Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Big Win In DC Today

In a case brought by the Pink Pistols, Judge Richard Leon of the US District Court for the District of Columbia issued a preliminary injunction against DC's "good reason" requirement for a carry permit. The case, Grace and Pink Pistols v. DC, seems to have kept under the radar until now.

The text of the decision is here.

Earlier this year, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly had rejected the arguments of the Second Amendment Foundation in Wrenn v. DC. That case had been sent back to the District Court after it was found that Judge Frederick Scullin of New York had not been properly appointed to hear the case.

With the NRA Annual Meeting opening on Friday, the National Rifle Association was quite thrilled by the result. They issued this press release:
NRA Responds to Significant Second Amendment Victory

Federal judge orders D.C. officials to stop enforcing provisions that bar most residents from carrying firearms

Fairfax, Va.— The National Rifle Association (NRA) today responded to an order issued by a federal judge in Grace and the Pink Pistols v. District of Columbia that instructed D.C. officials to stop enforcing provisions of the city’s code that barred most D.C. residents from carrying firearms for self-protection.

“Today’s order is a victory for Second Amendment rights and has real implications for the safety of law-abiding citizens,” said Chris Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action. “The Supreme Court has held that the Second Amendment protects the core right of self-defense in the home, but as the District Court today reaffirmed, that right is just as important to ordinary citizens commuting to work or shopping for groceries in an unsafe neighborhood.”

In the ruling issued today, Judge Richard J. Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia concluded that the district’s law is likely unconstitutional and that the plaintiffs who are challenging it in court would be severely harmed if the district were allowed to continue to enforce its ban while the lawsuit went forward. The judge held that the district’s “overly zealous . . . desire to restrict the right to carry in public a firearm for self-defense to the smallest possible number of law-abiding, responsible citizens” unconstitutionally flouted the Second Amendment.

In 2008, the Supreme Court struck down a D.C. law banning most citizens from possessing handguns at all, reasoning that such a ban was flatly inconsistent with the individual right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment. The district continued to enforce its ban on carrying firearms in public even after that ruling, however, and a federal district court struck that separate ban down in 2014. The district responded by enacting a new “licensing” scheme that only allowed its residents to carry firearms in public if they could show a specific, documented need for self-defense—for example, by proving that they had been attacked or were receiving death threats. The city issued a minuscule number of licenses, and the scheme had the practical effect of a full ban.

“Legislation that restricts the law-abiding does nothing to reduce crime and is unconstitutional. The NRA is glad that fact was recognized in federal court today,” concluded Cox.

The ruling prohibits law enforcement from enforcing the concealed carry ban temporarily while the constitutionality of the ban continues to be argued in court. The NRA will continue to support this suit financially.

Professor Eugene Volokh has his analysis of the case here.

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