Wrenn v. District of Columbia: Joining with the Brady Center to Defend the District’s Concealed Carry Permitting System

Overlooking-DC

Case Information: Wrenn v. District of Columbia, No. 15-7057 (D.C. Cir. Brief Filed Sept. 3, 2015)

At Issue: This cases challenges the constitutionality of the District’s regulations regarding the issuance of concealed carry permits. Similar to California law, the District requires that a CCW applicant show a specific need for a permit and a general self-defense interest is not enough to meet this burden. These “may-issue” systems are in place in several states across the country and are associated with a reduction in crime, including aggravated assault. However, the district court found that these laws violate the Second Amendment and the case is now on appeal with the D.C. Circuit.

Our Amicus Brief: The Law Center joined an amicus brief coordinated by the Brady Center that defends the constitutionality of the District’s concealed carry regime and argues that this regime does not violate the Second Amendment. The brief also focuses on the relevant evidence provided by social science research and the perspective of law enforcement with respect to the regulation of concealed carry in public places. The brief argues that there is a strong policy justification for a concealed carry permitting regime that requires applicants to demonstrate an elevated level of need before a permit may be issued.

The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence Research Cited as Primary Source for Brady Campaign’s 2011 State Scorecards

The Law Center is proud to have provided the extensive legislative analysis relied upon by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in its annual state scorecards, which were released on February 16th, 2012. The scorecards assign a score to each state based on the strength or weakness of its gun laws.

Our work has been critical to the adoption and defense of strong laws in California, which received the highest score of any state in the country. As the scorecards show, however, too many states have weak, gap-filled laws that make it easier for criminals and other dangerous persons to acquire military-style firearms and carry guns in public places.

The Brady Campaign announced that:

California continues to blaze legislative trails in saving lives, rising to a high of 81 points on the 2011 Brady State Scorecard rankings of state gun laws. California’s universal background check system, retention of purchase records, limiting handgun purchases to one a month, and an assault clip ban are just some of the laws that provide a road map to preventing gun violence.

Opposite California are Arizona, Alaska, and Utah with 0 points each. In fact, a Brady Campaign analysis of crime gun trace data finds that the 31 states with few or no gun laws export 9 times the crime guns as the six states with the strongest gun laws.

For the 5th year in a row, the Brady Campaign has issued a 100-point scorecard ranking all 50 states on the basis of laws that can prevent gun violence, such as background checks on all gun sales, permit-to-purchase requirements, limiting handgun purchases to one a month, and retention of sales records. The scorecard ranks states for laws that were in enacted by the end of 2011.

» Click here to download full state scorecard
» Click here to download state rankings

The Law Center’s publication, “Regulating Guns in America” and our website served as the primary sources for this analysis.  Continue reading

The Law Center Joined Americans Nationwide to Remember Victims and Survivors of Gun Violence on the One-Year Anniversary of the Shooting in Tucson, Arizona

On January 8, 2012, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence joined Americans nationwide to remember victims and survivors of gun violence on the one-year anniversary of the shooting in Tucson, Arizona.  At a candlelight vigil in Yerba Buena Gardens, survivors, legislators, and activists from across the Bay Area gathered to reflect on the terrible toll of gun violence and the need for renewed efforts to keep our communities safe.

Our Legal Director Juliet Leftwich spoke to the need for action in an op-ed in the Contra Costa Times, urging Congress to enact sensible gun laws to prevent future tragedies:

Remember Republicans and Democrats alike sitting together to express their unified support for their fallen colleague? Sadly, rather than using that moment to actually do something tangible to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future, our leaders let the opportunity pass and simply returned to business as usual.

It’s not too late. If members of Congress truly want to honor the victims and survivors of the Tucson shooting, they should stop pandering to the gun lobby and start protecting public safety.

We thank everyone who attended Sunday’s vigil.  You can watch a KTVU news report on the event below and see more photos from the vigil here.

The San Francisco vigil, organized by the Law Center, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence Bay Area Chapters, 1000 Mothers to Prevent Violence, and Youth ALIVE!, was one of numerous vigils held on January 8 to remember victims of gun violence nationwide.  Reports from events across the country are being collected at TooManyVictims.org.

Gun violence prevention groups have also released a number of important materials recently.  Mayors Against Illegal Guns released a video of survivors from the Tucson shooting sharing their stories.  The Violence Policy Center also published a new report entitled More Guns, More Shootings, which found that, in 2008, 110,215 people were shot in the United States, a nine-year high.

Gun Violence Prevention Groups Send Letter to Obama Calling for Action in Wake of Al Qaeda Video

Washington, DC–In a letter sent today to the White House, America’s five national gun violence prevention (GVP) organizations–the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Violence Policy Center, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Legal Community Against Violence, and States United to Prevent Gun Violence–as well as 14 state and regional GVP groups, strongly urged President Obama to take action to strengthen America’s gun laws to prevent terrorists from following through on threats to launch deadly attacks with firearms on U.S. soil. The catalyst for the letter was a chilling video released on the Internet last Friday urging Al Qaeda followers to undertake terrorist attacks in the U.S. using firearms. The video message features Adam Gadahn, an American-born member of the terrorist group, urging followers to immediately launch violent acts of jihad by exploiting the firepower available on the U.S. civilian gun market and the weaknesses in U.S. gun laws and the federal background check system.

According to Gadahn: “America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms. You can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle, without a background check, and most likely, without having to show an identification card. So what are you waiting for?”

In the letter, the organizations urge President Obama to act now to prevent such terrorist attacks and specifically call on the President to:

“[O]rder an immediate and thorough review of steps the Administration can take in the short term to reduce the firepower available on the civilian gun market, to tighten existing laws regulating the gun industry, and to improve the background check system to make it harder for those with terrorist ties to obtain firearms.”

The groups also urge President Obama “to call on Congress to convene extensive, serious hearings to explore and identify the legislative steps that ultimately must be taken if a small arms terrorist attack is to be prevented.”

The letter to the President details warnings from terrorism experts and U.S. government officials of potential attacks by firearm-wielding terrorists, including a warning from an FBI official in 2009 citing the commando-style terror attacks in Mumbai, India, on November 26, 2008.