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Some D.C. gun owners challenge new law

A new lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court challenges a part of D.C.'s gun laws that require applicants to show a reason for needing to defend themselves before they can have a concealed-carry permit. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — Some D.C. gun owners don’t want to prove it. And they don’t feel they should have to.

A new lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court challenges a narrow portion of the District’s gun laws that require applicants to show a reason for needing to defend themselves before they can have a concealed-carry permit.

“That’s simply not how rights function in America,” says Alan Gura, the lawyer representing the gun owners bringing the suit.

“You don’t need a special good reason to speak, to worship, to have an abortion, to vote,” he says.

Gura notes the lawsuit does not target the District’s legal authority to regulate gun sales or conduct background checks.

“This is only a challenge to that part of the law that says that people don’t enjoy a fundamental right unless the police chief agrees that they deserve to enjoy it,” Gura says.

Last year, a federal judge overturned D.C.’s handgun ban in public places, forcing a re-write of the gun laws.

Since the police department began issuing concealed-carry permits, more people have been rejected than approved.

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