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D.C. Not Appealing Concealed Carry Case to SCOTUS

By George Khoury, Esq. on October 09, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In what has come as a surprise to many gun control advocates, the District of Columbia's attorney general has announced that the district will not be appealing the decision to strike down their concealed carry permit scheme to the Supreme Court.

The decision not to file the SCOTUS appeal, though disappointing to many, provides some limited peace of mind to other jurisdictions across the country that have imposed similar restrictions on concealed carry permits. D.C. AG Karl Racine explained that the D.C. Circuit opinion may be bad for D.C., but if SCOTUS upheld the circuit opinion, it would be devastating for the entire nation, as that precedent would be binding nationwide.

Good Reason to Forgo SCOTUS Appeal?

After the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to rehear the matter en banc, commentators fully expected an appeal to the High Court. However, with the recent shooting, and current divide in popular opinion on gun control, Racine, and district officials, thought better than to let the wrong case get in front of the Supreme Court.

The details of the D.C. concealed carry permit scheme left quite a bit of discretion to law enforcement in approving and denying applications for permits, given the ambiguous "good reason" requirement. So few permits had been issued and the scheme was so stacked against the issuance of permits, that the appellate court found the permitting scheme to be an outright ban on carrying a concealed weapon, and therefore not subject to any level of scrutiny.

D.C. Doesn't Like Guns

Although there has not been a rush on the filing of concealed weapon permit applications in D.C. just yet, the district may be looking to put up another roadblock before the appellate court issues their formal order, letting loose the deluge of applications from those seeking concealed carry permits. Currently, the law still requires potential permit holders to complete several hours of gun safety and training courses, as well as fulfill other requirements.

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