Federal Judge Strikes Down Key Component of D.C.’s Anti-CCW Law, City Appeals Ruling

(Photo: Washington Times)

(Photo: Washington Times)

Beleaguered Washington, D.C., gun owners had reason to celebrate yesterday as a federal judge released a ruling that could make it easier to obtain a concealed carry permit.

Current D.C. law requires a resident to prove “good reason to fear injury” before being issued a permit. District Judge Richard Leon ruled yesterday that this requirement is unconstitutional, stating in his decision, “Because the right to bear arms includes the right to carry firearms for self-defense both in and outside the home, I find that the District’s ‘good reason’ requirement likely places an unconstitutional burden on this right.”

“In Heller, the Supreme Court unequivocally asserted that ‘the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table,’” Leon continued. “The District’s understandable, but overly zealous, desire to restrict the right to carry in public a firearm for self-defense to the smallest possible number of law-abiding, responsible citizens is exactly the type of policy choice the justices had in mind.”

The “good reason” provision barred most D.C. residents from carrying a firearm for self-defense. The Washington Free Beacon reports that the city of over 600,000 had only issued 62 carry permits as of March 9.

The city, according to the Beacon, has requested a stay on the ruling and plans to appeal the decision in court.

“We continue to believe our ‘good reason’ requirement for a concealed-carry permit is both constitutional and in line with similar laws in New Jersey, New York and Maryland – all of which have been upheld by federal appeals courts,” said D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine in a statement. “Just two months ago, another judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia declined to enjoin the District from enforcing the same requirement at issue in today’s ruling. We believe that the District’s gun laws are reasonable and necessary to ensure public safety in a dense urban area, and we will request a stay of this decision while we appeal.”

The suit against the city was brought by D.C. gun owner Matthew Grace and an LGTB gun rights group called the “Pink Pistols.”

“There’s an awful lot of instances where we get targeted by people who don’t like us, don’t like what we do, don’t like what we stand for, don’t like our politics,” Gwendolyn S. Patton, head of Pink Pistols International, told the Beacon. “They don’t think we have the right to go about our lives in a normal fashion and decide to harm us, to attack us, to hurt us, and, in many cases, to kill us. This is unacceptable to us so we advocate the use of the Second Amendment to protect ourselves from such things.”

If it stands, Judge Leon’s ruling could allow anyone to carry a concealed firearms who passes a background check and meets the training requirements.


About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

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  • Robert May 22, 2016, 3:08 pm

    The drug dealers in D.C. They seem to have very little trouble in killing anyone they feel like killing without attending a mandatory training course. So, non criminals must be finger printed at least 10 times during daytime hours so they miss work and go through a dreamed up marksmanship course while criminals seem to have little problem in killing as many people as they like without training and without shooting themselves in the pants. D.C. voters need to wake up. The cops think honest citizens are not as skillful with firearms as doped up criminals. So dope dealers are very successful without attending mandatory training. They also do not need to obtain a background check to purchase a weapon or ammunition.

  • Richard Schnedorf May 21, 2016, 12:20 am

    Washington, D.C., the crime capital of the nation with most of the criminals holding office in the Senate and House of Representatives, not to mention all the crazy transgender misfits wandering around. Time to take the country back from these
    misfits and weirdos who would restrict our liberties and enslave us. Vote the bastards out of office and “Make America Great Again.”

  • mike ehrig May 20, 2016, 10:22 pm

    just residing or working in washington d.c. is enough reason to show the need for a means of self defence.
    their radical laws and over liberal policies have made that one of the most dangerous areas in the u.s. to visit, work, reside or
    even think about passing through!

  • Jackhammer May 20, 2016, 12:42 pm

    And they just keep on wasting the People’s money in appeals!

  • Larry May 20, 2016, 12:39 pm

    Thank you Judge Leon for upholding the US Constitution as you took an oath to protect. Bet my leftist cop acquaintances are not very happy. They don’t understand that the truth will set them free.

  • USPatriotOne May 20, 2016, 11:54 am

    I hold a J.D. and we studies the 2nd Amendment in-depth in Law School, and based on the intent of the Founding Fathers in codifying the 2nd Amendment as it is written, clearly states that ALL U.S. Citizens, accept Criminals, are allowed to Carry a Firearm either Concealed or in the open…”Shall not be Infringed”..!!! The Language could not be more clear..!!! These States and Cities are violating the very letter of the Law under the Bill of Right, which again, codifies the 2nd Amendment as the Law of the Land..!!! What these States and Cities have done have committed nothing less than Treason against the U.S. Constitution and the American People and all involved should be held accountable for their criminal actions! Anf then there is another name for the action of these Cities, States and the Fed Gov…TYRANNY..!!! Our Founding Fathers would never have put up with the likes of the Criminals in our Gov today!

    • Jackhammer May 20, 2016, 12:43 pm


    • december May 20, 2016, 12:50 pm

      A J.D. and with the amount of misspellings and grammatical errors in your post? I pity the law school you went to and makes me wonder.

      We studies? I believe you mean we studied.
      accept Criminals? except Criminals

      While in general I understand your argument, such errors makes it hard to take your post seriously.

      • Notso May 21, 2016, 6:11 pm


    • Dan May 20, 2016, 12:58 pm

      Excellent response

    • Eddie May 20, 2016, 2:41 pm

      You didn’t study proper English it seems.

    • Jim May 20, 2016, 4:05 pm

      I must have missed that part in the 2nd Amendment where it says the right to bear arms, except in the case of criminals, shall not be infringed. BTW, it is the Bill of Rights, not the Bill of Right. There is more than one right covered in the Bill.

  • james coyne May 20, 2016, 11:42 am

    See, common sense and a fuller understanding of the intent of the 2nd Amendment will rule the day. If we stop the idiotic pattern of living in fear, of living in doubt, of paying too much attention to the media (left & right), then we realize that things aren’t as bad as others would have us believe. We are a fine and noble people, and if you have faith in our country, in our selves and in what America stands for, things will work out for the better.

  • Peter May 20, 2016, 9:39 am

    If D.C. loses their appeal and their ‘good reason’ requirement is struck down, expect exorbitantly high training requirements to obtain a CCW permit. Like 1000 hours and paying a $2000 training course defined by D.C. that will take them forever to codify.

    Then expect another lawsuit that training is not required for any other Enumerated Right.

  • Ram6 May 20, 2016, 9:07 am

    “If it stands, Judge Leon’s ruling could allow anyone to carry a concealed firearms who passes a background check and meets the training requirements.”

    As it should. There is no reason that the issuance of a permit to own a firearm which requires a background check should somehow not be enough to allow the owner to carry the firearm as they see fit. I, of course, believe the second amendment precludes any part of the state to restrict the rights to bear arms by the use of background checks, fingerprints, applications, training requirements, etc. None of this is can be applied to any criminal, but for some reason it appears reasonable to do it to those of us who are law abiding. How stupid!

  • Guitarcat May 20, 2016, 7:05 am

    Sounds like the D.C. bureaucrats automatically think that a CCW holder is dangerous. On the contrary, the gun carriers without a license are the dangerous ones, and the law abiding citizens are denied the right to defend themselves.

    • Charlee May 20, 2016, 12:24 pm

      While I agree with your obvious sentiments regarding people who should not be carrying a weapon because of their \”legal unfitness\”, please keep in mind that the way you put the rest of your statement, \”gun carriers \’without a license\’ are the dangerous ones\” would seem to leave out in the cold those of us who can and do make the choice to carry concealed without a permit due to the laws of our respective states that allow for this.

  • Alpine Rodeo May 20, 2016, 3:44 am

    Right clever Draino. 2A contains no limiter as to “need”. A ” right” requires only exercise. Let us keep it simple and uninfringed.

  • DRAINO May 19, 2016, 8:22 am

    LOL!!! You gotta love it!! Pink Pistols!!! ROFL!! …..that’s awesome! Seriously though, glad to hear they are standing up for their 2A rights….and in DC of all places. But shouldn’t the mere fact that you live in DC be a good enough “good reason to fear injury”???? It’s one of the most corrupt and crime ridden and lawless cities in America…..Not to mention the rest of the city outside the White House!! LOL!!!!!

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