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D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals – 2nd Amendment win – Grace v. District of Columbia

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals—“Law-Abiding Citizen’s Right to Bear Common Arms Must Enable The Typical Citizen to Carry a Gun”

On Tuesday, July 25, The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued its anticipated decision in the case of Grace v. District of Columbia, and issued a permanent injunction prohibiting D.C. from enforcing its “good reason” (i.e., a special need beyond self-defense) requirement for the issuance of a CCW.

For decades, Washington D.C. barred residents from even owning or possessing handguns. But after the Supreme Court famously struck down that ban in District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008, D.C. responded by enacting a whole new set of restrictions, including a total ban on carrying firearms in public for self-defense.

This carry ban was ultimately challenged in the case of Palmer v. District of Columbia, and in 2014, a federal district court judge declared the ban unconstitutional. Notably, the Palmer ruling largely relied on the 3-judge panel opinion in the Peruta v. California (formerly Peruta v. County of San Diego) case, which held that restrictions denying law-abiding citizens the right to carry a firearm in public are unconstitutional.

Rather than appeal the Palmer decision and risk a Supreme Court ruling against them, D.C. politicians decided to enact a restrictive and arbitrary “may issue” licensing scheme, much like San Diego’s. The new law required D.C. residents to demonstrate a substantial “good reason” to obtain a permit to carry a concealed firearm. And just like the San Diego Sheriff, D.C. refused to recognize self-defense as a satisfactory reason to obtain a permit—a position some California residents are all too familiar with.

D.C.’s new law prompted even more litigation, and in May 2015, a federal district court issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting D.C. from enforcing its restrictive “good reason” requirement. Unfortunately, that case (Wrenn v. District of Columbia) was litigated before a judge who did not have proper authority to hear the case, which prompted the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to quickly overturn the injunction. In response, with support from the National Rifle Association, several D.C. residents filed another lawsuit, the Grace case. Today the Court ruled in both the Grace and Wrenn cases in a monumental decision that upheld law-abiding citizens right to keep and bear arms.

As stated by the Court, “history matters, and here it favors the plaintiffs.” For in reading the Second Amendment, the Supreme Court’s reason in Heller, and early historical sources, the Court concluded that “the individual right to carrying common firearms beyond the home for self-defense—even in densely populated areas, even for those lacking special self-defense needs—falls within the core of the Second Amendment’s protections.” As a result, the Court ruled D.C.’s restrictive “may issue” policy for the issuance of a CCW permit unconstitutional.

The CRPA Foundation, along with the Western States Sheriffs’ Association, International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association, the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, the Law Enforcement Action Network, the Colorado Police Protective Association, the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors, and the Law Enforcement Alliance of America, Inc., joined the Grace lawsuit as amicus curiae. To read the CRPA Foundation’s amicus brief, click here.

The National Rifle Association of America, Inc., also joined the lawsuit as amicus curiae. To read the NRA’s amicus brief, click here.

NRA and CRPA are fully committed to fighting for the right to keep and bear arms in California and across the nation. To that end, NRA and CRPA have already filed a new lawsuit challenging California’s restrictive “good cause” requirement as well as the state’s general ban on carrying firearms in public, whether openly or concealed. That lawsuit, titled Flanagan v. Harris, is currently in the early stages of litigation. And although the Supreme Court declined to hear the Peruta case, it is only a matter of time before the Second Amendment comes before the Supreme Court again. The Grace case may very well be that vehicle.

Remember: a win on the Second Amendment in any case, anywhere, will benefit California gun owners if it is upheld in the United States Supreme Court. A Supreme Court victory would overturn bad precedent in California, and could lead to “shall issue” in California.

Make sure you are subscribed to NRA and CRPA email alerts to keep informed on Grace and Flanagan, as well as other important Second Amendment issues.


From Citizens Journal

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  1. Despite the protestations of those fearing that the common folks are allowed to carry a firearm while out and about the reality of life is that the thugs, punks, criminals and insane do not abide by laws that the law-abiding folks do leaving the decent folks easy prey for the scum surrounding us.

    I feel safer in my right-to-carry state knowing that there is a possibility than an armed decent person may be nearby to assist an unarmed person under attack by one or more scum.

  2. “Remember: a win on the Second Amendment in any case, anywhere, will benefit California gun owners if it is upheld in the United States Supreme Court. A Supreme Court victory would overturn bad precedent in California, and could lead to “shall issue” in California.”

    No, all a win does is say that those who serve within our governments have a lawful say so over the Rights they are required to PROTECT, not just gun rights, and they do not. That is above the delegated authority to those who serve within our governments.

    Richard Henry Lee: “Whereas, to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them; nor does it follow from this, that all promiscuously must go into actual service on every occasion. The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle; and when we see many men disposed to practice upon it, whenever they can prevail, no wonder true republicans are for carefully guarding against it.” (1788, Initiator of the Declaration of Independence, member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights)

    George Washington: “It may be laid down, as a primary position, and the basis of our system, that EVERY CITIZEN who enjoys the protection of a free government…, but even of his personal services to the defence of it, and consequently that the Citizens of America (with a few legal and official exceptions) from 18 to 50 Years of Age should be borne on the Militia Rolls, PROVIDED WITH UNIFORM ARMS, and so far accustomed to the use of them, that the Total strength of the Country might be called forth at Short Notice on any very interesting Emergency.” (“Sentiments on a Peace Establishment”, letter to Alexander Hamilton; “The Writings of George Washington”)


    Bliss vs. Commonwealth, 12 Ky. (2 Litt.) 90, at 92, and 93, 13 Am. Dec. 251 (1822): “For, in principle, there is no difference between a law prohibiting the wearing of concealed arms, and a law forbidding the wearing such as are exposed; and if the former be unconstitutional, the latter must be so likewise. But it should not be forgotten, that it is not only a part of the right that is secured by the constitution; it is the right entire and complete, as it existed at the adoption of the constitution; and if any portion of that right be impaired, immaterial how small the part may be, and immaterial the order of time at which it be done, it is equally forbidden by the constitution.”

    Nunn vs. State, 1 Ga. (1 Kel.) 243, at 251 (1846): ” `The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’ The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State. Our opinion is that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right.”

    Wilson v. State, 33 Ark. 557, at 560, 34 Am. Rep. 52, at 54 (1878): “To prohibit a citizen from wearing or carrying a war arm … is an unwarranted restriction upon the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general deprivation of constitutional privilege.”

    “It has been well established that the original intent of the 2nd amendment was to enable the people to defend against tyranny which invariably comes in the form of an overbearing and oppressive government. This right to defense is not special to Americans and is a natural right of all peoples.
    In the 70s and 80’s the Afghani militia (the mujahideen) was engaged against tyranny (Soviets). In order to aid them in their fight against their oppressors, the USA sent Stinger shoulder mounted rocket launchers so they could wage an asymmetrical battle against the much better equipped Soviet forces.
    Therefore our own federal government established the precedent that, in the age of a modern military, rocket launchers (Bazookas) fall within the scope of weapons necessary for citizen militias fighting against tyranny – inadvertently making the case that they should be covered under the 2nd amendment.”

    President Andrew Johnson: “Outside of the Constitution we have no legal authority more than private citizens, and within it we have only so much as that instrument gives us. This broad principle limits all our functions and applies to all subjects.”

    Colin Greenwood, in the study “Firearms Control”, 1972: “No matter how one approaches the figures, one is forced to the rather startling conclusion that the use of firearms in crime was very much less when there were no controls of any sort and when anyone, convicted criminal or lunatic, could buy any type of firearm without restriction. Half a century of strict controls on pistols has ended, perversely, with a far greater use of this weapon in crime than ever before.”

    How is it a “win” when those that serve within our governments have no delegated authority over the people and their firearms; how many, what type, etc. The ONLY authority they have is to require that the people be trained as the Congress requires the military to be trained.

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