Federal Appeals Court Halts DC Gun Rights Ruling

Restrictive D.C. Gun Law Likely Unconstitutional

Guns / AP
May 27, 2016

A federal appeals court has halted a ruling by a lower court that declared unconstitutional part of the current concealed carry law in Washington, D.C.

Under current law in D.C., the police only issue concealed carry permits to individuals who demonstrate a ‘need’ to carry a weapon. D.C.'s "good reason" clause has restricted concealed carry permits from being issued for almost any reason in D.C.

A gay rights group, the Pink Pistols, is leading the effort to overturn the restrictive gun law. The group joined a resident in the case which overturned D.C.'s strict law before the stay.

The Washington Post reported that the ruling will "preserve the status quo."

A U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit panel voted 2 to 1 to grant an administrative stay while it considers whether to halt, pending appeal, a May 17 order by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon. In granting an injunction sought by the gun rights group Pink Pistols and District resident Matthew Grace, Leon ruled that the "may issue" gun regulation is probably unconstitutional because it infringes on the Second Amendment’s grant of a "core right of self-defense."

Attorneys for the D.C. government sought a stay to "preserve the status quo" while the courts grapple with a precedent-setting question of whether the right to bear arms extends outside the home — not just inside the home, as the U.S. Supreme Court decided in a 2008 case that struck down the District’s long-standing handgun ban.

The District also argued that a stay of Leon’s ruling would "preserve the integrity of the district court" and "respect" a March decision by another district court judge, Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. Kollar-Kotelly denied an identical request for an injunction against police enforcement of the "good reason" requirement in a similar case already on expedited appeal.