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U.S. Court of Appeals Hearing Tests D.C. Gun Law

Updated on September 23, 2016

D.C.'s Gun Law Once Again is Reviewed by a Court

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held a hearing recently on District of Columbia laws that place severe restrictions on permits to carry concealed guns.

The laws require either a good reason to fear injury or a proper reason to carry a gun.

The three-judge panel is trying to decide whether the reason required under D.C. is too restrictive to be upheld under the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, which authorizes private citizens to carry weapons.

Fewer than 100 people were granted the permits after showing they faced personal threats or needed guns for their jobs to protect cash or property.

Lower federal courts have rendered different opinions on the constitutionality of the D.C. law.

Judge Thomas B. Griffith said that D.C.’s restrictions on gun permits mean women in dangerous neighborhoods could only run to protect themselves because they would be forbidden from being armed.

He called the argument of one city attorney’s who argued for the law absurd. He asked why someone should show a need for self-defense before they are authorized to carry a gun.

All three of the judges on the appellate court were appointed by Republicans.

The hearing revived a long-running battle that was supposed to come to an end eight years ago when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down D.C.’s ban on handguns.

Instead, the D.C. Council rewrote its law to place so many restrictions on gun permits that few residents could obtain them.

So far, 374 permits have been denied and 89 granted.

The case is being closely watched by other states. Nine states filed briefs supporting the D.C. law and its severe restrictions on concealed weapon permits. Sixteen states filed briefs opposing the law.

Maryland’s brief supported the law. Virginia did not file a brief.


Court Reviews D.C. Gun Ownership Restrictions

A federal court is reviewing the District of Columbia's authority to restrict gun ownership.
A federal court is reviewing the District of Columbia's authority to restrict gun ownership.

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