Civil Liberties

Good DC Residents May Again (Legally) Carry Guns to Defend Themselves Against Criminals Who Always Did


Concealed Carry
spweber / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

After a long hiatus in respect for individual self-defense rights, Washington, D.C. will, once again, accept applications for permits to carry concealed pistols. This should put the honest residents of that unpleasant burg—at least, the ones who feared the old law enough to abide by it despite the capital city's impressive crime rate—on a more even footing with the two-legged predators who never gave a shit about the ban on concealed carry.

The statement from Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier is suitably grudging, coming as it does from from the chief enforcer in the federal government's nest:

Mayor Vincent C. Gray has signed emergency legislation, the "License to Carry a Pistol Emergency Amendment Act of 2014," passed by the Council of the District of Columbia in response to the ruling by the U.S. District Court in the case of Palmer v. District of Columbia.  This law maintains our commitment to keeping guns out of the wrong hands and ensures the safety of all within the District of Columbia, while fully respecting the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 

The law cures the alleged constitutional flaws in the District's licensing laws found by a U.S. District Court in the Palmer case.  The summary judgment ruling in that case was stayed until October 22, 2014, giving District officials time to issue regulations authorized by this legislation. Once these are issued, members of the public who meet the statute's criteria will be able to apply for a license to carry a pistol in the District. 

In the meantime, except as authorized for law enforcement, carrying a gun in public remains a criminal offense, and anyone found doing so will be subject to arrest.

The new regulations can be expected to be restrictive, burdensome, and applied with the sort of non-enthusiasm bureaucrats always bring to the job when forced to loosen, however slightly, the yoke on little people. They'll be a far cry from the generally red tape-free "Vermont Carry" that prevails in several states that don't require permits to put the means of self-defense in your pocket.

If the regulations are prohibitively burdensome, D.C. residents who consider the risk of going unarmed unacceptable will no doubt continue to practice what I like to call "East Village Carry" (after a neighborhood I prowled for several years). They'll put guns in their pockets anyway, gambling that the benefit outweighs the risk of being caught in violation of the city's laws.

Because that's what the predators have always done, no matter what the law says.