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DC Circuit: Court Shoots Down Concealed Carry Restrictions

In Washington, DC, the right to carry a gun in public has been the center of much debate and controversy for several decades. However, over the last several years, DC has been faced with challenges to the safety restrictions imposed on gun ownership.

Just this week, one of those challenges was actually successful in dismantling a statute that made it illegal to carry a concealed weapon in the District without a permit. The permits would only be provided to individuals who could show a compelling need or a good reason for being allowed to carry a concealed handgun. For instance, carrying valuables or cash for work, being targeted for violence in the past, or needing to protect a vulnerable family member, all could potentially qualify a person for a permit.

Good Reason Not Good Enough

The concealed carry permitting restrictions in DC were deemed to be unconstitutional because they prevented ordinary, typical citizens from being able to obtain a permit. The special need for a gun for self-defense requirement was found to bar law-abiding citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights.

Curiously, while the majority opinion goes to great lengths to explain that a typical citizen would be barred from exercising their Second Amendment rights, it never really squares this away with the fact that the Second Amendment explicitly states that the right of the people to keep and bear arms is for the purposes of maintaining a "well organized militia." The court does provide plenty of other excuses for striking down the law, which the dissenting opinion finds unpersuasive, to say the least.

District Under Fire

Though some might not remember, it was just a couple decades ago when the number of murders in DC topped the number of American deaths in the first Iraq war. Crime has plagued our nation's capital for some time now. However, it is nearly indisputable that gun control laws help reduce the number of gun related deaths.

Now that the DC Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down the concealed carry ban, residents may be able to start carrying without a permit, almost anywhere except in government buildings and other places where firearms may be restricted. Additionally, private businesses, private schools, and private parties, can legally prohibit firearms on their premises as well.

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