Washington, D.C., residents can carry guns in public, District of Columbia Appeals Court ruled Tuesday.
"Common-law rights developed over time, and American commentaries spell out what early cases imply: the mature right captured by the [Second] Amendment was not hemmed in by longstanding bans on carrying in densely populated areas," the federal appeals court said in its decision. "Its protections today don't give out inside the Beltway."
Gun owners may carry their guns in public even without a "good reason," which is defined by the court as a "special need for self-protection distinguishable from the general community as supported by evidence of specific threats or previous attacks that demonstrate a special danger to the applicant's life."
The appeals court decided that the "good-reason" law "impinges on core Second Amendment conduct."
Possession of a handgun was banned in the nation's capital in 1976, and the Supreme Court struck down that ban in 2008 via its Heller decision. The district's lawmakers have repeatedly tried since the high court's Heller decision to restrict who can carry a handgun in public, which led to the challenge answered by the federal appeals court on Tuesday.
Whether the D.C. Circuit's ruling will be appealed to the Supreme Court remains to be seen, but the high court declined to take a similar case at the end of its most recent term.
The Supreme Court last month refused to review a challenge about the boundaries of the Second Amendment in relation to a California self-defense law.
Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch dissented from the high court's decision not to take the case, which may suggest the Supreme Court's right-leaning justices have some appetite for hearing similar disputes in the future.