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The District’s Office of the Attorney General filed a motion this afternoon requesting that a federal court delay overturning a gun law until the city’s appeal is heard. A U.S. District Court ruled this weekend that a D.C. gun law that prevents people from legally carrying handguns in the District’s public places is unconstitutional.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier ordered her police department on Sunday to not arrest any District resident carrying a registered gun in a public place. Nonresidents, according to Lanier’s order, can carry guns as long as they’re not convicted felons and are following the gun laws of their home states.

If the court doesn’t grant the motion, Attorney General Irv Nathan asks that the federal court issue a stay for at least 180 days so the D.C. Council can “obtain public input and enact a compliant licensing mechanism.”

A stay would allow an orderly process, to obtain the most considered legislation 6 possible. Indeed, the Council of the District is currently on recess until September 15… The Council would not be able  to take up the matter until then at the earliest; a brief stay to allow the Council to draft, consider, and enact appropriate legislation is clearly in the District’s—and the public’s—interest. That is especially true given that the Council could constitutionally choose to limit carrying—by place of carrying, manner of carrying, or class of weapon being carried—where the Order currently would allow it. (Plaintiffs have emphasized, for instance, that they do not claim a right to “open  carry” or “concealed carry” in particular). See Doc. No. 5-2 at 7. A stay would prevent the Council from having to unduly rush, which could result in a law that is not as considered as it could be, and limit the public’s confusion and other unintended consequences.

The motion states the plaintiffs in the case do not oppose an immediate 90-day stay.

It’s unclear when the court will rule on this motion, according to Ted Gest, spokesman for the attorney general’s office.

Gun photo by Shutterstock