U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. was quick Friday to dismiss a last-ditch request for reconsideration of his July ruling to legalize carrying a gun in public in the District.
Scullin told Andrew Saindon, of the D.C. attorney general’s office, that by the lawyer’s arguments, he was unsure how closely he had read his original decision. The hearing ended in less than an hour. “I think we’ve been through this a number of times,” Scullin said. “The motion for reconsideration is denied.”
After ruling the city’s gun law to be unconstitutional, Scullin gave city officials 90 days to rewrite what had been one of the strictest anti-gun policies in the country. The stay expires Wednesday.
Those officials have complied — grudgingly. The D.C. Council voted unanimously Sept. 23 to put a regulatory structure in place that allows city residents who own registered handguns and nonresidents with a state carry license to apply for a permit to bear a concealed weapon in the District.
D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) signed emergency legislation into law Oct. 10 that will let people start applying by Wednesday. The emergency legislation is in effect for 90 days, which officials said gives them time to refine the law.
“We really don’t want to move forward with allowing more guns in the District of Columbia, but we all know we have to be compliant with what the courts say,” Muriel E. Bowser (Ward 4), the Democratic nominee for mayor, said last month.
Under the emergency legislation, applicants will need to have “good reason to fear injury to his or her person or property” or “any other proper reason for carrying a pistol.”
Firearms still cannot be carried into D.C. schools, hospitals, government buildings, public transportation vehicles, establishments that serve alcohol, stadiums or arenas, or within 1,000 feet of a dignitary under police protection.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier will issue final licensing decisions, and a five-member review board will handle appeals.
The regulations will have the defendants and plaintiffs back in court next month.
Alan Gura, the plaintiffs’ attorney, said Friday that he thought the legislation was a way to “ration” a constitutional right because the city “thinks it’s a bad idea.”
“So we’re going to let someone accused of tax evasion come in and say the 16th Amendment is a bad idea?” he said.
The plaintiffs filed a motion Oct. 2 asking the judge to bar the city from enforcing the emergency law.
Saindon said Friday that he was confident the new law would stand as constitutional.
The federal judge would not comment on the motion about the new law Friday, instead scheduling a hearing for Nov. 20.