Alan Gura and SAF 2nd Suit against DC

By Dean Weingarten

Alan Gura
Alan Gura
Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona – -( The wheels of justice in the District of Columbia are turning exceedingly slowly in enforcing the second amendment of the Constitution.  It was shortly after the Heller decision in 2008, that Alan Gura and SAF filed suit in what has become the Palmer case in the District of Columbia.    That suit was filed in August of 2009, only a little more than a year after Heller was decided in June of 2008.   It took almost exactly five years to get a ruling in the Palmer case.  Alan Gura, during that period, filed two petitions for a writ of mandamus.

After the Palmer ruling, D.C. has resisted following the court’s orders, and has appealed the case.   That lawsuit is still ongoing.  Now SAF and Alan Gura have filed another lawsuit, based on the law that was passed by D.C. to prevent the issue of almost all carry permits, while allowing a tiny number to actually be issued, all at the whim of the police chief.  From SAF:

BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation today filed a federal lawsuit challenging the District of Columbia’s highly restrictive concealed carry permit requirement that applicants provide a “good reason” before such a permit is issued, which violates the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. SAF is joined by three private citizens, Brian Wrenn and Joshua Akery, both of Washington, D.C., and Tyler Whidby, a Florida resident who also maintains a residence in Virginia. The city and Police Chief Cathy Lanier are named as defendants.

The lawsuit asserts that “individuals cannot be required to prove a ‘good reason’ or ‘other proper reason’ for the exercise of fundamental constitutional rights, including the right to keep and bear arms.” All three individual plaintiffs in the case have applied for District carry permits and have been turned down by Lanier because they could not “Demonstrate a good reason to fear injury to person or property.”

“The city’s requirements to obtain a carry permit are so restrictive in nature as to be prohibitive to virtually all applicants,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “It’s rather like a ‘Catch 22,’ in which you can apply all day long, but no reason is sufficiently good enough for Chief Lanier to issue a permit.

“Because of that,” he added, “the city has set the bar so high that it relegates a fundamental civil right to the status of a heavily-regulated government privilege. That is not only wrong, it also does not live up to previous court rulings. Law-abiding citizens who clear background checks and are allowed to have handguns in their homes are being unnecessarily burdened with the additional requirement of proving some special need.

“The last time we checked,” Gottlieb concluded, “we had a Bill of Rights that applied to the entire nation, including the District. It’s not, and never has been, a ‘Bill of Needs’.”

The lawsuit is well crafted and worth reading, but it is 14 pages long.  Here is the last numbered paragraph before the prayer for relief, that sums up the detailed and well presented argument.  From the lawsuit:

 40. D.C. Code § 22-4506(a)’s grant of discretion to refuse the issuance of licenses to carry handguns (“may issue”); its requirement that handgun carry license applicants have a “good reason to fear injury to his or her person or property or has any other proper reason for carrying a pistol;” the requirements of D.C. Code § 7-2509.11 that the Police Chief issue rules to establish the criteria for “good reason” and “other proper reason” for carrying a handgun, including the minimum requirements set forth therein; and 24 D.C.M.R. §§ 2333.1, 2333.2, 2333.3, 2333.4 and 2334.1, each violate the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and are invalid and unlawful (1) on their face; and (2) as applied to the individual plaintiffs and other law-abiding, responsible members of SAF who otherwise would qualify for a Washington, D.C. license to carry a handgun, damaging Plaintiffs in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiffs are therefore entitled to declaratory and injunctive relief against the enforcement of these provisions.

In the prayer for relief, Alan Gura asks the court to stop denying handgun carry licenses (that meet the non-discretionary requirements);  stop enforcing the “good reason” requirement for handgun carry licenses;  grant attorney fees and costs; and authorise any other penalties and payments that the judge may think appropriate.

c2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten;

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.