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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.

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108 Responses to BREAKING: Washington DC Approves “May Issue” Concealed Carry Licensing

    • According to the City Paper, they took the most restrictive parts of Maryland, NYC, and New Jersey’s laws and pasted them together into the mess they passed. You or I would get a permit when pigs fly.

  1. A state in which the police decide whether citizens are allowed to exercise basic human rights. There’s a common term for that kind of system, I believe.

    • It’s not a state. It’s a Federal District. Congress’ lil’ plantation on the Potomac. And Congress may take a cut at the “law” they just passed. Because they can.

  2. 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.”

    May Issue = No CC in D.C.

    Well, maybe a few, to the select few, just to show they are actually issuing them.

    • I don’t think it will be “no issue” flat out, it will be “no issue” unless you are a politically connected friend of the mayor, police chief, or a city councilman. That’s the way it works in most “may issue” places.

      • Yup, can attest to that. That’s how they do it in MD. Then they tote they’ve “given out so many permits: applied for permits” ratio and theres no need to change the licensing scheme. People don’t apply because it’s defacto denial. DC will do the same.

    • That is how it works here on Long Island. The Suffolk County Police Commissioner, an appointed position, decides the rules associated with your pistol permit. It is impossible to obtain a CC permit unless you can prove a definite need, which most can’t do.
      The only exception, you can carry to and from the range. In the past there were 24 hr ranges that you could join so that you could say that you were heading to the range. (didn’t last very long)

    • This is exactly what I said would happen. They will be issuing permits, Jersey style. Meaning, in theory you can get a permit, but in reality carrying a gun legally is effectively prohibited. It’s that lovely “justifiable need” nonsense that we’ve seen before (and still see in Jersey), which is the game that DC chose to play. Judging by the failed challenge to have this requirement overturned in courts, I don’t think we’ll see many CCW permit holders in DC. I’d give them some credit if they were more honest about this type of licensing and just called it “may NOT issue.”

      • I generally call it “won’t issue” or if I want to sound British for some reason, “shan’t issue” (which directly plays off of “shall issue”),

    • They just decided to spell “No” with three different letters, that’s all…

      And that might be all it takes. Even if it gets defeated it’ll probably take lots of time and money for the pro-gun side.

  3. “The Chief may … issue a license to such person to carry a pistol concealed upon his or her person within the District of Columbia 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.”

    Translation: “We will give these pistol permits to Democrat lawmakers, local politicians, lawyers and lobbyists who give big bucks to the Democrat Party, friends of the Mayor and the Chief, and other members of the ruling aristocracy. You peasants can continue to be defenseless. So there!”

    • The papers are having a good time pointing out that living in the ghettoe (genteel DC low-income public housing) is NOT sufficient reason for issuing a permit. Maybe because it’s so peaceful and quiet there. /sarc

      • Precisely. Living in a bad neighborhood and fearing for your life is NOT good cause, and thus self-defense is not good cause. And of course, D.C. isn’t about to change its rules on getting a permit to possess a weapon in D.C., which also requires training, purchasing outside the district, transferring and police inspections by the district, etc etc as detailed by Emily Miller. Finally, there is no reciprocity–if you have a CCW, you can apply for a DC CCW, but presumably you would have to fulfill the requirements imposed on District residents to get one.

        I also wonder about the 16 hours of training required. Only two hours of range time? What the heck are students going to spend 14 hours learning? Tha it isn’t worththe effort to get a CCW? Learning to shoot is apparently not part of the program…

        • I took the Illinois class, which is “16” hours. Its really two days from 8-4, so if course you’re only spending about 6-7 hours each day doing anything useful. They covered everything you could possibly want to know to own and carry a handgun; how to load, store, clean, carry, and shoot semis and revolvers; when and where it is legal and/or appropriate to carry and shoot, what to do when interacting with police, etc. The actual shooting was both a very minimal part of the class and virtually impossible to fail.

  4. Not the last word. This is only *Emergency* Legislation good for 90 days. There have to be hearings, and Congress has to approve of any final legislation.

    Sounds like they will not appeal. Good!

    Incidentally, I do not know how anyone in D.C. will meet the “mentally sane” requirement. If you live in D.C., you are insane.

    • “Incidentally, I do not know how anyone in D.C. will meet the “mentally sane” requirement. If you live in D.C., you are insane.”

      I like it … a page right out of the gun grabber playbook. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. If gun grabbers can claim that anyone who wants to own a firearm is by definition mentally defective, then we can claim any arbitrary group is mentally defective for any arbitrary reason as well. And I cannot think of a better arbitrary group than D.C. politicians!

      • The line between sanity and criminally dangerous seems to be getting blurrier and blurrier these days. California’s so-called Gun Violence Restraining Order Act, AB 1014 (which is currently awaiting the governor’s signature or veto), specifically lists “recent acquisition of a firearm, ammunition or other dangerous weapon” as evidence of an increased risk of violence. The bill does not require other factors to exist for issuance of an order that would authorize immediate seizure of the restrained person’s weapons, along with a pretty much blanket search order for all of their possessions and records.

        That’s literally “You own a gun? You’re at increased risk for violence.” I can’t imagine DC’s CCW licensing practices being any less draconian — or ridiculous.

        By the way: What is “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”? The “or” means that if you have any proper reason for carrying a pistol, you don’t need to have “good” reason to fear injury. I don’t think they intend to make their stand on the “cause,” but on the “suitable person to be so licensed” part. Suitability is a lot squishier than cause — you can make a good case for cause, but suitability likely will be an undefined standard that is met only very rarely.

        Me, I believe that suitable is simple: If you’re not unsuitable, you’re suitable. But I doubt DC will view it that way.

        • Suitability will increase directly in proportion to your position in the DC local hierarchy and the size/number of your campaign contributions. The Gentry will be showered with permits; decent hardworking people will have none.

  5. Politicians don’t need to bribe anyone. Because they all have bodyguards and security details. Who have always been allowed to carry.

    • Have you ever noticed the Goons standing behind Bloomberg when blabbers on TV. I’m sure they are carrying more than pocket knives.

      • He hired his entire police bodyguard force as his personal body guards after he left office. As retired LEOs, they are all allowed to carry concealed under LEOSA.

        • And they’re pulling down a nice fat retirement check and full bennies while they’re the Midget’s cushy payroll.

  6. Gura is gonna get another check. This is not what the judge ordered them to do. They should re-read his opinion. Also, if GOP gets control of Senate, this crap won’t pass muster

    • I’m not real straight on DC, enlighten me; doesn’t Congress set the rules there? Like, not subject to veto by some dumba$$. Boy, would that be pretty or what? Just dump Constitutional carry on DC like a brick.

  7. “The legislation … 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 …”

    I do not agree. How does a concealed carry system which requires “… 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 which is subject to the approval of the Washington D.C. Police Chief satisfy the court order and the Second Amendment?

    Unless the Police Chief approves everyone who claims “self defense” under the “other proper reason for carrying a pistol” criteria, the courts should slap them down again.

    And how about the non-existent reciprocity?

      • Agreed. DC knows this too, I’m sure. It’s all about stalling as long as possible. They regard any impediment placed in the way of citizens as a win.

        • Of course. The “Tiny Dancer” was a Dc inhabitant (and cozy with the DC Council) for how many years? They’re playing the Chicago game.

    • At the very least, there are portions of it that will be thrown out in moments.

      Roaming GFZ for “Important People?” No way that will float.
      The Chief getting to make final say? Nope. All people will have to apply under the same criteria. “Good Cause” shouldn’t float with the Judge, having cited Peruta.
      Not even allowed to be around a crowd of people? Nope.

      Also, the Judge said that non-residents must be able to apply. Under this law, if you don’t already have a CHL you can’t get one there. That immediately bars anyone from a constitutional carry state or from a No/Restrictive-May issue state.

    • “I predict a motion to the effect that this law does not, in fact, comply with the ruling.”

      Agree. Since Congress has to approve, and Congress is still solidly in control of the Repubs, can’t Congress tell them to draft shall issue legislation?

    • Guess what. Only Diplomats can have Diplomatic Immunity.And that does not protect them from prosecution for many felonies. They can also be declared “Persona Non Grata” and shown the door.

  8. You must apply for a CCL. People who are insane are not allowed a CCL. No sane person would ever apply for a CCL, so therefore if you apply for a CCL you must be insane and are not allowed a CCL.

  9. Methinks the author confused “May Issue” with “Shall issue.” Try and get a CCW Permit in “May issue” California.

      • No, it is not. Look at the “May issue” system in LA county for epic examples of favoritism in the political process. Heck, look up the history of Sheriff Led Baca and examples of his contributors and friends getting permits.

        • Actually, you are both right. Some counties have long accepted self-defense as good cause, others, in particular the major urban areas, have not. Those that are virtual no-issue, such as LA, are continuing to refuse to issue, contending that they are not bound by the Peruta decision until it is “final,” i.e., that all appeals have been exhausted and mandate issues to San Diego and Yolo counties. LA is not issuing, nor the surrounding counties. San Diego is processing applications, but if they are issuing permits, the issuance is conditional on Peruta. San Francisco and the Bay Area counties (Alameda and Marin in particular) are no issue. Some counties will have to be sued to get them to comply with Peruta even if it survives.

        • Mark N., if this is all in CA, can’t people simply go to another county and obtain a permit, then carry in the no-issue areas? Or can the no-issue areas defeat that somehow?

  10. “…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.”
    He said it himself. They are going to issue as few licenses as possible because the mayor is one of the crazy people who believe guns cause crime.

    • The way I read that line is him admitting that the Constitution is an impediment to him doing what he thinks is his job.

      He seems to be saying, “We could make the city really safe if the crazies would just stop going on about the Constitution.”

        • Bossama doesn’t bitch about the Constitution, he ignores it. Sorta like Nixon’s “If the president does it, it’s not illegal.” ‘Course, we all know how that worked for him.

  11. that’s a load of crap! They’re never going to issue a concealed permit, back when you could get a license in Washington to carry a concealed weapons permit or carry a concealed firearm there were zero issues. Is a way to go at it like Massachusetts in California you can put in as many permits request as you want bottom line is you’re not going to receive one. Cam Edwards yesterday had an attorney on that was discussing this very topic and he said you have a better chance of winning the

  12. “There’s still much to dislike about D.C.’s concealed carry licensing system, but it’s a step in the right direction.”

    Is NYC-style licensing a step in the right direction?

      • Given that the relevant Court of Appeals has been “packed” recently, even if the Palmer judge pushes for shall issue now, it will get shot down on appeal. Given that, I wonder if it wouldn’t have been better to keep the DC no issue for now, as a vehicle for a future lawsuit should the climate change for the better, but not so much better as to guarantee that any may issue law anywhere would be struck down without further ado.

  13. Under the law, permits will only be given to “suitable firearms owners who can show they have a legitimate need for it to obtain a permit to carry a weapon in public in a concealed manner,” D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said recently.

    Is it possible, the morons in DC have unwittingly opened the door to Open Carry?

    • No.

      And I believe they are imbeciles, not morons. Imbeciles can be taught to perform simple basic tasks. Like running the DC Government.

    • Not under the rationale of Peruta, upon which the trial judge relied heavily. Peruta says that carry must be allowed, whether open or concealed (or both). And if one is banned, the other must be permitted. (California has banned carry in all incorporated areas, and thus the only permissible way to carry was concealed. Therefore, people must be allowed to carry concealed.) Same would apply to DC.

      • But, they’re effectively NOT allowed to carry concealed in a “may issue” state that refuses to grant any citizen a license. So, they are paying lip service to the Constitution but not abiding by it.

  14. Sharpton and Jackson will be along promptly to take a stand against this “too black” and “too poor” to exercise your second nonsense, right?

    • You’re dreaming. It took that bunch 50 years to agree to run a trolley again; it’s late, over budget and still not running for real.

  15. This may not pass muster with the Court since it will deny most people the right to carry. I also do not see how their application of the District law to non residents meets the Court’s requirements since the ruling clearly stated that valid CCW permits should be recognized. As this law is written my Virginia permit is not valid unless the CoP says I have a need and that I must take DC training so it does not recongize my permit as it is supposed to do.

  16. Never mind the “may issue” dodge. The real back-breaker is the provision that you can’t carry on public transportation, even WITH a permit. Getting around DC without riding the Metro? Let me know how that works out.

      • Ride the Metro. Concealed is concealed. You’ll be one of tens of thousands, every day. Difference is, you’ll have a permit!

    • Illinois is the same. Which has the discriminatory effect of precluding poor people who rely on public transportation from carrying most of the time. Some think that this was an intended result, just as DC’s express avowal that living in a bad, crime riddled neighborhood is not “good cause.” One could reasonably argue that this is barely disguised racism.

  17. Paging Alan Gura. Paging Alan Gura..

    Another 5 years and 2 million dollars in legal fees. They will kick and scream over every inch of territory they have to give up. Good chance in 5 years several SCOTUS justices will be gone and replaced by Hillary. Kiss Heller goodbye…

  18. “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.”

    = a right denied to all but a progressive chosen few.

    • You know, I could even get along with that, so long as, when someone who has been denied is injured by criminal activity, he can SUE the chief and the department for millions when they said he had no “cause”. When it could cost that chief millions, and his department tens of millions, (which would cost his job, as well), he might see the applicant in a different light, ie, as the idea is expected to work. That is, if you can find no reason not to, approve the application.

      • Cathy Lanier will be the DC Top Cop as long as she likes. She enforces the Party Line like a pit bull on a rag doll. Even her cops AND THEIR UNION are afraid of her.

  19. “It is entirely possible that, like in New Jersey, this law will be just for show and no permits will ever be issued.”

    What? You’re kidding! But that would be disingenuous and underhanded. Surely the mayor, city council, and police chief of the District are solid, upstanding citizens with no ulterior motives and an unwavering respect for the Constitution, right? Right?

  20. This is a defacto ban, cloaked in the skin of approval. Don’t kid yourself. Here in Hawaii we have the same law and NO ONE can get approval.

  21. BREAKING- ONLY DC has approved this law. This case has not left the court yet. The judge who made this ruling still has power- at this moment.

  22. “[T]he applicant will need to . . . be mentally sane for the last five years”

    That’s called the Adam Kokesh Exclusion Clause.

  23. Another example of the gun grabbing groups, politician and civilian, who vote them in, set things up so that criminals are the only ones who have guns.

    They are nothing but murderers by proxy. Ever hear the term “plausible deniability”?

    I believe that if the Republicans or Democrats don’t change this after Nov 4th this Democracy is doomed and none of their voters will get anything!

  24. Has anyone heard anything about D.C. recognizing permits from the states? I live in Richmond, Va. and travel to D.C. atleast twice a year to go to the museums and see the cherry blossoms. I would love to be able to legally carry. I’m sure they won’t but I still cross my fingers.

    • No reciprocity. If you have an out of state CCW you can apply for a DC permit, but apparently have to make the same showing and undergo the same 16 hours of “training” as required of residents. Which means that most people will not be able to get the required class, and thus will be unable to fulfill the requirements.

  25. The SCOTUS needs to get off its ass and declare “may issue” unconstitutional. Either the public has a right or it does not. The constitution doesn’t protect rights for certain groups of people – it protects rights for all.

  26. We all predicted this.

    Now it will probably be another 30+ years to get the “may-issue” (which will be no-issue in actual practice) changed to “shall-issue”. Old habits, such as illegally denying citizens of their natural, fundamental, inalienable, individual, civil, and Constitutionally-affirmed and protected right to keep AND bear arms, really do die hard.

  27. “While I would prefer that we did not have to change our laws to allow the carrying of concealed weapons by civilians”… those dirty, dirty peons, he went on to say.

  28. This is excellent! Since they took the most restrictive stance for other jurisdictions, This will easily be the most restrictive ordinance and will eventually lead to a shall issue court ruling. I love it when they overreach as it gives us the opportunity for a solid victory.

  29. I don’t see the liberal puppet DC Police Chief issuing many permit…..
    maybe a few for Bloombergs bodyguards but that is about it.

  30. Good. The people of Washington, D.C. should have to live under the same terror of concealed carriers as most of the country does.

  31. It’s now time for Emily Miller to “Get her concealed carry” permit. Another series of articles on how it can’t be done.

  32. It is my understanding the the judge postponed the enforcement of his ruling so that DC may create legislation that complies with said ruling. Does this not mean that the judge will review the legislation to ensure it does comply? If that is the case, I don’t believe this may issue law will comply and there’s a solid chance a no restrictions policy would go into effect.

    • Congress will get a swipe at it too, don’t forget. Elanor Holmes Norton (DC’s pretend token congresscritter) climbed on her broom and has already started making the rounds threatening those who would do The People’s Business on that moldering pile of a law. May she ride the H Street trolley to do that.

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