864 F.3d 650 (D.C. Cir. 2017), 16-7025, Wrenn v. District of Columbia

Docket Nº:16-7025, 16-7067
Citation:864 F.3d 650
Opinion Judge:Griffith, Circuit Judge:
Party Name:BRIAN WRENN, ET AL., APPELLANTS v. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, ET AL., APPELLEES MATTHEW GRACE AND PINK PISTOLS, APPELLEES v. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND PETER NEWSHAM, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS CHIEF OF POLICE FOR THE METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT, APPELLANTS
Attorney:Alan Gura argued the cause and filed the briefs for appellants. Herbert W. Titus, Robert J. Olson, William J. Olson, Jeremiah L. Morgan, and John S. Miles were on the brief for amici curiae Gun Owners of America, Inc., et al. in support of appellants. Holly M. Johnson, Assistant Attorney General,...
Judge Panel:Before: HENDERSON and GRIFFITH, Circuit Judges, and WILLIAMS, Senior Circuit Judge. Dissenting opinion filed by Circuit Judge HENDERSON. KAREN LECRAFT HENDERSON, Circuit Judge, dissenting. Karen Lecraft Henderson, Circuit Judge, dissenting:
Case Date:July 25, 2017
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
 
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Page 650

864 F.3d 650 (D.C. Cir. 2017)

BRIAN WRENN, ET AL., APPELLANTS

v.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, ET AL., APPELLEES

MATTHEW GRACE AND PINK PISTOLS, APPELLEES

v.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND PETER NEWSHAM, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS CHIEF OF POLICE FOR THE METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT, APPELLANTS

Nos. 16-7025, 16-7067

United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

July 25, 2017

Argued September 20, 2016.

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Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. (No. 1:15-cv-00162).

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. (No. 1:15-cv-02234).

Alan Gura argued the cause and filed the briefs for appellants.

Herbert W. Titus, Robert J. Olson, William J. Olson, Jeremiah L. Morgan, and John S. Miles were on the brief for amici curiae Gun Owners of America, Inc., et al. in support of appellants.

Holly M. Johnson, Assistant Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, argued the cause for appellees. With her on the brief were Karl A. Racine, Attorney General, Todd S. Kim, Solicitor General, and Loren L. AliKhan, Deputy Solicitor General. Richard S. Love, Assistant Attorney General, entered an appearance.

Adam K. Levin and Jonathan E. Lowy were on the brief for amicus curiae The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence in support of appellees District of Columbia and Cathy L. Lanier.

Brian E. Frosh, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Maryland, Joshua N. Auerbach, Assistant Attorney General, Maura Healey, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Eric T. Schneiderman, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of New York, Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Oregon, Robert W. Ferguson, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Washington, Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of California, George Jepsen, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Connecticut, Douglas S. Chin, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Hawaii, Lisa Madigan, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Illinois, and Tom Miller, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Iowa, were on the brief for amici curiae States of Maryland, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, and Washington in support of appellees.

Paul R.Q. Wolfson and Walter A. Smith, Jr. were on the brief for amici curiae DC Appleseed Center for Law & Justice, et al. in support of defendants-appellees.

Deepak Gupta was on the brief for amicus curiae Everytown For Gun Safety in support of appellees.

Loren L. AliKhan, Deputy Solicitor General, Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, argued the cause for appellants. With her on the briefs were Karl A. Racine, Attorney General, Todd S. Kim, Solicitor General, and Holly M. Johnson, Assistant Attorney General.

Brian E. Frosh, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Maryland, Joshua N. Auerbach, Assistant Attorney General, Maura Healey, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Eric T. Schneiderman, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of New York, Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Oregon, Robert W. Ferguson, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Washington, Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of California, George Jepsen, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Connecticut, Douglas S. Chin, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Hawaii, Lisa Madigan, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Illinois, and Tom Miller, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Iowa, were on the brief for Maryland, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, and Washington in support of appellants.

Paul R.Q. Wolfson and Walter A. Smith, Jr. were on the brief for amici curiae DC Appleseed Center for Law & Justice, et al. in support of defendants-appellants.

Deepak Gupta was on the brief for amicus curiae Everytown for Gun Safety in support of defendants-appellants.

Adam K. Levin and Jonathan Lowy were on the brief for amicus curiae Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence in support of appellants District of Columbia and Cathy L. Lanier.

David H. Thompson argued the cause for appellees. With him on the brief was Charles J. Cooper, Howard C. Nielson, Jr., Peter A. Patterson, and John D. Ohlendorf.

Mark Brnovich, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Arizona, John R. Lopez, IV, Solicitor General, Keith Miller, Assistant Solicitor General, Alan Wilson, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of South Carolina, Marty J. Jackley, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of South Dakota, Ken Paxton, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Texas, Sean D. Reyes, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Utah, Patrick Morrisey, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of West Virginia, Brad D. Schimel, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Wisconsin, Peter K. Michael, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Wyoming, Luther Strange, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Alabama, Leslie Rutledge, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Arkansas, Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Indiana, Chris Koster, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Missouri, Timothy C. Fox, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Montana, Adam Paul Laxalt, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Nevada, Michael DeWine, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Ohio, and E. Scott Pruitt, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Oklahoma were on the brief for Arizona, Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming in support of plaintiffs-appellees.

Dan M. Peterson and C.D. Michel were on the brief for amici curiae Western States Sheriffs' Association, et al. in support of plaintiffs-appellees.

Paul D. Clement, Erin E. Murphy, and Christopher G. Michel were on the brief for amicus curiae National Rifle Association of America, Inc. in support of plaintiffs-appellees.

Herbert W. Titus, Robert J. Olson, William J. Olson, Jeremiah L. Morgan, and John S. Miles were on the brief for amicus curiae Gun Owners of America, Inc., et al. in support of plaintiffs-appellees.

Before: HENDERSON and GRIFFITH, Circuit Judges, and WILLIAMS, Senior Circuit Judge. Dissenting opinion filed by Circuit Judge HENDERSON. KAREN LECRAFT HENDERSON, Circuit Judge, dissenting.

OPINION

Page 655

Griffith, Circuit Judge:

Constitutional challenges to gun laws create peculiar puzzles for courts. In other areas, after all, a law's validity might turn on the value of its goals and the efficiency of its means. But gun laws almost always aim at the most compelling goal--saving lives--while evidence of their effects is almost always deeply contested. On top of that, the Supreme Court has offered little guidance. Its " first in-depth examination of the Second Amendment" is younger than the first iPhone. District of Columbia v. Heller (Heller I), 554 U.S. 570, 634, 128 S.Ct. 2783, 171 L.Ed.2d 637 (2008). And by its own admission, that first treatment manages to be mute on how to review gun laws in a range of other cases. See id. at 634. But listening closely to Heller I reveals this much at least: the Second Amendment erects some absolute barriers that no gun law may breach. This lesson will prove crucial as we consider the challenges presented in these cases to the District of Columbia's limits on carrying guns in public.

I

These cases involve the District's third major attempt in forty years at managing what the D.C. Council sees as the tension between public safety and the Second Amendment. In 1976, the District banned all handgun possession. D.C. Code § § 7-2502.01(a), 7-2502.02(a)(4) (2001). When...

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