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Mayor Vince Gray signed emergency legislation last night that would define, at least temporarily, who can legally obtain a license to carry a gun in public and where these legal guns can be carried. The legislation comes in response to a July federal court decision that overturned the District’s longstanding total ban on carry guns in public. The judge ultimately issued a 90-day stay on the ruling, giving city officials time to pass legislation to ensure that hordes of residents don’t run around the city with guns ablaze.
The law will go into effect when the stay expires on Oct 22. The legislation remained largely intact from when Gray and Council Chairman Phil Mendelson first proposed it last month. It’ll be valid for 90 days, after which the Council will hold a hearing for the public to weigh in before it enacts more permanent legislation. Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier will be responsible for going through applications and determining who qualifies for a permit. People with a history of mental illness or violence will not qualify.
But in the meantime, here’s a guide for where you can—and can’t—carry a concealed weapon in D.C.
Hey, I think I want to follow this presidential motorcade. Can I bring my gun?
No. The law specifically establishes a 1,000-foot “no-carry zone” around presidential motorcades and other large events involving dignitaries and public officials. But to be arrested for carrying a registered gun in these circumstances, you must be given notice of the event and then fail to leave the zone.
I brought my gun to testify at a Council hearing about concealed carry laws at the Wilson Building. Is that OK?
Sorry, you should have left that gun at home or elsewhere. The law prohibits licensed gun-holders from carrying guns into government buildings.
I’m from West Virginia, and all my guns are fully legal there. I can just ignore this D.C. law, right?
No, West Virginia laws don’t hold true here, nor do any from other states. If you have a state-issued license to carry a gun in public, you can then apply through the D.C. police for a permit to carry a gun here.
What about the Metro—can I bring my gun there?
Nope. Guns are prohibited on public transportation. (Capital Bikeshare is the exception, but remember to secure it with the little bungee cords if you put it in the cargo basket up front.)
Can I bring a gun to my political science class at a local institution of higher education? We’re studying the history of the Second Amendment this week.
The legislation prohibits guns in universities and schools.
What about a dive bar?
Not a chance. Guns are restricted anywhere alcohol is served.
Can I go to the Lincoln Memorial with my gun?
That’s on federal property, which means D.C. gun laws don’t apply. The National Park Service, though, prohibits guns on the National Mall.
Sometimes my neighborhood feels sketchy. Would I qualify for a permit to carry my gun in public?
District officials specifically said this would not qualify as a legitimate reason to obtain a permit, so you’ll have to come up with a better one when you apply.
I just really, really love guns.
That isn’t a valid reason to obtain a permit, either.
But I have a dangerous stalker.
OK, that’s an acceptable reason to obtain a permit.
I have a permit to carry a gun in public and am on the street, where I am legally allowed to carry it. Can I wave it around to show everyone that I am, indeed, carrying a gun?
No, please don’t. Mendelson says the law prohibits anyone from even wearing a holstered weapon in public view.
Photo by duucfho via Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0