A gun rights group filed suit last week against Washington, D.C., over the restrictive nature of the district’s gun carry permit application process.
The group responsible for the suit, the Second Amendment Foundation, was a plaintiff in the case which saw the district’s ban on gun carry declared unconstitutional. It claims that the carry law the city passed in response to the last court ruling is also unconstitutional.
"We did it because, basically, the city isn’t handing out any permits," said Alan Gottlieb, the group's founder and executive vice president. He singled out the restrictive may-issue nature of the law, which allows Cathy Lanier, D.C.’s chief of police, to have final say over which applicants get a permit. He called the statute "ridiculous."
Though the city has issued a handful of permits, the gun rights group does not believe it has complied with the judge’s original ruling or the constitution.
"The city’s requirements to obtain a carry permit are so restrictive in nature as to be prohibitive to virtually all applicants," he said in a press release. "It’s rather like a ‘Catch 22,’ in which you can apply all day long, but no reason is sufficiently good enough for Chief Lanier to issue a permit."
"Because of that the city has set the bar so high that it relegates a fundamental civil right to the status of a heavily-regulated government privilege," the press release said. "That is not only wrong, it also does not live up to previous court rulings."
"Law-abiding citizens who clear background checks and are allowed to have handguns in their homes are being unnecessarily burdened with the additional requirement of proving some special need."
Asked why the group delayed filing suit until last week, Gottlieb said that they were simply waiting "until we had some plaintiffs."
They had previously expressed interest in suing the city on behalf of those denied for permits. Now they are following through.
The filing includes three individual plaintiffs in addition to the Second Amendment foundation. "They’re all people who’ve been issued permits in other states but denied in D.C.," Gottlieb said. He added that each of the plaintiffs had passed criminal background checks.
Rob Marus, the director of communications at the office of D.C.’s attorney general, said his office couldn’t comment beyond affirming that the attorney general’s "job is to defend the duly enacted laws of the district and we’ll do that in this situation."
The Metropolitan Police said they were "unable to comment on pending litigation," and Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office did not respond to requests for comment.
The case has drawn the same judge as the foundation’s first challenge.