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Federal Judge Rules Against Washington DC’s “Good Reason” Gun Licensing Requirement

On Monday, US District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. ruled that a provision in a Washington DC law requiring applicants for handgun carry licenses to justify why they need their Second Amendment rights is unconstitutional and ordered an injunction halting its enforcement.

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Barry Donegan
Barry Donegan is a writer, musician, and pro-liberty political activist living in Nashville, TN. Donegan served as Director-at-Large of the Davidson County Republican Party from 2009-2011 and was the Middle Tennessee Regional Coordinator over 30 counties for Ron Paul's 2012 Presidential Campaign. Follow him at facebook.com/barry.donegan and twitter.com/barrydonegan

Part of a Washington DC law that requires handgun carry permit applicants to prove that they need a gun due to imminent threats or dangerous workplace conditions has been halted by US District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr, who said on Monday that the requirement infringes on citizens’ constitutional rights. Said Judge Scullin in his decision, published by Firearms Policy Coalition, “For all intents and purposes, this requirement makes it impossible for the overwhelming majority of law-abiding citizens to obtain licenses to carry handguns in public for self-defense, thereby depriving them of their Second Amendment right to bear arms.”

The case, brought by Brian Wrenn, Joshua Akery, Tyler Whidby, and Second Amendment Foundation, Inc., sought a preliminary injunction against the requirement. In 2014, Judge Scullin also overturned a DC ban on the carrying of handguns in public.

The Associated Press is reporting that, following Judge Scullin’s ruling, Washington DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier is no longer enforcing the requirement. DC Attorney General Karl A. Racine called the requirement “constitutionally valid” but has not yet indicated whether the District of Columbia will appeal the decision.

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Second Amendment Foundation attorney Alan Gura told The Associated Press that he expects that the city will appeal and ask that the rule be reinstated.

When arguing in favor of the law last year, Democratic DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said, “There’s no question that states have the right to substantially limit the ability of citizens to carry, and the District’s unique status as host to federal officials and the diplomatic corps makes the issue of carrying a fundamental safety concern.”

The Washington Post notes that, following the injunction, handgun carry permit applicants in DC still must pass a background check and a training course.

“The issue here is not whether the . . . requirement is a reasonable or wise policy choice. Rather, the issue is whether this requirement, no matter how well intended, violates the Second Amendment,” said Judge Scullin in his ruling.

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