Palmer v D.C.

Commentary by Victor D. Quilici, ISRA General Counsel

The Plaintiff, a D.C. resident was denied a carry license for self-defense
outside of the home. D.C. authorities issued him a license to carry only within
the confines of his home for self-protection, and he brought suit with several
co-plaintiffs, including the Second Amendment Foundation.

Defendants’ attorneys, following a trend among municipal, state and
federal counsel, tried to undermine the decisions in both Heller and McDonald
by alleging that neither case effectively shut the door on governmental rights
to ban carrying in public—be it that the authority cited in support of those
purported rights are laden with dicta-ridden, misquoted or out-of-context
assertions pirated from the major U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

Judge Frederic J. Sculin, Jr. found the Second Amendment trumped theDistrict’s attempt to totally ban the carrying of handguns in public, and in
doing so he effectively silenced the anti-gun advocates’ oft-cited lower level of
scrutiny arguments, stating:

“In light of Heller, McDonald, and their progeny, there is no longer any basis
on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia's total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny. Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia's complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional. Accordingly, the Court grants Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and enjoins Defendants from enforcing the home limitations of D.C. Code § 7-2502.02(a)(4)[ handgun registration for home use]
and enforcing D.C. Code § 22-4504(a) [licensing provisions] unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.”

The injunction also prohibits the District from “completely banning the
carrying of handguns in public for self-defense by otherwise qualified
non-residents based solely on the fact that they are not residents of the

Peruta v. San Diego was among several cases cited extensively by the Court.
[See that decision reported below.]
This case is undoubtedly headed for the federal Court of Appeals, then
possibly to the United States Supreme Court.

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