The people in Washington D.C. – one of the hotbeds in the United States for failed gun control measures – were recently given an exciting victory for their Second Amendment rights. In July, a federal appellate court struck down a law known as the “good reason” law which made it incredibly difficult for anyone living in D.C. to acquire a concealed carry permit.
Under the “good reason” law, citizens of Washington D.C. had to demonstrate that they had a “good reason” for needing a concealed carry permit, such as carrying around large amounts of cash or being a public figure that may make them a target of violence.
For the average person wanting to protect themselves and their family against threats they may face regardless of how much cash they carry or how famous they are, concealed carry permits could not be acquired. In fact, one estimate showed that the D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) denied upwards of 80% of concealed carry application in D.C.
In July of this year, though, The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that this law was in violation of the Second Amendment, saying ““The individual right to carry common firearms beyond the home for self-defense—even in densely populated areas, even for those lacking special self-defense needs—falls within the core of the Second Amendment’s protections.” The “good reason” law completely prohibited most residents from exercising this right at all, and unique status or not, Second Amendment protections “don’t give out inside the Beltway.”
After the District unsuccessfully applied for a rehearing of the case in October, D.C. began issuing concealed carry permits without the shackle of the “good reason” law – and it seems as if citizens in D.C. are taking full advantage of their newfound rights. Last year, over a three month period of September, October, and November, there were only three National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) checks done in relation to permits in D.C.. Now, though, in October of this year alone, there have been 145.
While this change in the law and the surge in armed citizens that followed it is certainly a victory for citizens living in Washington D.C., there is still a lot of work to be done. In spite of the “good reason” law being struck down, there are still plenty of regulations that discourage people in D.C. from obtaining a concealed carry permit. Applicants are required to have at least 16 hours of training from an MPD-certified firearms training instructor, at least two hours of range training, and must pay a $75 fee (or a $110 fee if the applicant’s fingerprints are not on file with the MPD).
Even the MPD’s tipsheet on crime prevention and personal safety seems to be at odds with concealed carry permit holders, saying ““[n]ever carry a firearm, knife, or other illegal weapon. A weapon will definitely escalate the situation, and it could ultimately be used to harm innocent people or yourself.”
Nevertheless, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit striking down the “good reason” law is certainly a huge step in the right direction for Second Amendment rights in D.C. – and the District is no doubt a safer place for it. In their argument in favor of the “good reason” law, the District argued that having armed citizens in D.C. would make the District less safe due to the unique number of high profile locations and individuals in the area. Yet crime committed by concealed carry permit holders across the country is all but nonexistent, rendering this argument entirely invalid.
If there’s anything we’ve learned over the course of seeing one criminal after another stopped by an armed, law-abiding citizen, it’s that the only answer for bad guys with guns is good guys with guns. Now, citizens in Washington D.C. can rest a little easier knowing that they are able to defend themselves and the ones they care about most without the government denying them that right by telling them their concerns are not valid enough.
~ American Gun News