Federal judge may hold D.C. in contempt over gun laws

The District of Columbia may be held in contempt of court for enacting concealed carry laws ruled deemed too restrictive by a federal judge, the Washington Times reported.

During a hearing on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Frederick Scullin asked the city’s attorneys and the plaintiffs fighting the regulations for arguments on whether he should consider the city in contempt of his order for officials to develop a licensing scheme “consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.”

Scullin struck down city’s ban on carrying guns outside the home in July in the case of Palmer vs D.C., a legal battle that had been in court since 2009.

Attorney Alan Gura, who represents the four gun owners in the case, argued that the District has not lived up to its court-ordered obligation because his clients are still unable to obtain gun-carry permits under the city’s strict regulation, Specifically, they cannot prove that they’re under a specific threat as required by the regulations.

The newspaper reported that the judge asked District lawyers if they had statistical evidence showing that restricting carry to people who can demonstrate a special need would enhance public safety.

But D.C. assistant attorney general, Andrew Saindon, said he did not, and argued that the city’s licensing scheme does comply with the court’s orders.

The District has appealed the ruling and said any challenge to the recently passed regulations should be made through a separate lawsuit, but Scullin indicated he retains the right to determine whether the new laws are compliant with his previous ruling.

The District is required to submit additional arguments to the court by Dec. 4 and Gura is required to respond by Dec. 11.