Word came late last night that Washington, D.C. had approved legislation to begin issuing concealed carry licenses in the District. The legislation (full text here) brings the District into compliance with a Federal court ruling that clarified that the Second Amendment applies not only within the home but also outside the home — in other words, that concealed carry is a Constitutionally protected right. The major hurdle for obtaining one of these licenses is the fact that the Chief of Police in Washington, D.C. needs to be convinced that you should be issued a permit, and “may” issue that permit depending on their mood at the time. From the newly passed law . . .
Sec. 6. Issuance of a license to carry a pistol.
“(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.”
In addition, the applicant will need to meet the licensing requirements for a D.C. firearms permit, be mentally sane for the last five years, and completes 16 hours of training (of which two can be range time).
Just like with post offices, this concealed carry licensing doesn’t apply to Federal buildings and grounds. So while you can walk the streets strapped with your favorite heater, you can’t wander into the Smithsonian museum or any of the Capitol buildings.
D.C.’s mayor had the following to say about the new law:
“I would like to thank the Council for not only approving this bill, but also for working so closely and collaboratively with my administration to ensure we drafted the best legislation possible to ensure public safety while also comporting with the courts’ prevailing interpretation of the Second Amendment,” Mayor Gray said. “While I would prefer that we did not have to change our laws to allow the carrying of concealed weapons by civilians, this bill ensures that we will be able to meet the requirements of the Constitution while maintaining the maximum amount of safeguards possible to protect our residents, visitors, workers and public-safety officers.”
There’s still much to dislike about D.C.’s concealed carry licensing system, but it’s a step in the right direction. The only thing left to see is how restrictive the Chief of Police decides to be in issuing permits. It is entirely possible that, like in New Jersey, this law will be just for show and no permits will ever be issued. Except to rich politicians who can bribe their way in, that is.