D.C. Council approves concealed carry

UPDATE: Tuesday – 9/23/2014, 4:24pm ET

WASHINGTON — The D.C. Council approves a bill allowing concealed gun carry in public places. The concealed carry permits will be restricted to people proving a reason for carry. The council voted reluctantly after a federal judge overturned the gun ban in public.

EARLIER: Tuesday – 9/23/2014, 5:17am ET

WASHINGTON — As of next month, D.C.’s ban on carrying guns in public dies when a federal judge’s ruling killing the ban kicks in. On Tuesday, the D.C. Council attempts to make the city law constitutional.

A D.C. Council vote on concealed carry requirements is expected Tuesday afternoon.

Under legislation the council is expected to pass Tuesday, permit holders would have to show a reason deemed proper for needing to carry a pistol. Those reasons might include death threats or having a violent spouse.

Those strict requirements are no more constitutional than the law the federal judge struck down, according to Alan Gura, attorney for the people challenging D.C.’s gun ban.

Gura tells The Washington Post the proposed legislation doesn’t comply with the court’s ruling that carrying a gun outside a home is protected by the Second Amendment.

Under the proposed legislation, permit holders would undergo background checks and take special training. They’d have to prove they haven’t suffered any mental illness in the past five years. The permit requirements also would apply to conceal carry visitors to the District.

Even properly permitted gun owners still couldn’t lawfully carry guns numbers of places such as on public transportation, in government buildings and within a thousand feet of police-protected dignitaries.

There are similar licensing requirements in New York, New Jersey and Maryland. Similar requirements in California have been struck down by a federal appeals court, but that ruling is on hold while it is being appealed.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier told WTOP in July she isn’t concerned that allowing people to carry guns in public would impact city crime rates.

“A lot of people have pointed out that it’s not law abiding citizens who register firearms who are committing crime,” Lanier says.

The council vote Tuesday is on emergency legislation good only for 90 days. A final gun law will have to undergo a rigorous vetting process including public hearings and congressional approval.

The proposed D.C. legislation would not allow “open carry” of handguns by civilians under any circumstances.

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