Tuesday, October 07, 2014

DC: Virtual "No Carry" Law goes to Judge Scullin on 17 October

Alan Gura

The District of Columbia recently passed an emergency measure to allow for the issuance of concealed carry permits within the District.   The measure is one of the most restrictive in the nation, combining the most restrictive features of existing state law along with a couple of new wrinkles.   The Washington Post has graciously posted a copy of the law online.   The law is only valid for 90 days, to meet Judge Scullin's order.   The council has already stated that it intends to revisit the law after that time, apparently to make it more onerous.  From the Washington Post:
The council debated a amendment to the emergency bill — from David Grosso (I-At Large) — that would require that the names of those licensed to carry arms be disclosed in a public database. But Grosso withdrew the proposal at Mendelson’s request, saying he would seek to have the provision included in a permanent bill.
Alan Gura has said that he will be taking the matter up with Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr.   A hearing is scheduled for October 17th.
“The court instructed the city to treat the carrying of handguns as a right rooted in the constitutional interest in self-defense,” he said. “It’s not much progress to move from a system where ­licenses are not available to a system where licenses are only available if the city feels like issuing them. It’s something of a joke.”
Provisions of the bill range from the obstructionist to punitive to ridiculous.   The definition of concealed seems to turn the slightest indication of a pistol into a violation of law.  From the bill:
“(1A) “Concealed pistol” means a loaded or unloaded pistol carried on or about a person entirely hidden from view of the public, or carried on or about a person in a vehicle in such a way as it is entirely hidden from view of the public.”.
The bill contains almost complete discression for the police chief, though it can be appealed.  Notice the "good reason" and "suitable person" wording:

“(a) The Chief may, upon the application of any person having a bona fide residence or place of business within the District of Columbia, or of any person having a bona fide residence or place of business within the United States and a license to carry a pistol concealed upon his or her person issued by the lawful authorities of any State or subdivision of the United States, issue a license to such person to carry a pistol concealed upon his or her person within the District of Columbia for not more than 2 years from the date of issue, if it appears that the applicant has good reason to fear injury to his or her person or property or has any other proper reason for carrying a pistol, and that he or she is a suitable person to be so licensed.
An applicant must apply in person for an interview.  This is a virtual prohibition for most visitors.
“(f) An applicant is required to appear for an in-person interview at the Metropolitan Police Department headquarters, for purposes including verification of the applicant’s identity and verification of the information submitted as part of the application process for a license to carry a concealed pistol pursuant to section 6 and this section.
Must first go through the incredibly difficult and cumbersome District firearms registration process, because a copy of the registration must be carried with you.  Another virtual prohibition for 99.9 percent of visitors:

“(2) The registration certificate for the pistol being carried, issued pursuant to the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975, effective September 24, 1975 (D.C. Law 1-85; D.C.
 Contains the most broad definition of "impaired" that I have read:
“(d) For the purposes of this section, “impaired” means a licensee has consumed alcohol or a drug or a combination thereof and that it has affected the licensee’s behavior in a way that can be perceived or noticed.
Contains prohibited areas that end up including nearly all of the District, including such as:
“(11) The area around the White House, namely: between Constitution Avenue and H Street and between 15th and 17th Streets, all Northwest; “
(12) Within 1,000 feet, or other lesser distance designated by the Chief or his or her designee, when a dignitary or high ranking official of the United States or a state, local, or foreign government is under the protection of the Metropolitan Police Department, or other law“
(13) Within 1,000 feet, or other lesser distance designated by the Chief or his or her designee, of a demonstration in a public place,“
(14) Any prohibited circumstance that the Chief determines by rule, provided that for spontaneous circumstances, no criminal penalty shall apply unless the licensee has notice of the prohibition and has failed to comply.

While criminal penalties do not apply to most of the above, revocation of a permit does not appear to be a criminal penalty.  In addition, all private residences are presumed to be banned locations:
“(b)(1) Any private residence shall be presumed to prohibit the presence of firearms unless otherwise authorized by the property owner or person in control of the premises and communicated personally to the licensee in advance of entry onto the residential property.
More examples exist.   There are numerous circumstances where licensees are directed to place their handgun in a locked container that they presumably carry with them at all times, or they must leave the area.

I do not think Alan Gura exaggerated when he called the above legislation a joke.  We will find out what Judge Scullin thinks some time after the hearing on October 17th.

 ©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch


Anonymous said...

The implications of this are wide and varied. If a police chief can impose restrictions on your second amendment guaranteed rights what is to stop him from attacking any of your other rights, Using the same principles? A chief of police has no authority to deny any rights to anyone. The constitution does not delegate such authority to chiefs of police.

Dean Weingarten said...

That is what "common sense" restrictions mean to people who believe in state power.

People who believe in virtually unlimited state power always assume that office holders and state agents will be able to wield it with "discretion" and that they will be exempt.