DC Looks To Appeal Court Ruling That Its Gun Law Is Unconstitutional

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City Council members and the mayor of the District of Columbia may appeal a federal court order Monday that called the district’s gun permitting process unconstitutional.

A U.S. district judge placed a hold on the D.C. law that requires residents to have an explicit reason why they need to carry a gun and show an immediate threat to their safety. The judge said the law violates the Second Amendment.

Councilman Kenyan McDuffie said he was disappointed in the court’s decision to block the law, and he believes the city’s handgun law is constitutional.

“Furthermore, courts have upheld laws substantially similar to ours,” McDuffie said in a statement. “I will be discussing the matter with the Mayor as well as the Attorney General to determine next steps.”

McDuffie was referring to federal courts in New York and New Jersey that, in recent years, upheld similar permitting systems that require applicants to show cause for wanting a handgun.

D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser told The Washington Post people in her office are looking at their legal options and she would fight to keep the city’s strict gun laws.

“Today, D.C. is safer than it has been in years, and we will not retreat from that progress,” she told the Post.

U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. blocked the law after gun rights advocates brought a lawsuit against the city claiming the law makes it almost impossible for residents to obtain the permit to carry a gun. They say the law sometimes takes months to complete.

“For all intents and purposes, this requirement makes it impossible for the overwhelming majority of law-abiding citizens to obtain licenses to carry handguns in public for self-defense, thereby depriving them of their Second Amendment right to bear arms,” Judge Scullin wrote within his 23-page opinion.

Last July, a federal court declared D.C.’s law banning handguns in public unconstitutional. D.C.’s attorney general had been fighting the ban since April, but dropped the appeal to instead focus on defending the current law.

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