No ‘Post-Apocalyptic Nightmare’ Here, Say Gun-Friendly States

     (CN) — Joined by a lone Democrat, 15 Republican attorneys general urged the D.C. Circuit to block tougher gun control in the nation’s capital.
     Eight years after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the district’s outright ban on handguns in the case District of Columbia v. Heller, Washington lawmakers remain locked in a struggle to pass constitutional gun-control legislation.
     Matthew Grace brought the lawsuit at issue over regulations D.C. adopted in June 2015. In addition to banning the open carry of guns in the city, the district set various requirements — age, criminal and personal history, mental health and physical requirements — for people who wished to carry a concealed weapon.
     A Washington resident who owns four guns, Grace said his application for a concealed-carry permit was denied for lack of “good cause.”
     His case won an injunction in May from U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon, and the D.C. Circuit is set to hear oral argument next month on the district’s appeal.
     Arizona is at the helm of an amicus brief by 16 states that want the federal appeals court to affirm.
     They say the logic for fighting open-carry laws is flawed.
     “The district contends that the equation is simple — the more firearms carried equals mayhem and chaos, regardless whether the individuals carrying weapons are law-abiding citizens,” the brief says, signed by Keith Miller with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.
     “To the contrary,” the brief continues, “more firearms — when carried by law-abiding, licensed citizens — do not lead to more crime. This is due, in part, to the fact that private citizens who acquire licenses to carry firearms publicly are, by definition, law-abiding.”
     A study D.C. cited in support of its law found that “right-to-carry laws are associated with substantially higher rates of aggravated assault, rape, robbery and murder.”
     But Arizona’s brief disputes this.
     “The research on firearms violence tends to show that when more law-abiding citizens carry weapons with a license, crime rates either go down or remain static,” Assistant Solicitor General Miller wrote. “Indeed the states that allow their law-abiding citizens to carry firearms have not found themselves living in a post-apocalyptic nightmare.”
     In a study of the years 1995 to 2014, as quoted in the brief, the FBI found “less than one murder per year per 400,000” was committed by someone with a conceal-and-carry license.
     For the general population, the murder rate is about 5 per 100,000 per year, Miller noted.
     Arguing that defensive gun use promotes victim safety, the brief also cites studies that show “the large majority of defensive uses did not involve firing the weapon, but merely displaying it to deter an attacker.”
     By example, the brief tells the story of an Uber driver with a carry permit who fired six shots to stop a man who opened fire on a crowd in Logan Square in Chicago.
     Miller cites 19 academic studies and law-enforcement reports in the brief, which concludes by noting that no state with limited restrictions on concealed-carry permits has “found it necessary to reinstitute a de facto ban on licensed carry.”
     “It would be unusual for a policy that has worked so well for every adopting state to cause problems in the District of Columbia,” Miller added.
     Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming all joined the Aug. 12 brief. Though Missouri is the only one of these states with a Democratic attorney general, Chris Koster was actually a Republican prior to 2007.
     Leon, the judge who enjoined D.C.’s law this spring, was appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush.
     The D.C. Circuit is set to hear the district’s appeal of this injunction on Sept. 20. All three judges on the panel are Republican appointees. President George W. Bush appointed Judge Thomas Griffith, and his father appointed Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson. The third member of next month’s panel, Judge Stephen Williams, owes his seat to President Ronald Reagan.

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