The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

Volokh Conspiracy

D.C. government won't appeal concealed-carry rights case to the Supreme Court


Handguns are displayed at ABQ Guns in Albuquerque, N.M., on Sept. 1, 2016. (Sergio Flores/Bloomberg)

The Post (Peter Jamison andAnn E. Marimow) reports that the District will not ask the Supreme Court to revive its restrictions on gun carrying.

A three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit had held, by a 2-1 vote, that the Second Amendment secures the right of law-abiding adults to carry guns in public, though potentially subject to various regulations (including restrictions on carrying them into government buildings and similar locations) and nondiscretionary licensing requirements. The D.C. Circuit then declined to rehear the case before the entire court.

The District's rules, which basically made such licenses unavailable, were thus struck down; the D.C. Circuit's decision agreed with the 7th Circuit's and Illinois Supreme Court's decisions striking down Illinois' restrictions on concealed carry but disagreed with other decisions upholding New York, New Jersey and Maryland gun-carry restrictions (and possibly the decision upholding the California and Hawaii restrictions, though that decision was more complicated). Washington had the opportunity to ask the Supreme Court to hear the case, and I expect the court would have done so, but District officials, worried about a loss at the Court, decided to abide by the panel decision.

"I continue to believe the District's 'good reason' requirement is a common-sense, and constitutional, gun regulation," D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine (D) said in a statement announcing the decision with the mayor and police chief. "However, we must reckon with the fact that an adverse decision by the Supreme Court could have wide-ranging negative effects not just on District residents, but on the country as a whole."