DC officials won’t appeal ruling against strict gun law

WASHINGTON — District of Columbia officials said Thursday that they won’t appeal a court ruling striking down a portion of the city’s gun laws, a decision that means it will soon be easier for gun owners to get concealed carry permits in the nation’s capital.

A divided three-judge federal appeals court panel ruled in July that a portion of the city’s gun regulations infringed on residents’ Second Amendment rights. That portion required people to show ‘‘good reason to fear injury’’ or another ‘‘proper reason’’ to carry a handgun.

Reasons might include a personal threat, or a job that requires a person to carry or protect cash or valuables. That stringent requirement meant only about 120 people currently have a permit to carry a concealed handgun in the city.


Officials said they made a calculated decision not to appeal.

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‘‘I continue to believe the District’s ‘good reason’ requirement is a common-sense, and constitutional, gun regulation. However, we must reckon with the fact that an adverse decision by the Supreme Court could have wide-ranging negative effects not just on District residents, but on the country as a whole,’’ District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine said in a statement.

Racine said that if the city were to appeal to the Supreme Court and lose, it would affect similar gun regulations elsewhere including in Maryland, New Jersey, and New York.

Racine acknowledged at a news conference that he had received several phone calls from officials in other jurisdictions worried about the effect of a Supreme Court ruling against the city. But Racine and District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser said the decision that was made was ultimately what was in the city’s best interest.