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U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has ruled that the plaintiffs in a suit seeking to bar the District from enforcing its concealed-carry regulations “have not met their burden of showing a likelihood of success on the merits” in a motion for a preliminary injunction. The ruling in effect upholds—for now—D.C.’s “good reasoning” licensing scheme.
The plaintiffs have also not shown that an injunction would be “in the public interest,” Kollar-Kotelly writes in a 31-page order released on Monday. While they have successfully proven that “reasonable” qualification rules for firearm permits could pose an “irreparable harm” to their Second Amendment rights, the plaintiffs have not convincingly argued that it outweighs D.C.’s interest in keeping residents and visitors safe.
“Not only does the District itself have a strong interest in those objectives, but the members of the public themselves have a strong interest in public safety and crime prevention,” the judge explains. “That interest is heightened here where the alleged constitutional violation pertains to the public carrying of operable handguns, which poses a potential risk to others—carriers and non-carriers alike—far greater than the risk of possessing a handgun within the home.”
The case of Brian Wrenn and his co-plaintiffs Joshua Akery, Tyler Whidby, and the Second Amendment Foundation, has taken a few turns over the course of its history. Most recently, in December, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that N.Y. Visiting Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. “had no authority” to rule in Wrenn, even though he had ruled unconstitutional the District’s previous, total ban on concealed-carry weapons in the Palmer case.
In her ruling, Kollar-Kotelly adds that D.C.’s dense, urban nature “may further tip” the scales in the defendants’ favor with respect to the wisdom of allowing “operable handguns in public.” She concludes that the “plaintiffs have not made the ‘clear showing’ that the ‘extraordinary remedy’ of a preliminary injunction is warranted in these circumstances.”
Update 4:47 p.m. D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine has released the following statement on the ruling: “We are pleased with the Court’s order, because it means the District will be able to continue enforcing its law requiring applicants for permits to carry concealed guns in public to state a ‘good reason’ for doing so.”
Photo by duucfho via Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0