The Washington D.C. City Council epitomizes everything that’s wrong with this country.
Case in point, this recent comment from Democratic council member Marion Barry, who also served as a four-term mayor for the District from 1979-1991.
“I don’t believe in guns. I don’t believe in carrying guns,” said Barry, in reference to a ruling by a federal judge that overturned the District’s ban on concealed carry and tasked the council with drafting legislation to create an issuing standard. “I think the public ought to understand that all of us here are doing something we really don’t want to do.”
In other words, Barry doesn’t believe in the Second Amendment to the Constitution. He doesn’t believe that law-abiding citizens should have the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense outside the home.
What’s frightening is that he is not alone. The entire city council feels that guns should be banned, which is why it voiced reluctance to vote for a highly restrictive ‘may-issue’ emergency concealed carry law earlier this week. Even what is now considered to be the toughest CCW standard in the country wasn’t strict enough because it doesn’t outright ban gun owners from being allowed to carry in the public square.
“We really don’t want to move forward with allowing more guns in the District of Columbia, but we all know we have to be compliant with what the courts say,” said Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4).
Likewise, council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) said she was “deeply disappointed” that the ban was ruled unconstitutional and that permitting concealed carry did “grievous harm to public safety.”
Of course, all of those comments are completely laughable given what the statistics say about concealed carry. As concealed carry rights have been expanded over the past two decades to the point where now all 50 states have legalized concealed carry, crime (property crime, violent crime and the homicide rate) have all uniformly decreased leading any rational individual to conclude at the very least that permissive concealed carry laws do not increase crime rates — if anything the complete opposite is true, more law-abiding citizens carrying firearms for self-defense reduces crime.
Yet, in the face of such overwhelming evidence, the D.C. council unanimously approved a bill Monday that through its harsh requirements effectively denies one the right to carry.
The emergency bill requires one to pass an extensive background check process, complete 18 hours of gun-safety training and provide to the police chief a “good reason to fear injury to his or her person or property” or “any other proper reason for carrying a pistol.”
It’s that discretionary aspect of the bill, the police chief’s power to arbitrarily deny one the right to carry, that will likely prevent many law-abiding citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights.
As Second Amendment attorney Alan Gura, who lead the charge to repeal the ban in federal court, noted, the emergency ‘may-issue’ bill is pretty much a new way of maintaining the old status quo.
“The court instructed the city to treat the carrying of handguns as a right rooted in the constitutional interest in self-defense,” Gura told the Washington Post.
“It’s not much progress to move from a system where licenses are not available to a system where licenses are only available if the city feels like issuing them,” he added. “It’s something of a joke.”
Gura plans to bring the emergency bill before the judge who initially struck down the ban in July, U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr., on Oct. 17.
“They have to explain why this is different than what currently exists,” Gura said. “I don’t believe they can do that.”
Gura’s correct. It’s not different. It’s just another way to infringe on the Constitutional rights of District citizens. But D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, who said he will sign the measure, feels otherwise.
“This bill ensures that we will be able to meet the requirements of the Constitution while maintaining the maximum amount of safeguards possible to protect our residents, visitors, workers and public-safety officers,” Gray said.
On one hand there’s reason to believe that the Council will get away with a may-issue standard as states like Maryland and New Jersey have similar concealed carry laws on the books that require the sign off of a CLEO. But on the other hand, there’s hope in an appeals court ruling in California that struck down the state’s may-issue standard as being unconstitutional.
Bottom line, the current battle over the ‘may-issue’ standard in D.C. is one that’s being fought nationwide and until the Supreme Court weighs in on the matter and finally puts the issue to rest, one can expect to see more appeals and challenges from both sides of the gun divide.
Meanwhile, in D.C. the emergency bill will be in effect for 90 days. After which, the council will re-examine the law, hold public hearings on it and ultimately vote on whether to make it permanent, pending Congressional review.
Hopefully the council has a come to Jesus moment with respect to concealed carry between now and then, but don’t hold your breath. The council has proven itself to be rabidly anti-gun time and time again.