DC’s ban on carrying handguns outside the home ruled unconstitutional

Photo by PoPville flickr user mixedeyes


“Today Judge Scullin issued a stay in the case Palmer v. District of Columbia regarding possession of handguns. In light of this, members of the Metropolitan Police Department will resume enforcing all laws related to firearm regulation and crimes. Below is the teletype that was issued to the force this afternoon.

Court Issues Stay of Palmer v. District of Columbia Order

At approximately 1330 hours on July 29, 2014, Judge Frederick J. Scullin, Jr. of the U.S. District Court, issued a stay of his order of July 26, 2014, in Palmer v. District of Columbia. Implementation of his order is delayed for 90 days while the stay is in place. Therefore Teletypes 07-137-14 and 07-138-14 are rescinded. All laws related to firearms regulation and crimes remain in effect.

Although the stay takes effect immediately, we must recognize that members of the public may not be aware that all firearms laws in the District are one again in effect. Officers are reminded to handle all matters regarding firearms with caution, while relying on their professionalism and training to support sound judgment while both serving public safety and respecting the rights of individuals.”

Thanks to all who emailed and tweeted us links to articles about this – from the NY Times:

“A federal judge on Saturday overturned the Washington, D.C., ban on carrying handguns outside the home, saying it was unconstitutional. The court ordered the city to allow residents to carry handguns outside their homes and to let nonresidents carry them as well.”

From the Washington Post:

“However, the D.C. attorney general’s office said it would seek a stay of the ruling while the city decides whether to appeal.

In an order approved by Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier, police were told that District residents are permitted to carry pistols if the weapons are registered. Those who had not registered their handguns could be charged on that ground, the instruction said.”

From Council Member and Democratic Nominee for Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Office:

“Democratic Nominee for Mayor, Councilmember Muriel Bowser, responded to a federal judge who ruled one of the District’s primary gun laws unconstitutional:

“Yesterday’s decision is troubling and poses a serious threat to public safety in the District of Columbia. I’ve spoken to Attorney General Irv Nathan and encouraged him to seek an immediate stay and appeal. I will also work with Chairman Mendelson and my colleagues on any legislative action needed to protect our gun laws. As Democrats, we both respect our constitution and stand with Americans everywhere in calling for responsible gun ownership, registration, and background checks. Public safety remains a top priority and I will continue to fight for laws that protect our residents, reduce violent crime and keep our city safe.

The full decision can be viewed > here.”

From MPD Chief Lanier:

“Below you will find legal guidance that I have issued to members of the Metropolitan Police Department in light of the Palmer versus DC ruling regarding possession of firearms. I think this guidance should be helpful to the community as well. As I have stated, these are complicated legal issues and the answers that can be provided are provided here. The legal team continues to work on additional clarifications from the ruling and in the mean-time have asked that we not comment any further.

This Teletype is being issued to provide additional guidance to Teletype #07-137-14 issued yesterday on firearms enforcement in light of the Palmer vs. DC ruling. Unfortunately, this ruling has left many unanswered legal questions that are currently being reviewed by the OAG. The guidance below is to assist members in making immediate enforcement decisions until these legal issues have been resolved. This ruling only applies to handguns and does not apply to long guns or shot guns which are still illegal to carry in the District. It is important to remember our job as law enforcement officers is to enforce laws and regulations that are in effect.

Difference between possession of a firearm and criminal offense committed with a firearm

Under the current ruling, possession of a firearm outside of the home or business in and of itself MAY NOT be criminal. For example, a District resident that has a legally registered firearm may legally possess it outside of the home or business. However, District residents are still PROHIBITED from possessing a firearm that is not legally registered in the District. District law requires proof of registration. (See below for proof of registration).

These changes do not prohibit officers from making arrests for crimes committed with a firearm or seizing weapons used in a criminal act.

If one is a non-District resident, legal possession of a handgun in the District is based on the laws of their home state or in the state in which a person has a valid permit to carry. Additional information on the laws in other jurisdictions will be forthcoming. In the mean-time contact the 24- hour information line listed below.

Under District and Federal law, it is still a crime for the following individuals to possess a firearm at any time.

Convicted felon
Fugitive from Justice
Anyone under a CPO requiring them to relinquish firearms
Under 18 years of age

Discharging a firearm on public space continues to be a criminal offense.

Transportation in an automobile

Transporting a firearm within the District of Columbia is not a violation of the law as long as one can legally possess the firearm using the criteria listed above.


Officers need reasonable, articulable, suspicion of a crime in order to conduct a stop of a person in possession of a firearm.

Searches and Seizures

Probable cause is still required for arrests, searches and seizures.

Firearm Possession on Private Property

Nothing in this ruling restricts business or property owners from prohibiting possession of firearms on private property. Refusal to comply with a property owners request to leave can result in arrest for Unlawful Entry.

Officer Safety

We understand that the immediate implementation of this ruling creates safety concerns for our members and our community. We are confident that our members will continue to use their training and experience to exercise caution in every interaction in the course of their duties. Until further action is taken by the courts and or legislature to clarify the legal issues, I am confident that the professionalism and sound judgment of our members will continue to serve the best interest of public safety while respecting individual rights.

24 – Hour Guidance

Until further notice members having questions about enforcement can contact the CIC on 202-727-9099 to be connected to an on call member of our legal staff.”

105 Comment

  • brookland_rez

    In theory, I agree with gun control. However, when you have a neighboring state like Virginia with really loose gun laws, the criminals don’t care about DC laws and have easy access to guns from VA and MD. How the laws are currently implemented, it just ends up keeping guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens. As long as things are the way they are, I support gun rights for DC citizens.
    What we really need are gun control laws on a nation-wide basis. This isn’t the wild west anymore. Hunters should have access to firearms for hunting. People that live out somewhere without police protection should have access to guns. In general, there needs to be a lot more controls in place federally.

    • Ah, the ole “gun control only keeps guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens” canard. Thanks for making an appearance.

      • I dunno; I think it’s great, because you always know who the good guy with the gun is.

      • Ah, the old “you clearly didn’t read the entire post” response, because you missed this jewel which rarely appears in gun rights arguments: “What we really need are gun control laws on a nation-wide basis.”

        And that’s spot on. As long as gun laws in one state or locality are loose, the tightened regulations in other states and localities will be useless…

        • brookland_rez

          Thank you.

        • Agree. Without nationwide gun laws, the local laws are pretty useless. I don’t think DC criminals are having a particularly rough time getting weapons. That said, having a gun doesn’t make me feel particularly safer, neither does the thought of fellow law-abiding citizens being armed. The likelihood that you’ll have a gun available in time to defend yourself and that there won’t be other innocent people as collateral damage is pretty tiny. Without nationwide restrictions on firearm access, we just end up with more guns floating around, and more guns equal more gun violence, even if the original purchaser does so through legal means.

    • Brookland- Res, what are law abiding citizens to do to protect themselves from hoodlums? The Metropolitan Police Department aren’t protecting us. The police don’t show up until after a crime has been committed. Most of us don’t see police in our neighborhoods. I am glad the Judge struck down DC handgun laws. I will be purchasing me a hand gun and going to the range learning how to use it. I don’t feel safe in DC and too many thugs have guns to prey on the innocent.

      • brookland_rez

        Did you read my post?
        ” As long as things are the way they are, I support gun rights for DC citizens.”
        I agree with you.

      • “I will be purchasing me a hand gun and going to the range learning how to use it.”
        Fortunately, DC requires you to do those in reverse order.

  • Well, this can’t be good – we certainly don’t need any more guns in the city. At the same time, I highly doubt that criminals are registering their weapons.

    • This ruling will not make it any easier to obtain and register a firearm in DC. It will only give you the right to use your registered firearm outside of your home for self defense.

      • It applies to out of state gun owners, too, so it can certainly add lots more guns to the city. It’s a terrible decision.

        • This only applies to guns legally registered in DC so above is entirely incorrect

          • You are wrong. “The court ordered the city to allow residents to carry handguns outside their homes and to let nonresidents carry them as well.”

        • From what I understand, the District will be required to provide out-of-state residents a system to (1.) register their gun and (2.) provide licensing for CCW. The District is not required to provide automatic recognition of reciprocity of other states. The court is basically telling the District to create hoops for these out-of-state gun owners to jump through. And, of course, I expect the District to make those hoops very onerous and expensive.

  • It’s important to note that Palmer’s impetus in bringing this case was because he once had to brandish a gun to ward off a mob attempting to beat he and a friend because they were gay. Good on Palmer and Alan Gura for bringing and sticking with the case over the course of the multiple years this case has taken to end the complete ban.

    • A lot of people don’t realize that the impetus of the gun case was to combat gay bashing. Unfortunately this ruling doesn’t make it easier to register a handgun in DC. While handguns are now “legal” the government has setup a system to arcane and time consuming that they basically make it impossible to get a handgun.

      • I didn’t have too much trouble getting my handgun registered. Sure it is long and tedious, but owning a gun should not be an “easy” process. I don’t think the requirements to prove you could shoot a target, have a background check, and ballistics test to have on file in the case the gun was stolen are that bad. We don’t just give someone a drivers license because they think they deserve one, do we? No, we make them, take classes and prove they can drive.

        • Can we get Maryland to do this whole “take classes and prove they can drive” thing?

        • If there was a licensing procedure to become a parent, we might not need guns to protect ourselves from a legion of poorly raised knuckleheads.

          • I’ve had an Orwellian fantasy for a long time of tap water sterilizing people with an antidote easily obtainable to anyone who takes the parenting equivalent of a driving test.
            I don’t think you need a rigorous test to make it hard for people who want children; just make it harder for people to have unwanted children (not to mention this would be free birth control).
            Still don’t think deregulation of guns is good though.

          • You should probably not say that out loud or on the internet ever again. And try to never think it again either – OK?
            Really creepy.

          • brookland_rez


        • I’m sorry but driving is a privilege and owning a gun is a right. Why should I have to jump through hopes to do something I was given as a right when this country was founded?

      • Who cares what the impetus was?
        I don’t care if it is arming babies against candy snatchers I’d rather not have a bunch of tourists walking around the city with guns.

        • You think there are going to be tourists that establish a residence here and then wait weeks for the paperwork to go through to legally have their handguns registered in DC so they can take a trip to the Smithsonian?

          • 1st paragraph:
            “The court ordered the city to allow residents to carry handguns outside their homes and to let nonresidents carry them as well.”
            So unless I’m missing something anyone with a license in their state will be legally able to carry here.
            Tourists with guns what could go wrong?

        • I don’t think a gun license works like a drivers license. Just because you have a carry permit in your state of residence does not mean it would transfer over to be legal in DC.

          • “The court ordered the city to allow residents to carry handguns outside their homes and to let nonresidents carry them as well.”
            What does the last part of this sentence mean then?

          • First of all, a “gun license” in most states means a concealed carry permit. In many states you can openly carry a gun without any permit, but need one to carry it concealed. Many states have reciprocity with other states, but it’s not a national system like a drivers license.
            I haven’t read the opinion, but I assume it allows you to carry a gun openly in DC, not concealed. There’s no constitutional right to carry a concealed weapon.

          • Dunning, it means that the District must setup a system for resident and nonresidents to (1.) license their handgun and (2.) be able to carry it here, if they wish. My guess is that the District will make it quite onerous and expensive for nonresidents to do that. The court is just stating that the District must have a regulatory structure in place for residents and nonresidents; it is not dictating what the standards of that regulatory structure should be. The status quo of “banned, due to no regulatory structure” is not legal, according to the court.

          • Makes sense thanks for the clarification.
            Hopefully they do make it onerous. The idea of tourists with guns is pretty scary, and they will want them. Even in this thread there are residents of DC who seem to still believe we live in bad old days DC. Tourists are even less likely to be up to date on the enormous drop in violent crime.

    • I’m sure that was a traumatic and scary experience for him. It must have been, since it happened in San Jose in 1982 and is apparently still on his mind here in DC every day, thirty years later. But the fact that someone, somewhere may have had a good experience brandishing a gun at some possible criminals doesn’t mean that having more guns carried on the streets of DC is a good idea.

      • I don’t think feelings are at issue here. It’s that he might have been beaten or killed for being if San Jose’s laws were as restrictive as those (formerly) found in the District.

  • Remember this case wasn’t about whether you can own a gun in DC, it was whether you could carry it outside your home. So now anyone walking around DC – possibly including the Mall? – will get to see people with pistols strapped to their legs, and then get to wonder whether those people are going to be threats. Super.

  • I never imagined myself a gun owner until I moved into the district. After I discovered that MPD and City Council have made laws that prevent officers from stopping loitering and being really permissive to perpetrators, not victims, I registered and got myself a gun. Keep in mind that this decision came after being caught in the crossfire at the Park View rec Center a number of years back. Additionally, a drug dealer from the rec center was given my name by an officer, and the dealer drove by my house and called me a faggot while I was in my yard. Oh well, let him come into my house….

    With that in mind, I will feel much better walking my dog near Warder and Quebec, where a neighbor was flashed a knife last week when he asked the crowd of 10 people to keep it down after 11:30pm, if I am packing.

    People want guns because of Phil Mendelson, city council, and Cathy Lanier, and the laws they supported for the district!

    • So they’ll flash their knife and you’ll pull your gun, then what? You hope none of them have guns and then run in terror or do you start shooting them if they keep making noise?

      • No, I would not pull a gun on someone who flashed a knife at me. I wouldn’t even show them my gun. I would, however, pull out my gun if he pulled out his knife. What, you think I should let the guy stab me? Or even threaten to stab me?

        • Can’t we find some middle ground between letting people stab us and killing them for pulling out a knife? And what if one of his friends has a gun too? So he pulled his knife, you pulled your gun, they pull their guns, I just don’t see any way that pulling a gun on someone is going to have a happy ending here.

          • Are you kidding me? You want a middle ground with someone who pulls a knife? I say shoot em and good riddance! One less knife-puller is a win for everyone (except people who like getting stabbed).

        • You contradict yourself… the subtext of flashing a knife is clearly threat of stabbing. One you say you would not pull out your gun, the other I think you are saying you would.
          Explain why we should all (including you) be less safe so you can feel safer?
          More guns in a crossfire is clearly a more dangerous scenario and your other two stories are about intimidation not physical danger. None of your anecdotes make a strong case for gun ownership. They make you sound like a paranoid person with a victim complex, get over yourself and grow a pair, no one is targeting you for violence, you don’t need a gun, if you get one you’ll probably be too scared to use it or so scared you use it incorrectly.

          • Accountering

            I do think the carrying in public is insane. There have been zero instances where I ever would have felt safer had I been carrying a gun in public. There were a half dozen instances on the drive from NYC back to DC where I would have felt a lot safer had there been one less NJ/MD driver on the road. That is where innocent people are getting killed…

        • So now you’ve confronted a person you don’t know in the street, they made it clear that they will defend themself from you, and and that is a crime worthy of summary execution in your eyes?

    • While I am sympathetic to what has happened to you in the past. This is what worries me about many gun owners who argue for their self-defense. “Oh well, let him come into my house….” sounds a lot like a threat/desire to use your gun either against this particular individual or someone else in a similar instance. I understand wanting to defend yourself should the situation happen, however, in this case it sounds like you are looking for a chance either to justify your possession of a gun or to a more extreme extent a slight desire to avenge a wrong through violence. I fear many pro-gun advocates have a desire to use their guns to their fullest extent, death. When I hear arguments of home self-defense, it often sounds like the gun owners wish to kill whoever enters their house unlawfully. If a gun should be used, killing should not be the first goal, I believe it first should be used as a warning, then injury, and only if all other options are exhausted, killing in self-defense. I do not support burglary or breaking and entering, but the fantasy of the murderous intruder is over-exaggerated. It scares me that so many are so open to killing in self-defense as an immediate reaction.

      • Accountering

        Meh, this doesn’t scare me in the least. This is the limited time when gun use is IMMINENTLY justified. If someone comes into your house uninvited in the middle of the night, they deserve everything they get and more. If someone enters your home uninvited, and you decide to use force, of course it should be deadly force. Too many homeowners are killed with their own guns in home invasions. If you arm yourself in your home, and then go to confront a burglarer, you should 100% be intending to kill him. Fight or flight, but not half-fight.

      • I think you are making assumptions about my motives to hang on to idealistic beliefs. I take having a gun in my house very seriously, and it is their in hopes that I never have to use it. It scares me that some many people want innocent people to be harmed unnecessarily. It scares me that people like you do not put the ownership of a situation like this on the criminal. Again, its also about the laws the city council has passed, supported by MPD, that give all the leverage to the criminal. I can name 5 – 10 other corners with the exact same situation where residents are the ones being threatened and no one in city government is doing anything about it. before you say “why don’t you move”….well, I shouldn’t have to and I don’t want to is my answer.

        • Accountering

          Totally agree. Lets remember, OP is simply in his home, causing no one any issues. The intruder is the one who would make the brazen (and possibly fatal) decision to break into OPs home. Lets leave the responsibility for the intruders stupid decision where it belongs, in the hands of the intruder, and his alone.

          • In principle I agree with your right to defend yourself against an intruder, but now that you’ve pulled your handgun and are shooting, how are those bullets definitely hitting him/her and not coming through the apartment wall to hit me? Want to spray shotgun pellets in your apt go ahead, but you don’t need a handgun to defend yourself. Principle is not reality.

          • Accountering

            Meh, you are arguing semantics. Sure, if it is a shotgun, than that is fine. I don’t particularly care what the weapon of choice is. My argument was simply that if you choose to arm yourself in your home, and then go to confront an intruder, it should with the intention of taking a life – because otherwise he is going to take your life.

    • While I am sympathetic to what has happened to you in the past, this is what worries me about many gun owners who argue for their self-defense. “Oh well, let him come into my house….” sounds a lot like a threat/desire to use your gun either against this particular individual or someone else in a similar instance. I understand wanting to defend yourself should the situation happen, however, in this case it sounds like you are looking for a chance either to justify your possession of a gun or to a more extreme extent, a slight desire to avenge a wrong through violence. I fear many pro-gun advocates have a desire to use their guns to their fullest extent, death. When I hear arguments of home self-defense, it often sounds like the gun owners wish to kill whoever enters their house unlawfully. If a gun should be used, killing should not be the first goal, I believe it first should be used as a warning, then injury, and only if all other options are exhausted, killing in self-defense. I do not support burglary or breaking and entering, but the fantasy of the murderous intruder is over-exaggerated. It scares me that so many are so open to killing in self-defense as an immediate reaction.

  • There are many, many reasons why letting people carry guns is a terrible idea.
    In a rational society the only people we would see walking around with guns are police and criminals. Makes it real easy to recognize that someone is up to no good.
    That person has a gun. Are they a cop?
    Yes – OK, nothing to worry about
    No – I better call the police
    But with anyone allowed to carry a gun wherever they want you have no idea if the random person with a gun is a threat until they start shooting.

    • yup. i would freak out if i saw someone in the grocery store with a gun, or on the metro. no thank you.

      • The thing is you probably won’t see the gun. Most people are going to carry concealed in a holster tucked into their waistband, like off duty law enforcement officers/federal agents do. How often have you spotted that?

    • In a rational society, cops wouldn’t shoot barking dogs, choke men with asthma to death or need military-grade weapons and vehicles. But we don’t live in a rational society. I certainly don’t want only cops to be allowed to carry guns.

  • Great, because we don’t already have enough trigger-happy idiots toting guns around 24/7 in DC. I really hope that this loses on the appeal.

  • I would like to see a poll of DC voters thoughts on this. Clearly there are plenty of people on both sides of this issue, but from my conversations I would think DC is heavily in favor of the gun control law and that the majority of the push to ban it is coming from people who don’t reside in dc.

    • The great thing about constitutionally protected freedoms like this is that the trend is leaning away from the majority getting to limit the rights of the few. Just like conservative states didn’t get to keep segregation [though a majority of residents were probably in favor of it]. More recently those conservative states have been increasingly unable to place limitations on marriage equality or a women’s right to choose. Don’t like gun right? Don’t carry a gun. Virginia has had extremely liberal gun laws and a simple concealed carry permit process for decades, and we don’t see gunfights in Rosslyn or Tysons. Philly, Seattle, Austin and many other large cities allow concealed carry without any drama. In the end this really isn’t as big of a deal as everyone’s making it out to be. Felons or anyone with domestic violence charges are still prohibited from carrying a weapon. life will go on.

      • I don’t want to be surrounded by people carrying guns though. I don’t know those people, I don’t know their intentions, I don’t know anything about their mental stability or if they’d consider loud music coming from a car to be an imminent threat to their safety. There is no good reason for people to have the ability to take life at a distance while going about their daily routine. I shouldn’t have to worry that saying something to a rude person could result in having my life threatened. The requirements for a gun permit in some states are too lenient and now we have to let any of those people walk around our city wielding deadly force. In the “wild west” you had to turn your guns in when you entered town, why can’t our city decide for ourselves that we don’t want people carrying weapons everywhere?

  • Blah Blah Blah Bowser…

  • It is just a district court decision. This will get appealed up to SCOTUS, so I would not worry about it for a few years.

    • I think MPD has stopped enforcing the outside gun ban (if your gun is registered) until this is sorted out.

      • Right. The judgment didn’t come with a stay. It took effect immediately. Now the city is trying to get a stay while they try to figure out if they will appeal.

        As I read the police order, in the interim, people who have handguns registered in DC can carry them in public. People from outside the city who possess handguns legally according to the laws of their home jurisdictions and are not convicted felons can carry in DC. Anyone, DC resident or not, who is not in compliance with whatever their local requirements are for legal gun ownership can still be arrested if they are found with a gun.

        That’s just the state of things temporarily. I hope there is a stay soon, before the city sees an influx of legal gun holders from nearby states gathering here with their guns just because they can.

  • More people carrying guns in a city already plagued with violent crime – what could possibly go wrong?

    • I wouldn’t describe DC as “plagued” by violent crime. The odds of you getting shot here are pretty low. Now in the early 90s, those were the days….

      • It really is funny how many people still perpetuate the mythology of DC as this crime-ridden hellhole. Like the past 15 years of significant crime reduction never happened.

        • those many people have no clue where the city was 15 years ago

          they have no clue that the nice 1br appt they rent is on land that used to be a war zone

      • When there are shootings on a monthly basis within a block of my house, I’m not prone to care whether things were terrible in the 90s or not. Congrats on living through it, but that doesn’t mean I should live through it now.

  • I dont agree with the NRA inspired reading of the 2nd Amendment. I also think most pro-gun-everywhere people are over hormone-ized freak shows. However, I’m having a hard time understanding how this type of gun control, especially piecemeal and fragmented is good public policy or enforceable. Sure, some of it works in europe where the populations are more homogeneous and the countries are much smaller. Maybe if all of us grew up in the ashes of thousands of years of war, we’d think about these things differently, but our country was founded on an armed rebellion, so its not really the same collective mindset.

    Criminals won’t care that its illegal to carry a gun. We have a hard enough time with the budget and manpower to enforce the laws which are easier to enforce… the whole thing just doesnt make good sense. It does create an environment that criminalizes the mundane and unremarkable choice to own a handgun… but on the otherhand, so many of the people who want to own handguns are entitled, strange, borderline unhinged…

    So basically, I am undecided, but when these types of decisions come down, they dont bother me at all.

    • gotryit

      I agree. I consider myself a gun control agnostic. I find the arguments of both sides to be flawed.

      But I have a hard time with the hypocrisy of someone else telling us what to do. First, allow all weapons everywhere in your state capitol, house, senate, military bases, etc. What’s that? Can’t do it because…safety, security, blah blah blah. OK – then don’t tell us how to handle our own business.

  • Just as I was angered by the Supreme Court ruling against the Massachusetts law re: buffer zones for facilities that offer abortions — when they have buffer zones of their own, I’m angered by the thought that congressmen who supposedly believe in minimal government intervention have decided to press their own political and personal agendas on citizens that they don’t directly represent. If DC citizens with registered guns — folks with registered guns who may come from states with far more lenient registration standards than DC has — can walk around with their guns in public spaces,, I would like to see guns allowed at the Capitol building — a public space that presumably belongs to us all. It would be pretty awesome if the end result of this was to tighten federal standards for owning and carrying guns.
    The pool of available guns for illegal use is now likely to be larger and easier to access — by criminals, by kids, and by bozos with short fuses and a low tolerance for “disrespect”. Malcolm X had some interesting things to say about the chickens coming home to roost.

  • jim_ed

    I don’t have an issue with DC RESIDENTS carrying registered handguns for self defense – DC still has a time/effort intensive gun registration process and strict laws on the legality of using lethal self defense. What does worry me is the blanket reciprocity to other states that make carrying a gun easier than registering to vote and their yahoo residents coming into the city with a chip on their shoulder to shoot some undesirables (democrats, minorities, gays, etc) . I assume (hope?) that carrying firearms is still illegal on the federally owned land in the city.

    I think the local effect on crime will be minimal. Its well documented how easy it is for criminals to obtain handguns from straw buyers coming through Virginia, it wouldn’t make any sense for them to carry a DC registered firearm legally.

    • gotryit

      Yikes… imagine Florida tourists on the metro during rush hour…
      “Excuse me, stand to the right walk to the le–”

    • jim_ed

      Considering an armed group of the lunatic fringe tried to march on DC last year, similar groups have threatened blockades of our roads using semis, and there’s an armed militia threatening to shoot government agents in Nevada, I would say that this is a very real and valid threat for city residents. If you think the loons who buy into this ideology give a damn if you’re Joe who works at a non-profit treating cholera cases in Haiti or Joe the BATF agent, then I’ve got some beachfront property in Petworth I’d like to sell you.

      The fact is, our city has been continually demonized as the root of all evil, a modern day Sodom crossed with Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, and Rehoboth Beach by a large minority on the right. These are the same people who champion “shoot first, ask later” in their own states, and now they can bring their guns carte blanche into our city. I think its perfectly reasonable to find this concerning.

      • I can’t tell if you’re just messing with this guy.
        You think a DC handgun ban is what has been preventing these scenarios? I think it’s that they don’t want to be more than a few minutes away from their bunkers with ammo and food.
        And gay marriage. That’s probably been keeping a bunch of them away. It creeps them out. Thank you gay marriage.

        • jim_ed

          I’d say that the DC ban on open carry is absolutely what kept Adam Kokesh and his legion of delusional sociopathic “oathkeepers” from marching in the city – If you recall, he tried to make a martyr of himself by brandishing a loaded shotgun in Freedom Plaza and was arrested for it. Now, this is technically legal.

        • And you think he was going to shoot you? I have plenty of nutty relatives, but they’re not going to shoot anyone.

  • This will make it more difficult for police to enforce against illegal guns on the street. And yes, I have a registered DC firearm but don’t think it is a good idea for me to be carrying it around with me on my trips to the supermarket

  • So the immediate effect of this law will be the out of state license holders., or not. Given that the District recently loosened its rules on handgun registration, there are not that many registered guns in DC. However, I imagine there will be tons of people from out of state brandishing firearms at Chipotle until they pass a new carry law for DC.

    In Vermont, you don’t even need a license for a gun. You just need to prove you’re a US citizen. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws_in_Vermont

    I won’t wade into the gun control fight. I will just say that those unregistered guns carried by criminals were all legal at one time until they found their way into a trunk and were sold out of the back of a car for cold hard cash.

    • In most states you don’t”even need a license for a gun.” Most states only require you to get a permit if you’re going to carry a concealed weapon. You can own guns without any license or permit in almost all states. DC and some east coast states are the exceptions, not the rule.

    • To pick up on AnonMPD’s comment “[T]hose unregistered guns carried by criminals were all legal at one time until they found their way into a trunk and were sold out of the back of a car for cold hard cash” — the Washington Post did a fascinating series of articles on illegal guns. The series name is “The Hidden Life of Guns,” and you can find it here:

      • Oops, that was me above.
        One of the really interesting things I learned from those articles is that most guns recovered in crimes come from a very small portion — like 1% — of all gun sellers. However, the NRA has done its best to prevent the ATF from investigating that 1%.

  • If I see a person with a gun, and that person is not clearly a police officerm I am going to call the police. Every single time. I can’t possibly tell if he or she has good or bad intentions, and I am not going to wait around and risk someone being shot to find out.

    • I think that is the problem here — the police won’t be able to do anything about it. If it’s no longer illegal, on its face, to carry a gun in public, then the mere act of carrying a gun in public doesn’t give an officer any pretext for a stop and/or search.

      Unless there is something that says gun owners in DC must present their gun license when requested by a DC officer, which is quite possible.

  • Agreed. The reality is this: based on the experience of other states with concealed carry laws this decision will neither cause gun crime to go up nor will cause lots of crime to be thwarted by gun-carrying good citizens. This is simply not a big deal, but lots of people will nonetheless freak out because “OMG guns.” I say this as someone who doesn’t own a gun nor who has any desire to get one.

  • Putting the substance aside for a moment, am I the only one annoyed by Bowser “acting like mayor” over 3 months before the election?

  • This ruling is great news for those who want a safer city.

    Criminals will no longer know if they an overpower their “weaker” victims (women, gays, the elderly).

    Is that woman packing? Who knows? Better to smash a car window instead of risk an attack on a possibly armed person.

    And all told, I’d rather criminals have a disincentive to attack people even if it means they are more likely to commit other crimes against property instead.

    Expect the assault and murder rates to continue to drop after this ruling.

    • It won’t do anything to the murder rate in DC because the murders are almost always between criminals, related to drugs or gangs. You hear about it in the news a few times a year when it isn’t.

  • not looking forward to the next glenn beck rally on the mall.

  • This is bad. I want guns out of this city.

  • Too bad most NRA enthusiasts are narrow minded holding onto a right that was created for a completely different time and society. Nobody wants to take your precious over compensating guns, just allow background checks and perhaps a waiting period. Call me crazy but don’t see the ‘right’ to carry a semi automatic for recreation in the city as reasonable.

  • Why don’t the Gung ho NRA rights activists allow guns in their buildings if it makes everyone safer. Let me try bringing one into where they passed the actual bill and see what happens

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