DC Circuit Tosses DC's Concealed Carry Ban

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One of the scams that have been developed by anti-Second Amendment Democrats (but I repeat myself) to limit your right to, as that very old document says, “keep and bear arms,” is to attach b.s. restrictions to the exercise of your right which ostensibly are “common sense” but, in reality, serve to make the “right” so limited as to be non-existent. One of those is the “good cause” rule on the issuance of concealed carry permits. I’m a Maryland resident. While Maryland technically permits concealed carry, in reality, it doesn’t. I have to submit an application to my county sheriff:


Has a good and substantial reason [the bold is from the state’s website] to wear, carry, or transport a handgun, such as finding that the permit is necessary as a reasonable precaution against danger.

Unless, of course, I’m a retired police officer and then I get to exercise my right.

The rub is that the sheriff won’t issue the permit and there is really no appeal of that decision.

The District of Columbia is famously hostile to guns unless they are in the hands of the security details of political figures and it has had a lot of bad luck. Back in 1976, the District outlawed handguns and made the ownership of long guns onerous. That law finally fell in the 2008 case, Heller vs. District of Columbia, in which the Supreme Court confirmed that the Constitution applies even in left-wing sh**holes like DC and that it is also written in English and should be read in that language. Naturally, the DC City Council went back to the drawing board and created another law that was struck down in 2014 (Palmer vs. District of Columbia).

Undeterred, another law was passed, this one containing a Rube Goldberg device of competing tests and criteria, this from DC’s website:

Additionally, the Firearms Control Act requires applicants to explain their need for a Concealed Carry Pistol License by demonstrating either a good reason to fear injury to themselves or their property, or any other proper reason. The fact that an applicant lives or works in a high crime area, in and of itself, is not a sufficient reason for the issuance of a Concealed Carry Pistol License. Applicants must demonstrate their basis for requesting a Concealed Carry Permit by submitting a personal statement or supporting documentation or a notarized statement from a third party. Please review the Instructions for Applying for a Concealed Carry License for additional information on these requirements. Further, all fees associated with the processing of applications for a Conceal Carry Pistol License are non-refundable, regardless of final determination.


This law was challenged in 2016 by two different defendants and they went one-and-one in the trial court. The DC circuit accepted the case and here we are.

Today, in a 2-1 decision, the DC Circuit affirmed that the right to carry a weapon outside the home must be made available to the average citizen:

So if Heller I dictates a certain treatment of “total bans” on Second Amendment rights, that treatment must apply to total bans on carrying (or possession) by ordinarily situated individuals covered by the Amendment.

This point brings into focus the legally decisive fact: the good-reason law is necessarily a total ban on most D.C. residents’ right to carry a gun in the face of ordinary self-defense needs, where these residents are no more dangerous with a gun than the next law-abiding citizen.

We say “necessarily” because the law destroys the ordinarily situated citizen’s right to bear arms not as a side effect of applying other, reasonable regulations (like those upheld in Heller II and Heller III), but by design: it looks precisely for needs “distinguishable” from those of the community.

So we needn’t pause to apply tiers of scrutiny, as if strong enough showings of public benefits could save this destruction of so many commonly situated D.C. residents’ constitutional right to bear common arms for self-defense in any fashion at all.

Bans on the ability of most citizens to exercise an enumerated right would have to flunk any judicial test that was appropriately written and applied, so we strike down the District’s law here apart from any particular balancing test.

We are bound to leave the District as much space to regulate as the Constitution allows—but no more. Just so, our opinion does little more than trace the boundaries laid in 1791 and flagged in Heller I. And the resulting decision rests on a rule so narrow that good-reason laws seem almost uniquely designed to defy it: that the law-abiding citizen’s right to bear common arms must enable the typical citizen to carry a gun.


There is little doubt that the losers here will ask for the full court to rehear the case but for the time being there is just a little more freedom in DC.


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