In the months after the court decision (in 2017), the police department began approving hundreds of permits. Before the decision, there were only 123 active licenses, and D.C. police denied 77 percent of applicants for failing to provide the required “good reason.”
D.C. police have since signed off on 4,808 permits, according to data the department provided March 5 to Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), who chairs the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety. Permits expire after two years, and there are currently 4,147 active license-holders, according to the department’s records division.
Allen said he is concerned that the large number of people potentially carrying legal firearms in public puts D.C. police officers in a difficult position to distinguish between someone concealing a legal gun and someone hiding an illegal firearm.
“Does that put them at greater risk? I think it does,” Allen said of the officers. “It’s unnerving to the public, and it troubles me.”
D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said Thursday that police officers on the street have not complained to him about encountering legal firearms.