Federal Appeals Court to Hear Challenge to District of Columbia’s Gun Law

U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

On September 20, 2016, a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will take up two cases involving the District’s law that places a hurdle for those gun owners seeking to obtain a concealed carry license to carry a handgun outside the home.

The law requires people who want to carry a gun in public to show a “good reason to fear injury” or another “proper reason” to carry the weapon, such as a personal threat, or a job that requires a person to carry or protect cash or valuables. Lower court judges within the district have disagreed on whether the law is constitutional, so the matter will be decided by the appeals court.

Last March, in one of the cases, U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly sided with the city and declined to issue a preliminary injunction halting the enforcement of the law requiring a “good reason” or “proper reason” for anyone who wants to carry a gun in public.

Then in May, ruling in a different dispute, U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon said the law “likely places an unconstitutional burden” on citizens’ right to bear arms. He suspended enforcement of the “good reason” or “proper reason” part of the law, but his ruling was put on hold by the appeals court now hearing the case. As a result, the city has continued to enforce the law.

It is interesting to note Kollar-Kotelly was nominated by a Democrat, President Bill Clinton, and Leon by a Republican, President George W. Bush.

The three judges hearing the challenge were all nominated by Republican presidents.

We will keep you posted as the case progresses.

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