This week, Washington D.C. will begin accepting applications for concealed carry permits, but area gun owners shouldn’t get their hopes up. After maintaining a ban on weapon carry for years, the city’s laws were deemed a violation of the 2nd Amendment earlier this year. Now, they’re trying to circumvent the slapdown by implementing some of the strictest permit laws in the country.
Police Chief Cathy Lanier announced this week that the city would start accepting applications, but critics maintain that D.C.’s laws remain unconstitutional. Worse, the permit laws in place now are merely temporary. The city council, as left-leaning as they come, is busy drawing up plans for a permanent law that may have even greater restrictions. Right now, permits will be granted at Lanier’s sole discretion. Unlike reasonable gun laws in most of the country, D.C.’s process will put the burden on the applicant to explain why he or she needs a license to carry.
This isn’t one of those situations where the law says one thing but the actual process is much less restrictive. In fact, Lanier has been quite clear that very few permits will be handed out. She went on record as saying that merely living in a dangerous neighborhood would not qualify as a reason. Nor would being the victim of multiple crimes. Instead, only specific threats would be entertained as reason enough to issue a concealed-carry permit.
Critics insist that the city council’s harsh restrictions fail to comply with the federal court ruling that enabled the permits in the first place. By making it so difficult and unlikely to qualify, they say, Washington D.C. has essentially managed to continue thwarting the constitutional rights of gun owners. At least one lawyer has already said that he will challenge the restrictions in federal court.
Still, it’s a start. If the Washington D.C. city council and area residents realize that lawful gun ownership is not going to turn their town into a haven for murder – or more of one, as the case may be – perhaps the regulations will be loosened in the future. What they will probably never understand is that criminals don’t give a tinker’s damn about gun restrictions. How many D.C.-area gang members will be applying for a concealed-carry permit in the coming weeks? How many hitmen? How many political assassins?
Giving citizens their constitutional right to bear arms does not make a city less safe. If anything, it puts law-abiding residents on equal footing with those who would do them harm. Cathy Lanier says that there’s no evidence that concealed-carry cuts the crime rate. So what? The burden of proof is on those who would take our freedoms away, not the other way around. Until the D.C. city council – or any other anti-gun zealots in this country – can make a persuasive, fact-based argument in favor of abolishing the 2nd Amendment, they need to take their hands off our guns.