Leading gun rights groups say Washington, D.C.'s issuance of a limited number of gun carry permits has not lessened their objections to the city's law.
Though the Metropolitan Police Department has approved a handful of applicants to carry firearms in the city, gun rights organizations continue to argue that the permitting process is too restrictive. The groups slammed the District of Columbia's actions as defying a federal judge's order as well as the Constitution.
"Eight whole permits!" Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) president Philip Van Cleave said. "D.C.’s permitting system is a bad joke and does not even come close to what the judge ordered them to do. Hopefully the courts will force D.C. to follow the Constitution, as opposed to acting like a third world dictatorship."
A spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association (NRA) echoed Van Cleave.
"The NRA fundamentally disagrees with the District of Columbia’s discretionary permitting process," National Rifle Association spokeswoman Jennifer Baker said. "The fact that the D.C. government decides who has the ‘need' to carry a firearm denies many law abiding citizens their Second Amendment right to carry for self-protection."
The Second Amendment Foundation, whose legal actions forced the city to loosen its gun restrictions, also slammed the District's issuing of so few permits.
"The fact that Washington, D.C., has now issued a handful of permits does not put them in compliance with the federal court order," Second Amendment Foundation founder Alan Gottlieb said. "For all practical purposes it amounts to almost zero percent of the population."
"I'm glad they issued a few permits but they're surely not going along with the spirit of the order."
In July, after a five-year legal battle between D.C. and the Second Amendment Foundation, a federal judge ruled the city's previous outright ban on the carry of firearms was unconstitutional. The ruling prompted the city to pass a law creating a concealed carry permitting process. That law was immediately met with harsh criticism from leading gun rights groups and the Second Amendment Foundation asked the federal judge who decided the original case to hold the city in contempt of court.
"As far as we are concerned they are in contempt of court," Gottlieb said.
The city has filed an appeal to the original ruling, and the judge has yet to rule on whether or not to hold the city in contempt of court. While the current legal action is stalled, Gottlieb said his foundation is open to filing new cases for those the city has decided not to issue a concealed carry permit to.
"We are also more than willing to file suit on behalf of those who were wrongfully denied a permit," he said.