights. We are in control of your television set, your phone, your computer, your air, your water and especially your pretend rights. Oh, and by the way, just in case you are wondering…we have ENFORCERS for this who are willing to shoot your children in the back, your wife in the head, burn down your church with 17 children inside just in case you think we are kidding.
    One other thing…none of these exceptions apply to us. We are allowed to have whatever we want to kill you and maim you any time we want for whatever excuse we want. Just take a look at some of the wonderful things WE get to have by looking up Dillon Aero on YouTube.

    • TXSteve July 29, 2017, 12:32 pm

      Most of your ideas are wonderful, and some would shut down any efforts to develop a common since USA Conceal Handgun License. And I am quite sure that many of the Americans Citizens, regardless of the 2nd Amendment it did NOT include all idiots and the US had the rights to exclude unlawful persons from owning and carry firearms. Again, let’s get all the Gun Clubs and the NRA and petition for a National Gun Permit.

  • DIYinSTL July 28, 2017, 8:22 am

    I don’t understand where D.C. gets the authority to create these repressive laws in the first place. Article one, section 8 (Powers of Congress) of the U.S. Constitution states:
    “To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States …”
    There is nothing in the Constitution about delegating the authority and obligation “To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever” to a city council.

    • Mark Are July 28, 2017, 8:45 am

      The don’t have the authority. HOWEVER, they also DON’T pay any attention to that pesky Constitution anymore either. They haven’t for about 150 years. We are a functional COMMUNIST nation. All you have to do is read the 10 planks and you can see them in force and effect here in the good ol’ USA. OR should I say…USSA.
      And no, I don’t like it and no, I’m not leaving. I want to leave this existence knowing I made an effort to make this a better place for my four sons.

  • redmanrt July 28, 2017, 6:52 am

    ““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.”

    Now on to CA, MD, NJ, NY, MA, and even HI.

  • NavyVet1959 July 28, 2017, 4:15 am

    A District Attorney who wants to fight to restrict the Constitutional Rights of his citizens. For some reason, I thought that their job description was to *uphold* the Constitution. He should be drawn and quartered.

    • kolt1911 July 28, 2017, 8:03 am

      Drawn and quartered AFTER being tarred and feathered.

    • Mark Are July 28, 2017, 8:46 am

      Naaaa….let’s make him drink hemlock on a national reality TV show.

  • Robert Smith July 26, 2017, 10:32 pm

    Nearly ten years after Heller, most DC residents still can’t even legally buy and own a gun, let alone carry. Congress needs to step in and take away the DC City Council’s authority to regulate firearms.

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