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DC Asks Judge If It Can Pretty Please Keep Restrictive Gun Laws

Officials in the District of Columbia are asking a judge if they can continue to enforce hand-gun laws while the city and a federal judge continue to battle it out in court.

Late Tuesday night D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine filed a motion to allow the city to continue the part of its concealed-carry law that requires handgun owners to show a good reason if they want to acquire a permit, NBC4 Washington reported.

A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction May 18 that forced the city to stop enforcing that law, which D.C. lawmakers wrote specifically to comply with a 2014 ruling that overturned the city’s long-held ban on carrying handguns in public.

The law created a system where D.C. residents could obtain a permit to carry a handgun, but only if they could prove an immediate threat to their safety.

U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. blocked the legislation after gun rights advocates brought a lawsuit against the city claiming the law makes it almost impossible for residents to obtain the permit to carry a gun. They say the law sometimes takes months to complete.

Last July, a federal court declared D.C.’s law banning handguns in public unconstitutional. Racine had been fighting the ban since April, but dropped the appeal to instead focus on defending the current law.

At a Tuesday press conference, City Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said he would be meeting with Racine and Kenyan McDuffie, chairman of the Council’s judiciary committee, later this week to discuss options for appealing the judge’s decision.

Mendelson said he believes the city should appeal the case and he thinks the Constitution and “reasonableness” are on his side.

“If people are going to be able to carry a firearm in public, we should be able to ensure that those people are safe,” he said.

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