On Monday, January 30, the District of Columbia City Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on Bill 19-614, the Firearms Amendment Act of 2011. This hearing will be held at 11:00 a.m. in the Council Chamber of the John A. Wilson Building.
As it has become clear that lawfully armed citizens do not increase crime in D.C., Bill 19-614 is an important step in moving the District toward a more reasonable approach. The NRA supports the following provisions of the bill that will facilitate the lawful exercise of Second Amendment rights by residents of the District of Columbia:
- Authorizing temporary possession of firearms by students in firearms safety and training courses, and transportation of firearms to and from such courses;
- Authorizing firearm registration by persons convicted of minor, non-violent firearms-related misdemeanors more than five years before the time of application;
- Elimination of the vision testing requirement. In fact, even legally blind people routinely use assistive technology to hunt with firearms and engage in competitive shooting, and in a number of cases have been able to use firearms effectively in self-defense.
- Acceptance of military training, or of the possession of a state firearms license for which comparable training was required, to satisfy the District’s mandatory training requirement.
- Repeal of the requirement that handguns undergo a “ballistics identification procedure”—a requirement imposed by only four states, with a dismal track record of success. The Maryland State Police recommended that state’s “ballistic imaging” law be repealed because of its “failure … to provide any meaningful hits” in its first four years of operation. And just this year, New York’s Governor, Andrew Cuomo—a strong supporter of gun control—also proposed eliminating his state’s system because it “has been costly and has helped solve too few crimes.”
- Requiring the Metropolitan Police, rather than registration applicants, to take photographs for use in the application process.
However, while all of these changes are welcome steps in the right direction, they do not go nearly far enough in respecting District residents’ Second Amendment rights. Please come out and show your support for the Second Amendment and urge council members to support any improvement in the Districts gun laws.