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D.C. Council Approves Bill Allowing Residents To Carry Concealed Handguns

Residents and non-residents alike can now apply for concealed carry licenses in D.C.
Keith Lafaille: http://www.flickr.com/photos/klafaille/6218726857/
Residents and non-residents alike can now apply for concealed carry licenses in D.C.

Five months after a federal judge tossed out the District's longstanding ban on carrying handguns in public, the D.C. Council gave final approval to a bill allowing residents to apply for concealed carry permits.

The bill, approved by the Council on Tuesday, follows emergency legislation passed in September that created a restrictive "may-issue" permitting scheme that allows residents and non-residents alike to apply to carry a concealed handgun. To receive a permit, they have to prove they face a personal threat, verify that they have not suffered a mental illness for five years and undergo 18 hours of training.

If they are granted a permit, they are limited in where they can carry it: public transportation, schools, government buildings, bars, stadiums, and hospitals are off limits, as are protests and an area around the White House. Individuals carrying a handgun will have to remain 1,000 feet away from U.S. or foreign dignitaries.

The Metropolitan Police Department started accepting applications for permits in late October. Since then, over 50 people have applied for concealed carry licenses.

The legal battles over the city's restrictive gun laws aren't over, though. The four plaintiffs who in 2009 sued after being denied permits to carry their handguns in public have asked a judge to hold the city in contempt for not complying with his late-July ruling tossing out the carry ban. Additionally, D.C. has appealed the ruling.

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