Washington, D.C. residents, you don’t have to holster your Second Amendment rights anymore. Unfortunately, residents of many other states like California don’t have the same ability that D.C. residents now do to protect themselves.
In a stirring victory for those who live in the national’s capital, a panel of the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals recently threw out a D.C. ordinance that denied concealed-carry permits to anyone who could not show a “special” need for self-defense, what is referred to as a “good reason” requirement. The problem is that other courts of appeal have upheld such restrictive laws and the U.S. Supreme Court has turned down appeals of those decisions, refusing to take up the issue of the Second Amendment’s application to carrying a weapon outside of the home.
This happened most recently at the very end of the Supreme Court’s 2017 term in June when it refused to take up Peruta v. California, an appeal of a decision of the Ninth Circuit upholding California’s good reason requirement.
In a scathing dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas (joined by Neil Gorsuch) castigated the other justices for treating the Second Amendment “as a disfavored right.” He said it was long-past time for the Court to decide this issue and that he found it “extremely improbable that the Framers understood the Second Amendment to protect little more than carrying a gun from the bedroom to the kitchen.”
In the opinion over the District of Columbia’s concealed carry law written by Judge Thomas Griffith of the D.C. Circuit, Griffith pointed out that the U.S. Supreme Court’s first “in-depth examination of the Second Amendment” occurred in 2008 in District of Columbia v. Heller, where the Court threw out D.C.’s complete ban on handguns as unconstitutional.
That decision is “younger than the first iPhone.” The Supreme Court did not outline how the Second Amendment applies to the carrying of a weapon in public, but as Griffith says, Heller reveals “the Second Amendment erects some absolute barriers than no gun law may breach.”