The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heard two cases challenging the District of Columbia’s restrictive gun carry law on Tuesday.
Washington, D.C. passed the law after its previous complete ban on gun carry was struck down as unconstitutional. The law requires that anyone applying for a gun carry permit must demonstrate a specific threat to their life before police will grant a permit. Plaintiffs in the two cases, Wrenn v. D.C. and Grace v. D.C., argue that this clause, often referred to as the “good reason” clause, infringes on their Second Amendment rights and is unconstitutional.
Two district court judges disagreed over that argument. The appeals court decided to hear the cases back-to-back on the same day to consolidate and streamline the hearing process. The court will decide whether or not it will grant a preliminary injunction against the law.
The arguments all relied heavily on the precedents set in landmark Supreme Court cases Heller and McDonald, which struck down gun bans in D.C. and Chicago, respectively.
Judge Thomas B. Griffith asked the plaintiffs’ lawyers why the long-standing prohibitions on carrying firearms in places such as schools or government buildings should be considered any different than prohibitions on carrying firearms anywhere else in public. He labeled the city’s argument that prohibitions on gun carry in rural areas may be unconstitutional but not those in urban areas as “absurd.”