Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine will decide this week whether to ask the Supreme Court to review a ruling striking down the city’s restrictions on carrying concealed guns — a choice that could determine the fate of similar laws in cities such as New York and Los Angeles, the Washington Post reports. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected a D.C. law that requires residents to demonstrate a “good reason” to obtain a permit to carry a gun in public. Appealing to the Supreme Court would give the city a chance to save the law. It would also open a window for the justices to further constrain the power of cities and states to regulate firearms. In 2007, the appeal of a ruling finding D.C.’s handgun ban unconstitutional led to a high court decision establishing that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms.
If the justices decide to hear the new case, similar restrictions in states including California, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, Hawaii, New Jersey and Connecticut will hang in the balance. Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said, “Really it’s the fate of the whole country you have in your hands when you’re making this call. You want to protect the people of D.C., but you don’t want to make bad law for the rest of the country.” Some experts said Justice Anthony Kennedy, 81, might look more favorably on strict regulation of permits to carry concealed firearms than would a justice nominated by President Trump. Thus, it might make more sense for gun-control advocates to seek a decision now on whether the Second Amendment protects the right to carry concealed weapons outside the home — before Kennedy’s possible retirement — than to wait for a court that could be more hostile to gun regulation.