D.C. Concealed Carry Law: “Living in a high-crime neighborhood would not be a sufficient reason to obtain a permit”

Lincoln Heights, Washington, D.C. (courtesy washingtonpost.com)

A recent federal court ruling made it impossible for the District of Columbia to continue its ban on concealed carry firearms. As you’d expect from the political regime that fought to deny residents their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, the capital’s burghers are making it as difficult as possible for taxpayers to get a permit. The proposed permitting process is strictly “may issue” – a fancy way of telling aspiring firearms schleppers to FOAD. “Residents of the nation’s capital will be able to get licenses to carry concealed handguns outside the home, but only after they provide a specific reason for needing one, [city council] officials said Wednesday,” wjla.com reports. Specifically . . .

The District is seeking to let the police chief decide whether people have a reason to carry a concealed firearm, and officials said living in a high-crime neighborhood would not be a sufficient reason to obtain a permit. People who’ve received death threats or have been the victims of domestic violence are among those who could be granted permits.

“It has to be personalized. It has to be something specific,” D.C. Attorney General Irvin Nathan said..

You can bet your bottom dollar that anyone seeking permission to protect themselves by force of arms – permission to exercise a Constitutional right – will have to prove this specific death threat to D.C. Attorney General Irvin Nathan’s satisfaction, and fill-put numerous forms in triplicate. Simply saying “He told me he’s going to kill me!” or “There’s a drug dealer in my building” ain’t gonna cut it.

Nor are the D.C. permitting authorities likely to accept a citizen’s word that they’re victims of domestic abuse or face potential domestic abuse. The D.C. gatekeepers will require a police record of past abuse or a restraining order or some such bureaucratic BS. How would that help women who find themselves in the shoes of the Kentucky mother whose son was murdered by a man in a relationship gone wrong, who then killed her as well – without any previous heads-up? It wouldn’t.

The fight to defend and extend Americans’ gun rights won’t be over until ALL the “may issue” states – and the District of Columbia – are forced to switch to shall issue. And not even, then. It won’t be over until all U.S. states convert to Constitutional carry, no permit required, concealed or open. Meanwhile, let’s give Alan Gura the last (first?) word on D.C.’s freshly-minted, morally indefensible permitting process.

Alan Gura, an attorney for plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said the proposal did not comply with the judge’s order.

“In America, the police don’t determine what rights we have good reason to enjoy,” Gura said. “You don’t need a good reason to speak, to worship, to vote or to carry a gun for self-defense.”

Or any other reason save criminal intent, I might add. Anyway, reader Mike Morrison notes other aspects of the restrictions built into the proposed law:

I work about six blocks from the White House. One time the President popped into the office building next door just to say hello. Could I have been chased away by Secret Service? Will my daily life be interrupted by bureaucrats’ travel plans? How important must these dignitaries be to qualify for a buffer zone?

But even worse is the carry prohibition on public transportation. Most DC commuters use the metro or buses to get around the city. When it’s not latebroken, or jam-packed, DC public transport is pretty convenient, if expensive. More expensive though, is driving or taking Uber/taxis. This law would force those who don’t want to brave the worst traffic in the country or can’t afford the cost of a car, to be unarmed.

This twist, combined with all the other limitations on firearms ownership in our nation’s capital, means legal firearms ownership will be a privilege available only to the wealthy.


  1. avatar Gordon Wagner says:

    If I lived in a hellhole like that, I’d walk down the street carrying my AR15 clone. Nothing “concealed” about it.

    1. avatar Richard in WA says:

      …for about 10 minutes.

  2. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

    Only available to wealthy and white.

    Fixed it for ya

    1. avatar Mike Morrison says:

      I should have added “well connected” too.

    2. avatar gregory says:

      No, I think wealthy and any race are more like it. Politicians are color blind when the green and gray hit their bank accounts. Can we stop with the racial crap, it is more than worn out!

    3. avatar Dave says:

      White has nothing to do with it. The only color that matters to the people in power is green.

      Drop your tired, old racism…

      1. avatar CA.Ben says:

        He isn’t being racist, it’s the law that is being racist, and he is pointing it out. It obviously discriminates against the poor and minorities. Specifically, the police approval requirement has been historically used to deny rights to minorities. It was written into the Jim Crow laws that were passed during reconstruction specifically for that purpose: if you were white then the sheriff would sign your forms, if you were black then you could pound sand.

        Same goes for the public transport off limit zones. That is yet another way that the wealthy, connected ruling class is ensuring that they have unarmed subjects. They are terrified of minorities and the poor owning guns.

        The fact that such obvious examples of institutionalized racism are included in newly passed laws is downright disgusting.

  3. avatar Sheikh kashif says:

    shame on you for putting others life in danger dumbass

  4. avatar Steve in MD says:

    So… they just copy/pasted Maryland’s permit laws?


    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      They especially liked the part about the only “sufficient reason” is being killed. But then you won’t need the permit anyway.

      See how well that works?

  5. avatar Dr. Michael S. Brown says:

    i like the part in the new regulations where you could donate to the Mayor’s campaign fund if you can’t prove you’ve been a victim of violence.

    Oh wait, I imagined that. Must have been thinking of some other big cities with strict gun laws.

    1. avatar Accur81 says:

      Sounds like LA and the former sheriff Lee Baca.

  6. avatar Old Ben turning in grave says:

    Non-compliance with the ruling, packed in a way to make it seem like they are complying, just to make this go through another extended court battle. More lawlessness.

    So, I would be curious to see how many DC insiders, big DNC donors, lobbyists, and politicians get issued permits relative to “little people.” This could actually be a boon to the DC elite. Easier for the right people to be armed, while still preventing the hoi polloi from getting uppity.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      I would bet on it.

    2. avatar Jus Bill says:

      Anybody remember Carl Rowan?

      1. avatar Todd G says:

        The guy beside Dick Martin? Sure. Sock it to me.

        1. avatar Jus Bill says:

          No, that was Dan Rowan.

      2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        Yep, quite well.

        For those of you young enough to not remember Carl Rowan, here’s the deal:

        He was a black newspaper columnist who lived in Washington DC. Rowan regularly vented his spleen against gun owners, RKBA activists, the NRA, gun companies, et al. If it had to do with guns, Rowan hated it, and he was happy to tell the world just exactly how much in his syndicated column. He was a both an inventor and product of the black victimology industry that sees guns as the cause of so many inner city black thugs’ behavior. Rowan, in one of his more memorable fits of gun-banning, wrote that anyone who was found in possession of a handgun who was not a cop should be sent to prison for 10 years, no parole, no questions asked.

        Then, on a night in 1988, Rowan used an unregistered .22 revolver to shoot at a 19-year-old kid who was skinny dipping in Rowan’s pool. The kid was only slightly injured in the wrist, but Rowan was busted for the typical fraud and fork-tongued liar he was.

        Rowan claimed he got the revolver from his son, a FBI agent and lawyer.

        A trial of Rowan’s DC gun violation ended in a hung jury.

  7. avatar Jay In Florida says:

    I can’t speak for DC. But when I lived in ny and applied for my full carry permit. You never said personal protection that would be the kiss of death. The rule of the in my and it might be true in the other “May issue” states is simple. You put down hunting fishing target shooting and most importantly…….. Carrying large sums of money.
    I asked the judge who had the final say “what’s a large sum of money???” He said I will determine that when and if it’s nessesary. I guess in my case it never was….

    1. avatar Steve in MD says:

      In MD you need to have a business to play the large sums of money angle. And they check.

      1. avatar Jay in Florida says:

        I did own a business back then in a very high crime area of Newburgh NY.
        No one ever checked anything about my business that I was aware of….

      2. avatar punaperson says:

        Here in Hawaii I know of a rural business that closes at 2 AM and had a considerable drive to the bank night deposit drawer. When asking the permission of the police department for a CCW to protect their income, they were told “Hire a security company”. Thus, neither they, NOR ONE OTHER SINGLE PERSON IN THE ENTIRE STATE OF HAWAII have been granted a CCW license. It must be “an exceptional case”. There is not one single “exceptional case” in Hawaii. So much for the “right to bear arms” in the Aloha State.

    2. avatar LarryinTX says:

      While TX doesn’t have that BS, I have often wondered whether the fact that my watch retails for $30K and my wife’s for $20K wouldn’t qualify as a “need”.

      1. avatar Jim R says:

        Nope. You’re expected in that case to hand it over. Along with your wallet, your car keys, your house keys, your phone, your jewelry and your wife. Then die.

      2. avatar Accur81 says:

        Goodness! Your watch is worth more than my car.

  8. avatar Omer Baker says:

    It seems to me that one can get a permit if an inept individual tries to harm them. Someone is trying to kill me means that someone has been unsuccessful in their endevours and so now you need to say pretty please to the you elected representation so that you may protect yourself.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      This is how their mind works [sic]:

      “Someone is trying to kill me means that someone has been unsuccessful in their endevours.”

      See, you don’t need that permit, because they were unsuccessful.

  9. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

    In a somewhat more perfect world the judge would remove the stay and return DC to a ‘constitutional carry’ status.
    I’m not holding my breath….

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      That certainly does look like the correct response, doesn’t it? I’ll bet there has been secret communication on the subject to insure that doesn’t happen.

      1. avatar Accur81 says:

        I’m sure that couldn’t possibly include the AG or POTUS. And if it did, I bet those emails are already lost due to hard drive crashes.

        On an unrelated note, I’ve got a MacBook Pro from 2007 and still have all of my non-junk emails. And a backup hard drive. Hmmmm.

  10. avatar Shire-man says:

    This is the exact thing one would expect the ACLU and the NAACP to go ballistic over.
    These days the ACLU is more about defending Newspeak and the New Way and the NAACP would be waiting at the shore to sell off lesser tribesmen to the Dutch.

  11. avatar BGryphon says:

    Sounds pretty similar to CA.

    When I applied in LA County with:

    Business deposit records
    Church deposit records
    A letter of recommendation from The Chairman of the Joint Services Committe Buck McKeon
    A letter of recommendation from a 10 yr SWAT supervisor
    A letter of recommendation from the Captain of the local Sheriff dept sub station
    AND a perfect background (mormon eagle scout if you catch my drift)

    All I got back was a fancy letter stating that elevated risk was not a reason to carry a gun. There must be a specific threat, from a specific person, who has a pattern of behavior that indicates they would carry out the threat.

    So much awesome.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      It sounds like you are the perfect plaintiff for a lawsuit. Who have you contacted to represent you?

      1. avatar Accur81 says:

        I agree. Contact the NRA, SAF, and FPC and see if you can sue the bastards.

      2. avatar Mark N. says:

        If it survives, Peruta v. Gore will take care of all this nonsense. (Gore is the Sheriff of San Diego County.) That appellate court held that the only good cause necessary to exercise a fundamental constitutional right is “self-defense.” And there are cases pending, some in trial courts, some on appeal, and all are waiting for the determination of the CalAG’s petition to intervene and for en banc review in Peruta. Those motions were filed in May, but I suspect we will not see a decision until after the election.

        1. avatar Bgryphon says:

          Contacted a few firms. It is the perfect case. Nobody wants to start the process with Peruta in the wings.

  12. avatar Taylor in Tn says:

    Sounds like all those poloticians are really scared of all those law abiding citizens. Just sayin

  13. avatar Roscoe says:

    Just like I stated when the decision first came down: the D.C “statist anti-rights, anti-gun public servants” will have to be dragged kicking and screaming into compliance.

    More time in court.

  14. avatar Weylon M says:

    being alive and wishing to stay that way is the only reason you should need to get a permit

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      That’s way too simple a reason in a lot of East Coast states. The ones where the American Revolution started and was fought. Maybe that’s why it’s too simple for the pols to stomach.

  15. avatar former water walker says:

    May issue=no issue. Say what you want about Illinois. A lot of people are getting CCL. Yuck.

  16. avatar Chip Bennett says:

    I would expect nothing less from the District.

    I’m curious: what is the specific threat that justifies the District police to carry firearms on a day-to-day basis? Should they not also have to document a specific threat in order to carry?

    And how about “may issue” permits for fire extinguishers, first aid kits, and flashlights?

    Of course, the underlying problem with the District, specifically, is that so much business takes place there that it necessitates anyone living there year-round, as primary/permanent residence.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      What is the specific threat that justifies the District police to carry firearms on a day-to-day basis?

      Their union.

  17. avatar Mediocrates says:

    I will not step foot in the District of Communism, nor will I lift a finger in aid until they fall in line with The Constitution.

    1. avatar Chris says:

      My girlfriend wants me to go there during a Virginia vacation next month. And I have this same POV. I made a stupid birthday promise to her in April about a NYC trip, which I made, but in general I have no desire to give NY or DC ANY of my time and money.

      Only the fact that I cannot avoid NY at all on my way to Virginia is the only reason I am driving through it. If driving through Canada wouldn’t add a day to my trip, I’d totally do it.

    2. avatar Pseudo says:

      I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

  18. avatar Albaniaaaa says:

    Sounds like it will be NJ 2.0 aka carry at your own risk both the criminals and cops are enemies.

  19. avatar Dev says:

    This isn’t entirely about gun control, this is about making the public depend on the government for everything. Even though the police cannot and sometimes will not protect a person when needed, the idea is to take away any options other than governmental overseeing.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      Yup. Congress’ Little Plantation on the Potomac. Or maybe USA 2.0.

  20. avatar Lurker_Of_Lurkiness says:

    Voter i.d.
    No! It makes it so minorities maybe can’t get an I.D. and vote!

    Having to pay for a c.c.w, and not being able to use public transport?
    ok, who cares ’bout them poor minorities?

  21. avatar Layne says:

    I foresee a blossoming market for beating people up (gently) and threatening their lives. Heck, some thug could probably issue a notarized statement of his intent to kill you, and the police would do nothing to him. If they cared anything about stopping crime, it wouldn’t be such a problem there.

  22. avatar Joe R. says:

    Living (and ~ working?) in a highly concentrated legislative environment is not grounds to permitted to “play” at being a representative.

  23. avatar Templar says:

    If you applied for a permit and were denied, then met some violent outcome, would there be grounds for legal action? Has anyone tried anything like this?

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      Typically, sovereign immunity usually immunizes public entities and employees from liability for their discretionary determinations such as whether to issue a permit, be it a building permit or a concealed carry permit or driver’s license.

  24. avatar Ted says:

    As a NJ resident, I say this is good. The more “may issue” is used to deny law-abiding citizens their rights, the greater the chance that the SCOTUS will deem the practice unconstitutional.

    The standard should be: “If you can legally own it, you can legally carry it”.

  25. avatar IdahoPete says:

    “This twist, combined with all the other limitations on firearms ownership in our nation’s capital, means legal firearms ownership will be a privilege available only to the wealthy.”

    And that is the whole point of the DC laws – letting the peasants know that only the ruling elites deserve to be protected. Seriously, you peasants can’t REALLY believe that your lives are worth anything, can you? /sarc off/

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      What /sarc/? They can’t even patch their streets, and the cops ride around in cars that are so old and beat up they squeak. When the ambulances run, they either get lost or stuck in traffic.

      The major sports in DC are whining about not being a state and gouging their citizens and visitors (including commuters). I predict it will be easier to find a parking space in DC during the week than to get a gun permit of any kind after the “reveal.”

  26. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    There is a possible upside to this: Alan Gura is not going to just sit there and take this. The court will have to say whether or not this law complies with their order. And if they say no, it might clarify the unconstitutional status of “may issue” carry laws elsewhere.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      This is certainly a possibility, given the trial court’s express reliance upon Peruta v. Gore and its “good cause=self defense” standard for issuance of a permit. Although it would not be at all unusual for the court to say a challenge to the law must be by another lawsuit.

  27. avatar johnb says:

    …”it must be personal” he says.

    Aw dammit…I don’t see my name listed on the Bill of Rights, so I guess I’m screwed.

    I didn’t see your names either comrades….

    1. avatar Aaron says:

      change your name to “John Hancock” 😉

  28. avatar Alan Longnecker says:

    Now introducing “Scary” Joe’s Death Threat service.
    For a small one-time fee, we will send you up to three threatening letters with your choice of either Crayon ™, or magazine/newspaper cut out words. Take them to the police department with your ccw paperwork, and then take them to Emily Post after you’re denied.
    Simply send 5-7 photos of yourself (or your kids, popular with female judges) and your check for $399.95, and we’ll take care of the rest.

  29. avatar big blue says:

    We have the same situation in Hawaii – ‘may issue’.

    TLDR; 0 are actually issued. There’s an active lawsuit (potentially favourable).

  30. avatar bobmcd says:

    Being a citizen of Virginia, and living about 2 miles from DC, I am seriously tempted to go apply for a DC carry permit, knowing that I will be denied, just so that I (and I hope hundreds of other Virginians) might then join in on a class action suit or something similar.

    Dumb idea. Just might be dumb enough to work. Any other takers?

    1. avatar Aaron says:

      The Potomac River has magical anti-Constitution powers.

    2. avatar JohnF says:

      I live in VA about 6 miles outside the district. The problem with your idea is that we would have to take off our guns and actually go into the district to implement it.

  31. avatar Mina says:

    DC is headed down the exact same path IL went through a year ago.

    Luckily thanks to our ace NRA rep Todd V we did get Shall Issue.

    No public transport though which for the lower income folks is bad for the same reason highlighted in the article: if you have no choice but to use public transport you by law must do so unarmed.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      Same as using the CTA.

    2. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Mina – Is there anyone working on the no public transportation ban?

  32. avatar Neil D says:

    While TX doesn’t have that BS, I have often wondered whether the fact that my watch retails for $30K and my wife’s for $20K wouldn’t qualify as a “need”. LOL, a $30K watch qualifying as “need”. Need to protect it from a mugging must be what you are saying. Be interesting to see if a judge or whoever issues permits would see it that way.

  33. avatar michael3ov says:

    If I remember correctly there was something in the ruling that stated that D.C. could not arrest a person for carrying their concealed handgun with a legal permit if they are visiting from a state. Does anyone else recall that?

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      That was in effect during that wonderful weekend when DC was a part of the US. I don’t know about now though.

      Just carry. If anyone asks, you work for “the agency.”

  34. avatar Daily Beatings says:

    Alan Gura, an attorney for plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said the proposal did not comply with the judge’s order.

    This is actually good news that DC decided to go “may-issue” since Gura will be back in court arguing contempt by the defendant. Illinois went with a “shall-issue” standard because they feared a “may-issue” would be deemed insufficient by the court. If that was to occur “shall-issue” would have been set by precedent as the standard for the entire United States.

  35. avatar publius2 says:

    This should be interesting- Scullin cited Peruta in his decision on Palmer, and Peruta is all about a similar scheme requiring anyhing other than “self-defense” being in effect, an unconstitutional ban.


    IANAL, but I expect this will backfire…

    hmmm…what did we say about,
    “get ready for more under the radar screen action”, once “the AWB wont work” smoke signal went up…

    1. avatar publius2 says:

      PS: here is something from Kopel at Volokh Conspiracy/WAPO thats useful background on Palmer, and the multiple changes in guidance from council.

      Wouldnt be surprised to see this have to be challenged, again, by SAF,
      with council throwing monkey wrenches in on purpose, hoping the newly packed DC court will sit on it for another ten years…

  36. avatar Bob says:

    Does anyone remember when the President (Johnson, I think) ordered the National Guard to Mississippi to enforce a SCOTUS decision on segregation? There were armed soldiers who forced the school to allow black students to attend.

    I’m wondering when This President will start following his Oath Of Office to uphold the Law and the Constitution.

    Ummm. Never!

  37. avatar DD says:

    Living within 6D or 7D in DC should be enough justification for the rediculous edict of the police Chief. Those who live in 2D don’t need weapons and those who live in 3D particularly near the fruit loop should carry a back up and a neck knife. Southwest also has it’s issues so we’ll let you carry there as well.

    Permits should be reserved for those who by some criminal transgretion have lost the right to bear arms and must show their worthy ness after the fact. Otherwise it is a simple right, no permit necessary. Troll on

    1. avatar DD says:

      DD You ignoramus. Why don’t you learn to read the Chinese constitution in ameraic?

      . . . Ang get rid of that 66-8 and get a real gun, not a wheel gun. What do you think this is, another SNL spoof on baba wawa?

  38. avatar Pepe says:

    Do you think the fact that I work as a professional body guard in the DC Metro area serve as a “reasonable” reason to be issued a new concealed carry permit.

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