The vast majority of District voters think there should be at least some restrictions on who can carry guns in public and where they can carry them. That may not make it any easier for those voters to pick a mayor: All of the leading candidates strongly agree with them.
The District’s strict gun laws took a big hit this year when a federal judge overturned the city’s total ban on concealed carry of weapons, calling it a violation of the Second Amendment. David Catania said he was “deeply troubled by the ruling.” Muriel Bowser said the ruling “poses a serious threat to public safety.” And Carol Schwartz said the city’s strong gun laws had been justified. The city unsuccessfully asked the judge to reconsider the ruling, and his decision has gone into effect, allowing District residents to apply for a permit to carry their registered guns in public spaces.
Now the new City Paper/Kojo Nnamdi Show poll shows that voters want the city to keep trying. The poll found that 47 percent of likely voters think the District should appeal the ruling, while 34 percent of voters think the D.C. Council should pass legislation more narrowly defining where people can carry guns in public. (The Council has already passed such legislation on an emergency basis, though gun advocates in the city have filed suit against it, saying it’s still too restrictive and unconstitutional.) Just 8 percent of likely voters say they don’t think the city should do anything to regulate where people with permits can carry their guns in public.
The plurality that supports appealing the court ruling instead of just drafting more lax gun laws spans all ages, races, genders, and party affiliations—making it politically safe for District politicians to take a firm stand. This week, then, brought some good news for the 47 percent: D.C.’s Office of the Attorney General announced that it would appeal the decision in the hopes of bringing back the District’s strict laws.