WASHINGTON, DC —  A ruling announced this morning by the D.C. Circuit Court found that there is a broad right to carry loaded guns in public places and struck down the District’s concealed carry permitting regime. This ruling conflicts with previous rulings by several other Circuit courts, all of which have upheld strong concealed carry licensing regimes that are virtually identical to the District’s. The decision today was a divided 2-1 vote, with a dissent from a judge originally appointed to the federal bench by Ronald Reagan and elevated to the DC Circuit by George HW Bush. It is very likely that the District will ask for full court en banc review.

Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, and its partner organization the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, issued the following reaction:

Robyn Thomas, Executive Director, Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence:

“By striking down Washington D.C.’s concealed-carry-licensing law, today’s decision from the D.C. Circuit undermines public safety and will prevent law enforcement from ensuring that those carrying hidden, loaded guns in the nation’s capital have good reason to do so. The decision is out-of-step not only with every other federal appeals court to consider the issue, but also with centuries of American tradition showing that reasonable gun regulations are fully consistent with the right to keep and bear arms.  And it stands in contrast to last month’s Supreme Court ruling that left in place the well-reasoned opinion from the Ninth Circuit, which upheld a California law indistinguishable from Washington’s.

“We are confident that the full D.C. Circuit will reconsider today’s 2-1 decision and reverse this outlier opinion, and we expect that the Supreme Court will allow D.C.’s commonsense concealed-carry law to stand, as it has done time and again with nearly identical laws. We look forward to working with the District to keep our nation’s capital safe and to overturning this radical decision.”

The Law Center joined an amicus brief coordinated by the Brady Center that defended the constitutionality of the District’s concealed carry regime and argues that this regime does not violate the Second Amendment. The brief also focused on the relevant evidence provided by social science research and the perspective of law enforcement with respect to the regulation of concealed carry in public places. The brief argued that there is a strong policy justification for a concealed carry permitting regime that requires applicants to demonstrate an elevated level of need before a permit may be issued. Read the full brief here.

To speak with a gun violence prevention expert, email [email protected].