Washington DC City Council Votes to Legalize Concealed Carry… Kind Of… Not Really…

September 24 2014
by GSL Staff
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As we suspected last week an extremely strict set of laws governing the issue of concealed carry permits in Washington DC was passed unanimously by the city council yesterday.

The move is meant to put DC in compliance with a ruling in the Palmer v DC court case which states that having absolutely no way for citizens to carry firearms outside of their home is unconstitutional.

While it may sound like a win for gun rights, think again.

The law that was passed is extremely restrictive, is “may issue” (which means virtually no “normal” citizens will be getting permits anytime soon) and has some really weird provisions.

According to WJLA,

Several city lawmakers said they would prefer to maintain a total ban on concealed weapons, making clear that they were only voting for the bill to comply with the court ruling. The District could still appeal the decision. Democratic Council Chairman Phil Mendelson cautioned, however, that there are no remaining jurisdictions in the United States with a total ban on concealed handguns.

“I don’t believe in guns. I don’t believe in carrying guns,” said Councilmember Marion Barry, a Democrat and a former four-term mayor. “I think the public ought to understand that all of us here are doing something we really don’t want to do.”

The District would join a handful of states that require residents to show a reason why they need a concealed-carry permit. The bill was modeled after similar laws in Maryland, New Jersey and New York that have withstood court challenges.

Applicants will have to demonstrate a “need” for a permit. General self defense will likely not be considered a “need”.

Other “may issue” provisions have been challenged in court with various courts ruling differently on the matter. It is thought that the Supreme Court will have to take up the matter before it is finally settled.

Earlier this year the SCOTUS declined to hear a “may issue” challenge out of New Jersey, which also has a very strict “may issue” permitting process (virtually no ordinary citizens are granted permits there).

One of the weirdest provisions of the new law is a moving 1,000ft NO CARRY zone around dignitaries, including presidential motorcades and political events.

Sounds like a lot of fun to try and stay in compliance of that one. A carrier would get one warning before being arrested under this provision though. Gee. Thanks.

It sounds like there won’t be any reciprocity with other state’s permits, but permit holders from other states will be able to apply for a non-resident DC carry permit (good luck on that one).

Earlier this year following the DC court decision, for about 48 hours Washington DC was essentially a constitutional carry district. That is to say, no permit was needed to carry and police were not making arrests for the carry of firearms. Activists posted photos and videos of themselves carrying our nation’s capital.

However, a 90 stay was quickly granted in the case to allow DC authorities to come up with a permitting process to comply with the court decision.

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