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In July, a federal judge tossed out the city’s longstanding ban on carrying handguns in public, handing a victory to four plaintiffs who had sued in 2009 after being denied concealed-carry permits. Coupled with the 2008 Supreme Court decision that overturned D.C.’s 30-year-old ban on handgun ownership, gun advocates say the twin pillars of the Second Amendment—the right to keep and bear arms—are finally being exercised in D.C.
The ruling prompted quick legislation from the D.C. Council allowing residents to apply for concealed-carry permits. But despite the sudden change, it’s not likely that friends and neighbors will soon start packing heat: The “may-issue” permitting scheme is extremely restrictive, limiting who can apply for a permit and where they can carry their gun if they get one.
And the litigation isn’t over, either: Gun advocates say the new law is so restrictive that it borders on a new ban, and have asked a judge to hold the city in contempt for ignoring the July ruling. Despite now allowing concealed carry (through December, just over 50 people had applied for permits), D.C. isn’t giving up: It has said it will appeal.