- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 20, 2014

Gun owners who successfully sued the D.C. government to overturn the city’s ban on carrying firearms in public will argue in court Thursday that new laws to regulate concealed carry are unconstitutionally restrictive.

Attorney Alan Gura has said in court filings that the system put in place by the D.C. Council, which requires gun owners to show a need for self-defense in order to obtain a permit, is unreasonable and that a federal judge should bar enforcement of the law.

But the D.C. attorney general’s office, which has appealed the case, argues that because gun owners are challenging new laws they should file a new lawsuit.

“Plaintiffs’ motion raises new challenges to a new law. The relief plaintiffs seek is outside the scope of the existing judgment — now on appeal — and thus requires a new lawsuit,” wrote Eugene Adams, the city’s interim attorney general in court documents filed Tuesday.

U.S. District Court Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. struck down the city’s ban on carrying guns in public in July, writing in his opinion that the ban would be enjoined “unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.”

Mr. Gura maintains that the court has the authority to decide whether the new regulations abide by Judge Scullin’s order.

SEE ALSO: Gun owners ask judge to block new D.C. concealed carry law

“This Court is fully empowered to determine whether Defendants are in compliance with its injunction,” Mr. Gura wrote in court documents filed Monday. “No one forced Defendants to enact the law that they did, and they are not immune from having it reviewed, in the first instance, by this Court for compliance with this Court’s judgment.”

Judge Scullin, a New York judge who took over the case from a retired D.C. judge, has denied other requests made by the District in this case, including a request for a stay of the ruling through the appeals process and a motion for reconsideration.

Adopted as emergency legislation, the concealed-carry regulations adopted by the D.C. Council will only be valid through Jan. 7.

Lawmakers are developing regulations that would become permanent law, which Judge Scullin’s upcoming ruling could influence.

The emergency legislation requires gun owners seeking to obtain concealed-carry permits to justify their need for a permit and to undertake 18 hours of firearms training. The gun must be registered with the police department and applicants must pay a $75 concealed-carry permit fee.

But regulations state that Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier retains the authority to decide whether an applicant has sufficiently demonstrated a good need for a concealed-carry permit and she may “limit the geographic area, circumstances, or times of the day, week, month, or year in which a license is valid or effective.”

SEE ALSO: Lawmakers grudgingly draft bill to authorize concealed carry of guns in D.C.

The carrying of a concealed handgun would continue to be restricted in certain “sensitive locations” such as government buildings, bars, schools and at public demonstrations.

On Oct. 22, the day the emergency legislation took effect, the police department did not have any firearms instructors who were approved to teach the required safety courses. The police department was unable to say Wednesday whether any instructors have been approved in the meantime.

• Andrea Noble can be reached at anoble@washingtontimes.com.

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