Federal judge rules D.C. 'good reason' gun carry law unconstitutional
Judge Frederick J. Scullin on Monday issued a preliminary injunction against the District of Columbia’s “good reason” concealed carry law, ruling it unconstitutional:
Scullin barred DC Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier from enforcing the city’s requirement that a person applying for a concealed carry permit must prove they have a “good reason” to need one. This requirement created a system where only those with police reports detailing violent threats against them could obtain a permit.
Critics said the requirement was the reason few permits had been issued thus far, and argued that it violates the Second Amendment.
The “good reason” clause was used to deny three men who wished to carry weapons in the District permits. The men—Joshua Akery, Tyler Whidby, and Brian Wrenn—joined with the Second Amendment Foundation to file suit against the city.
In Monday’s order, the court sided with the plaintiffs.
“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,” Judge Scullin said in his ruling. “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.”
Scullin ordered lawyers from both sides to meet on July 7 to “discuss an expedited schedule for the resolution of the case.” If the District chooses to fight the court’s ruling, Second Amendment Foundation executive vice president Alan Gottlieb said they will “move to hold them in contempt” and will take the case “all the way to the Supreme Court.”
This is Scullin’s second ruling against D.C.’s strict gun laws. In October 2014, he ruled that the city’s complete ban on gun carry was also unconstitutional.