Thanks in large part to the work of intrepid Washington Times reporter Emily Miller; the Washington D.C. City Council is poised to remove several of the capital city’s burdensome gun registration requirements.
The bill, known as the Firearms Amendment Act of 2012, would eliminate the vision test, the five-hour training course, ballistic testing and a ban on certain types of ammunition.
Additionally, the bill would remove the registration renewal requirement that has the potential to turn law-abiding gun owners into criminals for simply failing to re-register their firearms.
Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, proposed the bill in December to address mounting legal concerns over what are arguably the nation’s toughest gun laws (Chicago’s in the running for that honor as well). In short, to avoid being sued by pro-gun organizations, the Council had to do something.
“This is what I believe we have to do in order to accommodate the concerns raised by Congress and, or, the courts,” Mendelson told the Washington Times.
And remember, these onerous requirements are not for the issuance of a concealed carry permit, but what it takes to merely own a firearm. To clarify, any type of carry (open/concealed) is strictly forbidden. Unfortunately, this bill will not change the carry restriction.
To show just how difficult it is for one to obtain a firearm in D.C. under current law, below is a wonderfully informative video made by Ms. Miller. It’s part of an editorial series she did, “Emily Gets Her Gun,” for the Washington Times. It did wonders to expose D.C.’s de facto gun ban.
Following the landmark Supreme Court decision in 2008, Heller v. D.C., which overturned the District’s three-decade-long handgun ban and established that the Second Amendment grants individuals the right to possess guns for self-defense within the home, the D.C. Council acted fast to institute a series of restrictions that, in effect, upheld the ban.
But now, reluctantly, the Council has no choice but to remove some of the barriers to gun ownership.
“Although none of us like making it easier for someone to have a gun legally, we believe that this is what we have to do.” Councilman Jack Evans (Ward 2 Democrat) told The Washington Times.
The bill will be voted on by the entire City Council in April. It’s expected to pass and after a 60-day congressional review period will take effect.
While D.C. still has a long way to go to becoming a gun-friendly city, this is a step in the right direction. For more on this issue and the specifics of the bill, check out Ms. Miller’s work here.