D.C. AG Asks for En Banc Review of July Concealed Carry Case

By George Khoury, Esq. on August 30, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The controversial Second Amendment case that made headlines in July may be headed back to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Colombia for an en banc review. The district's attorney general has formally made a request for an en banc review of the decision holding the district's restrictions on issuing concealed carry permits unconstitutional.

The three judge panel that issued the ruling found that no level of scrutiny was even necessary to analyze the constitutionality of D.C.'s concealed carry restrictions. This conclusion was based upon their finding that the "good reason" requirement served to effectuate an outright ban on the issuance of permits.

Turning Tides En Banc

The three justice panel that issued the decision in July in Wrenn v. District of Columbia, notably, was comprised entirely of conservative appointees, which tend to favor more expansive gun rights. Two of the appointees, justices Henderson and Griffith, are appointees from the Bush presidents (Henderson by senior, and Griffith by junior), and Judge Williams is a Reagan appointee.

Pundits believe that the district will fare better with an en banc review as the court is nearly evenly split between republican and democratic appointees. AG Karl Racine believes the district's permitting scheme is constitutional as it is similar to the schemes set up by other cities across the country. However, the numbers are staggering: The Washington Free Beacon noted that for the 600,000 D.C. residents, only 126 concealed carry permits have been issued.

Gun rights advocacy groups have asserted the appeal is meritless. But if it is accepted for en banc review, a more balanced panel might see it differently.

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