Circuit Court Issues Stay on Lower Court’s D.C. Gun Carry Ruling

Stay allows controversial ‘good reason’ clause to go back into effect

• June 15, 2015 2:55 pm


The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an emergency administrative stay of a ruling against the current gun carry law in Washington, D.C., on Friday.

The stay allows the city to continue enforcing the "good reason" clause contained within the law while the court considers whether or not to grant a long-term stay covering the length of city’s appeal.

The "good reason" clause, which was ruled unconstitutional by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on May 18, lets D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier decide whether applicants have a good reason to carry a firearm. The city has said it does not consider high crime rates or a general desire for self-defense applicable reasons under their law.

The Circuit Court made clear in its order that the stay did not constitute a judgment on the merits of the case against the city’s law or a sign of whether or not it might grant a long term stay on the District Court’s ruling. "The purpose of this administrative stay is to give the court sufficient opportunity to consider the merits of the motion for stay and should not be construed in any way as a ruling on the merits of that motion," the order said.

The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), which brought the case against the city, said that the order comes as no surprise and that they do not consider it a significant setback.

"It is absolutely not a surprise and not a big deal, except that considering the District’s lackadaisical approach to the appeal it was undeserved," said Alan Gottlieb, the group’s founder. "This stay is only temporary."

However, Gottlieb said he was unsure what the city would do with the applicants who have received preliminary permit approvals. When asked whether the city would comply with the District Court’s May 18 ruling eliminating the "good reason" clause and whether they would be issuing more permits under that framework, Robert  Marus, communications director for the D.C. attorney general’s office, described the question as a "moot point" in light of the new order. Marus said a full statement from the office on the stay would be coming at a later date.

The circuit court also ordered the plaintiffs to file their arguments in the next phase of the appeal process by June 18 and the city to do the same by June 22.

Published under: Gun Control, Washington