DC Circuit Rejects DC License Challenge

Bad case, bad defendant.  This was probably a fore drawn conclusion.  Gura’s case in Palmer is different, as he says here:

Alan Gura, the Alexandria, Va. attorney who filed the civil suit, told me on Wednesday evening that he doesn’t think the recent appeals court decision will make much of a difference.

“We’re not challenging the requirement for a license,” Gura said. But, he added, “there has to be the ability for people to quality for a license.”

I fully believe that a requirement for having a license to carry a concealed firearm is not within the spirit of what our founders would have believed about the Second Amendment, but it probably follows the Joe Huffman Corollary:

Infringed rights extinguished for a generation are probably going to go extinct. Think of machine guns in this country and handguns in the U.K. the odds are very slim that those will be regained via political and/or judicial processes.

I think this is unfortunately true, so I can appreciate Gura’s strategy here.  If we’re not going to get unlicensed carry out of the courts, objective criteria is at least better than what you’ll get in New Jersey, Massachusetts, or Illinois.

8 thoughts on “DC Circuit Rejects DC License Challenge”

  1. I have a question.

    “Bad facts make bad case law”. Lawyers know this. Alan Gura has successfully argued before SCOTUS. He must be a very good lawyer. Why did he take this case? Does he know something we don’t?

  2. I think part of the problem, aside from the fact that it wasn’t until last year that the Supremes acknowledged the Second Amendment existed at all, is that there’s a world of difference between licensing a right and infringing it. Case in point: how many states have found a “fundamental right” not only to marriage but also to gay marriage? By contrast, zero states have ruled that states can’t require a license to marry.

    In this case, I’m puzzled that Gura would have taken the case, but also a bit puzzled that the court ruled as broadly as they did. Typically, in administrative law cases, a plaintiff has to show that he went through the administrative process before his right was denied. Did this guy even try to obtain a license to carry before getting busted for carrying without a license? And if not, why didn’t the court uphold his conviction on that basis alone, without the need to address whether the licensing scheme was too restrictive for the rest of us?

  3. I think your misreading Guru,

    This isn’t about courts making an all or nothing decision on unlicensed carry or machine guns. Its about taking very small incremental baby steps and (unlike the doomed to fail desired strategy of the 3%ers) just biting off the minimal amount.

    Sure, right now he’s not arguing about machine guns or unrestraint carry, but you need strategically build that foundation back one case at a time and eventually you get slam dunk cases that will return unlicensed carry and machine guns.

  4. Balrog: Gura didn’t take the bad case. He was commenting on whether the decision would affect the case he did take.

  5. To be clear, the case that the court ruled on was NOT the Gura case. Having said that, I am also wondering what Gura’s goal is with the Palmer case.

    DC did have a licensing scheme on the books until last December. Then they said “No licensing.” All that DC needs to do to moot this suit is to add the licensing provision back and then just not issue any.

    My only guess is that this is what Gura is planning on. He gets licensing back on the books in DC, and then files another suit from some sympathetic plaintiff saying that by not issuing any licenses, DC is violating his rights. Hopefully, the courts would rule that you be allowed to carry if you meet certain criteria. Ultimately, he may be going for court mandated “shall issue”

  6. DC still has the licensing scheme on the books, IIRC. They just aren’t accepting applications – the window is closed.

  7. Ian, DC does NOT have licensing on the books as of December of last year. They just changed it.

  8. The way I had been given to understand was that the chief had been directed by law to stop accepting applications – a de facto removal of the ability to carry; not that they had removed the law itself. If I’m incorrect I apologize.

    A quick poke via google just says the council removed the chief’s discretionary ability to issue carry permits – which required that the weapon in question be legally registered anyway.

Comments are closed.