Update: Challenge to D.C.’s Concealed-Carry Gun Law

On Monday, March 7th, a federal judge sided with the District of Columbia in an ongoing dispute over the city’s concealed-carry gun law, ruling that the city can continue to enforce it while a lawsuit proceeds.

At issue is whether D.C. can require an applicant for a permit to carry a concealed handgun in public to show a “good reason to fear injury to his or her person or property or has any other proper reason for carrying” the weapon.

In denying a motion for a preliminary injunction, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia concluded that those who are challenging the law had not shown that their lawsuit was likely to be successful or that an injunction against D.C.’s gun law would be in the public interest, particularly in such a densely populated area as Washington, D.C..

In her 31-page ruling, Judge Kollar-Kotelly noted that appeals courts in other parts of the country had approved of laws in New York, New Jersey and Maryland that are similar to the D.C. law being challenged.

Opponents of the law in question were initially granted a preliminary injunction by another judge in May 2015. However, that ruling was appealed, and the appeals court concluded that the judge — a visiting judge from New York — didn’t have the authority to decide the case because it went beyond the bounds of his temporary assignment.  Judge Kollar-Kotelly was then assigned to the case and reconsidered the request for preliminary relief.

The decision on Monday has been appealed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

To ultimately prevail in this lawsuit, D.C. will have to demonstrate that the law in question is designed to promote a substantial governmental interest and that the city acted reasonably in determining that the regulations would in fact accomplish those interests.

The case is Brian Wrenn, et al. vs. District of Columbia, et al., Civil Action No. 15-162.

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