Judge Says D.C. Residents Don’t Need “Good Reason” for Concealed-Carry Permits

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A federal judge in Washington, D.C. ruled Tuesday that part of D.C.’s new gun law, which requires that individuals must show “good reason” to get a concealed-carry permit for firearms, is unconstitutional.

In his ruling, District Judge Richard J. Leon called the requirement “inconsistent” with the Second Amendment and put in place a preliminary injunction to stop its enforcement in the District. In order to hold a concealed-carry firearm in the District, residents need to go through a multi-step application process to obtain a concealed-carry license (open carry is out of the question in the city). A part of this process requires applicants to demonstrate a “good reason” for why they would need to carry. For example, a resident could demonstrate a “good reason to fear injury to a person or property,” such as threats or attacks, or the need to carry a gun for employment purposes.

Judge Leon called the law “overly zealous,” and stated that it “likely places an unconstitutional burden”on the constitutional right to bear arms.

The ruling stems from a case filed late last year by Matthew Grace, a D.C. resident and a member the Pink Pistols, a guns rights group that describes itself as “an international organization dedicated to the legal, safe, and responsible use of firearms for the self-defense of the sexual-minority community.” The group claims that the “good reason” clause is a “travesty of justice” and filed a lawsuit against the District of Columbia claiming that the law was unconstitutional.

So what does this mean for D.C. residents? The injunction puts a hold on the “good reason” requirement for the time being, which will make it easier for applicants to receive concealed-carry permits. The law has only granted 74 permits since the law was put into place in 2014, so D.C. will likely have more concealed weapons on its streets.

If and how this ruling has an impact on gun violence in the city remains to be seen, but this is a major development for guns rights activists.

Mariam Jaffery
Mariam was an Executive Assistant at Law Street Media and a native of Northern Virginia. She has a B.A. in International Affairs with a minor in Business Administration from George Washington University. Contact Mariam at



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