DC Circuit: No 2nd Amendment Right to Concealed Carry

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on June 13, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

DC will continue to enforce its concealed-carry gun law after the circuit stayed a lower federal judge's ruling that the local law was "likely unconstitutional." The city's law is another one of the local municipalities that requires a "good cause" (or "good reason") of those applicants when filing for a concealed carry permit.

Concealed carry seems to be fading in this country. Take note of the recent Ninth Circuit ruling.

"Good Cause" Backed up by Good Authority

The D.C. city law requiring applicants to have "good reason" or cause to obtain a license to carry in the public is similar in scope and in vitriolic controversy to similar laws in New Jersey, New York, Maryland, and California.

Recently, the Ninth Circuit held that the Second Amendment does not confer a constitutional right to concealed carry in the general public. That is to say, the ruling does not say that there is no such good-cause in existence, but skeptics feel that "good cause" is sky high.

Pink Pistols

The DC Circuit case started off partly with the socio-political movement of LGBT activists who are also staunch pro-Second Amendment types -- a political group that cuts against typical expectations to be sure. The group, "Pink Pistols," operates under the motto, "Pick on someone your own caliber." A recurrent theme within the group is that armed LGBT persons are safer LGBT persons as the LGBT community is more likely to be victimized because of hate-crimes.

But the recent decision by the DC Circuit renders the Pink Pistol's victory in district court nugatory. Gwen Patton, the leader of the Pink Pistols, had celebrated the lower victory not only as a win for gun-rights but also as a bit of free press for the cause. It's worth noting, however, that Pink Pistol member in the current case did not argue good cause based on sexual orientation -- but merely pushed that the local ordinance was fundamentally unconstitutional.

Guns for Some?

It's unclear if the case will move up the chain, but it already raises interesting legal issues. What if the Pink Pistols had pushed for good cause based on a member of class? Can a person of a particular class be granted a concealed carry licensed based on his or her sexual orientation? Is being gay or trans "good cause"? What about being Jewish, Muslim, or foreign?

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