Mayor Vincent C. Gray has signed emergency legislation, the “License to Carry a Pistol Emergency Amendment Act of 2014,” passed by the Council of the District of Columbia in response to the ruling by the U.S. District Court in the case of Palmer v. District of Columbia. This law maintains our commitment to keeping guns out of the wrong hands and ensures the safety of all within the District of Columbia, while fully respecting the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The law cures the alleged constitutional flaws in the District’s licensing laws found by a U.S. District Court in the Palmer case. The summary judgment ruling in that case was stayed until October 22, 2014, giving District officials time to issue regulations authorized by this legislation. Once these are issued, members of the public who meet the statute’s criteria will be able to apply for a license to carry a pistol in the District.
In the meantime, except as authorized for law enforcement, carrying a gun in public remains a criminal offense, and anyone found doing so will be subject to arrest. The District’s Office of the Attorney General is prepared to prosecute all cases within its jurisdiction. All firearms will be seized as contraband. Firearms with a valid registration in the District of Columbia will be held as contraband unless and until the person goes through the process of applying for a valid license to carry.
In short, carrying a handgun without a license in the District of Columbia remains illegal. The District government is committed to working closely with the Council and with our community and federal partners to ensure the safety of District residents from gun violence.