- The Washington Times - Friday, May 27, 2016

The District’s Attorney General is moving quickly to appeal a federal judge’s ruling which last week blocked city officials from requiring gun owners to provide a “good reason” in order to get a permit to carry a concealed firearm in the nation’s capital.

City attorneys filed a notice of appeal Thursday, even before the judge overseeing the latest challenge to the District’s strict gun laws has decided whether or not to stay his initial ruling — in which he called the regulations a likely “unconstitutional burden.”

In a ruling last week, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon issued a preliminary injunction that temporarily bans enforcement of a key portion of the city’s “may issue” laws while the case works its way through the court system.

The city’s filing notes that the Attorney General intends to appeal the order granting the preliminary injunction “and all other orders merged therein” to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

The city has filed for a stay of the order in the meantime, arguing that the laws are “necessary to prevent crime and promote public safety.”

“The risk of a gun-related tragedy — accidental or deliberate — involving new licensees who have no particularized fear of any specific danger to their safety outweighs plaintiffs’ speculative fears about any imminent need to defend themselves from a random, public attack during the pendency of this litigation,” city attorneys wrote in their motion for a stay of the order.

Judge Leon’s order is at odds with a March ruling from U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who denied a preliminary injunction in a different case that challenged the “good reason” requirement.

The District pointed to the opposing rulings as evidence that a stay is needed in the case. Attorneys argued that at the least, Judge Leon could craft a stay order that would allow the plaintiffs who brought the challenge to pursue concealed carry permits while upholding the “good reason” requirement for others

The city’s police department, which oversees the permitting, has been forced to take a second look at previously denied permit applications since the ruling was issued.

The Metropolitan Police Department said individuals who have been denied concealed carry permits in the past because they could not demonstrate a “good reason” can submit a new application at this time. Application fees for those who were previously denied on those grounds will be waived.

The legal challenge at hand was brought by D.C. resident Matthew Grace and the national gun rights organization Pink Pistols, which advocates which advocates for members of the gay community to arm themselves for self-defense.

Mr. Grace, who legally owns four handguns, would like to be able to carry a firearm for self-defense, but according to his lawsuit, the city last year denied his application for a concealed carry permit because he had not demonstrated “a good reason to fear injury to person or property, or other proper reason for a concealed carry license.”

Mr. Grace’s attorney has argued against the issuance of a stay in the case, stating that such an order will allow the city to continue to flagrantly violate the Second Amendment.

“Enough is enough,” wrote attorney Charles Cooper. “This Court should not allow the District to continue denying its citizens this basic constitutional right; not for a few weeks and not even for a few days.”

The lawsuit is at least the second to challenge concealed carry laws adopted by the District to comply with a federal judge’s 2014 ruling that overturned the city’s long-standing ban on the carrying of firearms in public.

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