Responding to a federal court judge who overruled the law banning concealed possession of handguns in July,the D.C. Council unanimously passed emergency legislation that would permit concealed carry.
“We don’t want to do this,but we have to,” Councilman Marion Barry,D-Ward 8,said. “I don’t believe in guns. I don’t believe in carrying in guns or having one in my house.”
Under the law,only someone who can demonstrate “good reason to fear injury,” or that his or her job requires the transportation of valuable goods or money,would be eligible for a permit.
Though they were required to pass a law allowing concealed carry,the council members were adamant about passing the most restrictive gun control legislation possible.
“The bill that’s before us does not change the standard by which someone could use a gun in the District,” Councilwoman Muriel Bowser,D-Ward 4,said. Referring to controversial Stand Your Ground laws in states such as Florida,she said,“We’re not becoming a district that would permit someone to stand their ground.”
The bill leaves unchanged other stringent gun control regulations. Open carry,magazines carrying more than 10 rounds of ammunition,“assault weapons” and .50 BMG caliber weapons and ammunition are not permitted.
“We’re already a city that has decided we don’t want handguns in the city,” Councilman Tommy Wells,D-Ward 6,said. He said that the bill is “about as restrictive as we can go.”
If someone wants to own a firearm in D.C.,he or she must register the firearm with the police and wait for 10 days before picking up the weapon.
If somebody is caught carrying a handgun without a license,that person could be facing a felony and five years in prison,Council Chairman Phil Mendelson,D,said.
Wells raised concerns that people could take advantage of lax gun control regulations to harm officials who work or live in D.C.
“People come here to harm elected officials,” he said. “We have a responsibility as the nation’s capital.”
Mendelson said the council talked with D.C. police and federal officials as the bill was drafted. bill.
“We’ve worked closely with the chief,” Mendelson said. “I am comfortable that they are comfortable with the bill.”
The emergency legislation establishes a zone in Northwest Washington around the White House,between Constitution Avenue and H Street and between 15th and 17th Streets,where concealed weapons are prohibited.
Councilman David Grosso,I-At-Large,proposed an amendment that would make public the names of those who own a concealed carry permit. The amendment failed.
“This is inherently a dangerous situation,” Grosso said. “I think it would be appropriate for the public to know if your neighbor is carrying a concealed weapon.”
Reach reporter Lucas Daprile or 202-408-1490. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire. Like the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire interns on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.