An appeals court overturned DC’s practical ban on conceal carry permits – under a fraudulently implemented legal standard that, in practice, prohibited concealed carry licenses from being issued in DC. However, the legal implications for permit holders was still deeply confusing as the courts and the municipal government struggle to find what comes next.
John Lott, the head of the Crime Prevention Research Center, in a report mentioned that a provision in the city’s gun carry law 1000 – foot gun free zone around a number of public constructions like, schools, parks, arcades, youth centers, libraries, or some public housing areas may apply to those who carry a valid gun carry permit.
In his report he wrote, “As we have previously noted, prohibiting concealed handguns within 1,000 feet of a school can in some states essentially amount to a concealed carry ban. Technically, D.C. allows permitted concealed carry, but the law is written in such a way that it would ban permit holders from carrying in virtually the entire District. Even the 124 people who are legally permitted to carry are really currently banned from carrying virtually everywhere.”
Lott further said that the legality of carrying guns in these areas hangs off the interpretation of a very confusing section on the exceptions to the gun-free zones in observation. The code reads, “The provisions of this section shall not apply to a person legally licensed to carry a firearm in the District of Columbia who lives or works within 1,000 feet of a gun-free zone.”
Lott said it’s unclear who this section exempts from the disputed gun-free zones but “the most likely interpretation of the law is that you can carry in gun-free zones that include your home or business, but not in other gun-free zones that are spread across the District.”
When asked about Lott’s own interpretation of the city’s gun-free zone provision, the MPD first referred to the questions to the attorney general.
“We released a Frequently Asked Questions document (available here) to advise the public on the District’s regime for concealed carry following the D.C. Circuit’s ruling. It indicates where permit holders may and may not carry concealed handguns. We are confident in the constitutionality of the District’s remaining gun laws, and we stand by them,” a spokesman for the attorney general, Robert Marus said.
The Second Amendment Foundation, which acted as a plaintiff in this case against the city’s gun-carry law that had led to the city being forced to issue permits to only the qualified applicants, said it is further investigating the legal actions in regards to these gun-free zones.
“The gun-free zones in D.C. make it very hard to carry a legal firearm for self-protection. Not impossible but very difficult. We are looking at possible legal action,” Alan Gottlieb, the group’s founder said.