WASHINGTON — A lawsuit filed in D.C. could mean more guns in more places, coming on the heels of a Supreme Court ruling that Americans have a right to carry firearms in public for self-defense.
Gun rights activists are suing the District in federal court, demanding the right to carry concealed handguns on Metro trains and buses. It could be just the start of a wave of changes around the nation limiting gun regulations.
Spot Tyler Yzaguirre on the street, and you're not likely to notice the slight bulge just under his coat. Yzaguirre is one of the thousands of civilians now licensed to conceal carry handguns in DC.
"Makes me feel safe, secure," he said, peeling aside his blazer to reveal a handgun tucked into a holster clipped inside his belt. "We're just looking to further expand our Second Amendment rights."
D.C. has already been forced by gun rights lawsuits to issue concealed carry permits to people who pass a background check and finish 16 hours of training.
Now Yzaguirre, Greg Angelo and Cameron Erickson, of D.C., and Robert Miller of Fairfax, are demanding the right to carry on Metro trains and Metro buses in the city, which have been among dozens of sensitive areas like schools, bars and government offices where guns have been banned.
"It is legal in Virginia to carry on the Metro," said their lawyer, George Lyon. "In fact, you can open carry on the Metro in Virginia. It is legal if you have a wear and carry permit in Maryland on Metro."
Lyon was one of the plaintiffs in the landmark 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller case, which establish an individual right to keep and bear a firearm without regard to whether you're part of a militia.
In the SCOTUS case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Assoc. v. Bruen, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the 6-3 conservative majority that, “the government must demonstrate that [gun] regulation is consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.”
The plaintiffs argue that Metro a sensitive location like an airport or airplane.
"There's a lack of police presence, there's a lack of security," argued Yzaguirre. "It's definitely a target for criminals."
Metro has its own dedicated police force, but a spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The DC Attorney General's Office also declined to comment on the guns on Metro lawsuit, but did point to a statement released after the SCOTUS ruling.
"The Office of the Attorney General will continue to defend the District's common-sense gun regulations and keep District residents safe," the statement said. "As the Supreme Court said, the Second Amendment is not a license to keep and carry any weapon in any manner for any purpose."
Maryland still requires you to have a "good reason" to get a concealed carry permit, but the Supreme Court decision leaves that, and Maryland's assault weapons ban, under withering fire.