As the national debate over guns and control continues, a new appellate decision once again struck down the District of Columbia’s efforts to restrict (and make it as difficult as possible) for residents to carry a firearm.
Washington D.C’s Gun Law
In 2009, in its landmark decision of Heller vs. the District of Columbia, the United States Supreme Court held that the District’s complete prohibition on firearm ownership was unconstitutional and in violation of the Second Amendment. In response, the District created complex and arbitrary registration and permit systems that made it extremely cumbersome to obtain such permits for ownership, and even that much more difficult to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Critics argue that the so-called “good cause” requirement is nothing more than an arbitrary standard used to deny virtually every applicant a carry permit regardless of the need they demonstrate.
In a detailed opinion, a U.S. District judge recently held that the District’s new permitting system was unconstitutional, taking issue with arbitrary and vague “good cause” requirement for the issuance of such carry permits and the uncertainty it creates. The debate versus a “shall issue” permitting (mandating the issuance of carry permits to those that are of good moral character and without criminal records) versus “good cause” (the issuance of permits only when the applicant can demonstrate a supposed need or cause) has raged across the country since at least the 1980’s.
Supreme Court Involvement
With this latest decision, along with several similar cases pending before California’s 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the issue is likely to be decided by the United States Supreme Court in the next year or two. That is, does the Second Amendment require the issuance of carry permits simply to those with clean criminal records and otherwise meeting safety and handling standards, or can local municipalities continue to require applicants demonstrate “good cause” before any such permit will be issued? The United Stated Supreme Court will likely tell us in the near future.
Working with a Criminal Defense Attorney for Criminal Firearm Violations
A criminal defense attorney will help build your defense case to ensure protection from these consequences. They will be able to advise you on the legal system and provide premier criminal defense representation for you. At the Law Office of Peter Berlin we understand the difficulties that criminal firearm related charges can bring, and we know that without your freedom, nothing else matters.