Wrenn v. District of Columbia, No. 16-7025 (D.C. Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs filed suit challenging D.C. Code provisions directing the District's police chief to promulgate regulations limiting licenses for the concealed carry of handguns (the only sort of carrying the Code allows) to those showing a good reason to fear injury to their person or property or any other proper reason for carrying a pistol (the "good-reason" law). The D.C. Circuit held that, at the core of the Second Amendment lies the right of responsible citizens to carry firearms for personal self-defense beyond the home, subject to longstanding restrictions. These traditional limits include, for instance, licensing requirements, but not bans on carrying in urban areas like D.C. or bans on carrying absent a special need for self-defense. In this case, the District's good-reason law is necessarily a total ban on most D.C. residents' right to carry a gun in the face of ordinary self-defense needs, where these residents are no more dangerous with a gun than the next law-abiding citizen. Therefore, the court could strike down the law apart from any particular balancing test. The court vacated the district courts' orders and remanded with instructions to enter permanent injunctions against enforcement of the good-reason law.