DC Won’t Appeal In Wrenn Case

It is being reported by District of Columbia new station WTOP that the Attorney General of DC has decided not to appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision in Wrenn v. DC. The decision overturned the District’s “good reason” requirement to obtain a carry permit. The last time the District of Columbia lost in a major Second Amendment case they appealed. That case was DC v. Heller.


From WTOP:

After days of consulting with the mayor’s office and city council members, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine has reportedly decided not to fight a ruling that effectively strikes down the District’s strict law that makes it difficult for gun owners to get concealed carry permits.

Sources told WTOP’s broadcast news partner NBC Washington that Racine made the decision not to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court and will formally make an announcement later on Thursday.

This cements the win for carry in DC. Conversely, an appeal to the Supreme Court might have provided the opportunity to overturn negative decisions on carry such Peruta in the 9th Circuit and Kalchalsky in the 2nd Circuit. Whether or not the Supreme Court will ever take up a carry case still remains to be seen.

H/T Sebastian

Some Good Gun News Out Of Illinois

Hearing positive gun rights news out of the Prairie State is usually the exception instead of the norm. Yesterday was the exception. The Illinois Senate passed a bill allowing active-duty military members based in Illinois and their spouses to apply for non-resident carry permits. Moreover, they would only be charged the in-state rate of $150 instead of the out-of-state resident rate of $300.

As some might know, while Illinois will issue carry permits to out-of-state residents, the law limits it to residents of those states which the State Police find have “substantially similar” requirements. Thus, only residents of Hawaii, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Virginia qualify to apply for an out-of-state resident carry permit in Illinois. SB 1524 says that this limitation does not apply to active-duty military members and their spouses stationed in Illinois.

Now for the really good news. SB 1524 passed the Illinois Senate on a 53 yea, 0 nay vote. Now on to the State House.

The text of SB 1524 as it passed the Illinois Senate can be found here.

The Second Amendment Foundation’s lawsuit against Illinois on behalf of out-of-state residents with carry permits who are precluded from applying to obtain an Illinois permit is currently on appeal to the 7th Circuit. If the bill above passes, the lead plaintiff in Culp et al v. Madigan et al, Col. Kevin Culp may have to be removed from the case if he is still stationed at Scott Air Force Base.

Tone Deaf Politicians

If there is one thing that this political season has shown is that people are sick and tired of business as usual. How else do you explain the rise of a reality-TV star and billionaire businessman on the Republican side and an obscure, not even elected as a Democrat, self-avowed socialist on the Democratic side of the ticket. Both Trump and Sanders would be long gone in years gone by.

In the midst of all of this comes a proposal from New Jersey State Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen, Passaic) that would allow legislators and municipal and superior court judges to obtain carry permits to protect themselves. Nevermind that it takes an Act of God and then some for ordinary New Jerseyans to get carry permits or even a pistol purchase permit. Witness the death of Carol Bowne who was still waiting for her permit when her stalker killed her.

From the Bergen Dispatch:

Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen, Passaic) introduced a bill that would allow legislators, as well as judges at the superior and municipal court levels, to obtain permits to carry handguns provided they complete at least eight hours of firearm safety training.

“Judges and legislators face a greater risk of falling victim to violent attacks, simply because of their easily identifiable position in public life,” Senator Cardinale said. “This measure will ensure that public servants have the means to protect themselves from those who might violently disagree with their viewpoints or decisions. A judge should feel safe returning home each night no matter how they ruled or what they ruled on that day.”

The bill (S-1982) was inspired by attacks, such as the 2011 shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Giffords was shot in an assassination attempt during a meeting with constituents at an Arizona supermarket. More recently, a Texas judge was wounded in a shooting outside of her home in Austin.

Judges and legislators would be exempt from New Jersey’s requirement to show “justifiable need”. They would merely have to show that they took an 8-hour class.

Alexander Roubian of the NJ Second Amendment Society is correct when he calls Cardinale’s proposal completely hypocritical.

Judges and politicians are generally well-guarded by security and they have easy access to police, Roubian noted. And, he argued, they’re already more likely than average citizens to pass the “justifiable need” test because they’re friends with the judges who issue the permits.


“Basically, this is a clear-cut example of how New Jersey operates as a fiefdom. The politicians’ and the judges’ lives, they truly believe, are more valuable than those of average citizens like you and I,” Roubian said.

I would add that Sen. Cardinale, in this of all years, just doesn’t get it. Given that he has been in one house or the other of the New Jersey legislature since 1980, maybe it is time for the 82-year old dentist to go home.

Just How Are We Supposed To Do That In DC, Pray Tell, Chief Lanier?

Emily Miller, author of Emily Gets Her Gun and one of only 45 people in the District of Columbia with a carry permit, tweeted this yesterday afternoon.

It was in response to the interview with DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier by 60 Minutes. In the interview which dealt with active shooters, Lanier said that it was unreasonable to expect the police to arrive in time to stop most mass shootings. She told Anderson Cooper:

I always say if you can get out, getting out’s your first option, your best option. If you’re in a position to try and take the gunman down, to take the gunman out, it’s the best option for saving lives before police can get there. And that’s– you know, that’s kind of counterintuitive to what cops always tell people, right? We always tell people, “Don’t– you know, don’t take action. Call 911. Don’t intervene in the robbery”– you know– you know– we’ve never told people, “Take action.” It’s a different– this is a different scenario.

 You can see the full interview below which also includes comments by NYC Police Commissioner William Bratton.

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One Step Down, One To Go For Emily Miller

Emily Miller became the 15th person to be preliminarily approved for a carry permit in the District of Columbia. Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier approved Emily’s carry permit subject to her successfully completing an 18 hour approved training course training course within 45 days. Emily says she fully intends to complete the process but won’t say when or where she will actually carry.

Emily reported on this yesterday on DC’s Fox 5 News. Her permit was approved based upon her two police reports involving threats. Chief Lanier dismissed her other documented threat as being too general in nature.

DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Emily was also on Fox and Friends this morning discussing the carry permit.

Congratulations to Emily on this. If I had to guess, Chief Lanier considered not only the documented threats but the uproar that Emily could have generated if she wasn’t given a permit. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy Emily got her permit but I have this gut feeling that your average person’s application would not have been given the same consideration.

I’m sure the ne’er do wells at the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (sic) will want to start another petition to get Emily fired from her job as an investigative reporter at Fox 5. In the meantime, that wailing and gnashing of teeth in DC just might be coming from them.

Cert Denied In Drake v. Jerejian

The Supreme Court denied certiorari to the New Jersey case challenging that state’s justifiable need requirement to obtain a carry permit. The list of orders gives no explanation for the denial.

Lyle Denniston of the SCOTUS Blog had this to say in his live blog of the announcement:

The denial of Drake was without explanation or noted dissents. That does not mean that no one voted for cert; probably that those who wanted to grant, if there were any, were unsure about prevailing on the merits. The list of denial of 2d Amendment outside-the-home cases is lengthening. It is unclear what kind of case on that subject will attract the Court’s attention.

While we have a split in the circuits, it doesn’t mean that they have to take a case. Countertop has a very good overview of what may have transpired regarding this case in the comments over at Shall Not Be Questioned. 

All I can say is damn. After they punted on Kachalsky and Woollard (especially Woollard!), I thought this might be the one. The only way around this for people living in occupied territories is to convince their friend and neighbors that this must change legislatively.

No Word Yet On Drake v. Jerejian (Updated)

Examining the list of orders from the US Supreme Court issued this morning, the one obvious omission on the list was Drake et al v. Jerejian et al. This is the New Jersey case that challenges that state’s requirement for the showing of justifiable need in order to obtain a carry permit.

The case was up for discussion as to whether to take it or not on Friday. As it hasn’t been denied, I guess this means no news is good news.

UPDATE: Dirk Diggler reports in the comments that the SCOTUS has passed this case to this coming Friday’s conference. Keep your fingers crossed.

UPDATE II: The SCOTUS passed on this again. It wasn’t denied nor was it granted certiorari. Thus, for now, no news remains good news.

From Lyle Denniston at the SCOTUS Blog:

The Court also took no action on the latest attempt to get the Court to expand the Second Amendment right to possess a gun so that it applies outside the home. The case is Drake v. Jerejian, seeking to challenge a New Jersey law that requires an individual to obtain a permit to carry a handgun in public. The law requires proof that an individual has a “justifiable need” to carry a gun in public for purposes of self-defense.

Here is the link to the SCOTUS Blog’s Relist Watch for this week which does mention Drake. It also notes that many of the more recent grants of certiorari have come from the relisted cases.

Supreme Court Considers Whether To Accept The NJ Carry Case

Today is the day for the US Supreme Court to consider whether they will grant certiorari in the case of Drake v. Jerejian. This case, originally named Muller v. Maenza, challenges the state of New Jersey’s requirement for the showing of “justifiable need” in order to obtain a carry permit.

From the petition for a writ of certiorari as filed with the Supreme Court:

QUESTIONS PRESENTED

The Second Amendment “guarantee[s] the individual
right to possess and carry weapons in case
of confrontation.” District of Columbia v. Heller, 554
U.S. 570, 592 (2008). But in accordance with “the
overriding philosophy of [New Jersey’s] Legislature
. . . to limit the use of guns as much as possible,”
State v. Valentine, 124 N.J. Super. 425, 427, 307 A.2d
617, 619 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 1973), New Jersey
law bars all but a small handful of individuals showing
“justifiable need” from carrying a handgun for
self-defense, N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-4(c).

The federal appellate courts, and state courts of
last resort, are split on the question of whether the
Second Amendment secures a right to carry handguns
outside the home for self-defense. The Second,
Fourth, Fifth and Seventh Circuits, and the supreme
courts of Illinois, Idaho, Oregon and Georgia have
held or assumed that the Second Amendment encompasses
the right to carry handguns outside the home
for self-defense. But along with the highest courts of
Massachusetts, Maryland, and the District of Columbia,
which have refused to recognize this right, a
divided Third Circuit panel below held that carrying
handguns outside the home for self-defense falls
outside the scope of the Second Amendment’s protection.
It thus upheld New Jersey’s “justifiable need”
prerequisite for carrying defensive handguns.

The federal appellate courts are also split 8-1 on
the question of whether the government must provide
evidence to meet its burden in Second Amendment
cases. The First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh,
Ninth, Tenth and District of Columbia Circuits require
the government to produce legislative findings
or other evidence to sustain a law burdening the
right to bear arms. But the majority below held that
the legislature’s policy decisions need not be supported
by any findings or evidence to survive a Second
Amendment challenge, if the law strikes the
court as reasonable. Accordingly, the majority upheld
New Jersey’s “justifiable need” law despite the state’s
concession that it lacked legislative findings or evidence
of the law’s public safety benefits, let alone the
degree of fit between the regulation and the interests
it allegedly secures.

The questions presented are:

1. Whether the Second Amendment secures a
right to carry handguns outside the home for selfdefense.

2. Whether state officials violate the Second
Amendment by requiring that individuals wishing to
exercise their right to carry a handgun for selfdefense
first prove a “justifiable need” for doing so.

The attorneys for the plaintiffs appealing this case are David Jensen and Alan Gura. Amicus briefs in favor of the plaintiffs have been filed by the NRA, Gun Owners of America, 24 Members of Congress, the Cato Institute, 19 states, the Judicial Education Project, and the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence at Chapman University School of Law.

Attorney David Jensen said he is “cautiously optimistic” that the Supreme Court will accept the case.

“The issue has percolated in the appeals courts for the last year and a half,” Jensen said. “It would be well-timed.”

This echoes the sentiments of Frank Fiamingo of the NJ Second Amendment Society expressed in an interview Wednesday on the Polite Society Podcast. He noted the split between the Federal Circuits on this issue. The recent rulings by the 9th Circuit in Peruta and the associated cases adds weight to this argument.

It will take four Justices voting to accept the case for it to be granted certiorari. We didn’t get that in the petitions for the Kachalsky and Woollard cases. We should know by the end of the day whether the Supreme Court will consider the third major Second Amendment case in the last decade.

Reporter Charts His Path To Carry Permit In Massachusetts

Michael Hartwell is a staff reporter for the Sentinel and Enterprise of Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Having grown up shooting in Maine and having been threatened more than once as a result of his articles, he decided to apply for his Massachusetts Firearms ID (FID) card and also to get his Class A carry permit.

What clinched it, however, was the way I felt during the manhunt for the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings. I didn’t feel safe in Leominster, which is less than an hour’s drive away from where the suspect was last seen.

Earlier this month, it occurred to me that as a reporter and a Massachusetts resident, I’m in the perfect position to see what impact the state’s gun-control laws would have on someone with a clean record who simply wants to exercise their legal rights.

A reporter seeking to exercise his or her rights to purchase a firearm and detailing the difficulties isn’t a new story. Emily Miller of the Washington Times detailed her tortuous path to handgun ownership in the series called “Emily Gets Her Gun”.  Nonetheless, it is interesting to see the path and the obstacles that Hartwell has to overcome in seeking to get his FID and Class A carry permit.

So far it is a three-part series. The first details his decision to get the FID and Class A carry permit, the second details his training class, and now the third article details the wait times and growth in demand in his town of Leominster.

I live in a shall-issue state so I am somewhat bewildered by the complexity of the process in a may-issue state like Massachusetts. The other thing that has struck me is just how much things can vary by town in terms of who gets a permit, what type of permit, and how long they have to wait to obtain it.

For example if you are a resident in the town of Fitchburg, the local police chief essentially makes you go through a multi-year apprenticeship in order to get your Class A carry permit.

Fitchburg Police Chief Robert DeMoura said the overwhelming majority of applicants pass because people with felony convictions know they would fail and rarely apply. DeMoura said he denies concealed-weapon permits to new shooters 90 percent of the time.

“I will give them a target and hunting permit,” said DeMoura. “First and foremost, they just went through a one-day course about firearms, and I just don’t feel that they’ve had enough time to be around a weapon to be able to carry a concealed weapon. My philosophy is that the state law says I have to give them a permit if they qualify — they don’t tell me what kind of permit, but I have to give them a permit. Most of the time I give them a target-hunting (permit).”

He said he makes exceptions if someone needs a license to carry for their job, such as a security officer. As the chief of an urban area, DeMoura said most applicants did not grow up around guns, but he would take into consideration if an applicant has a history of handling firearms.

If someone has had a standard FID card for a year, DeMoura said he is willing to upgrade it to a concealed-weapons permit.

Hartwell, fortunately enough, lives in Leominster.

Still, he has to wait. The next opening for an appointment to submit his application to the firearms licensing clerk there is July 2nd. If he lived in the town of Richmond in western Massachusetts, he could just walk in without an appointment every other Wednesday evening when the Richmond police chief holds office hours. Moreover, the chief himself handles the application.

I certainly have a greater appreciation for how good I have it here in North Carolina and an even greater admiration for people like JayG and Weerd who have taken on the system and gotten their permits.