Tomorrow, October 16, at 10:30 a.m., the DC City Council will hold a public hearing to consider Bill 20-930, the “License to Carry a Pistol Amendment Act of 2014.” Despite sounding like a step in the right direction, this act’s name is deceptive. Its language is rife with bureaucratic hurdles, including long mandatory training requirements, as well as requiring applicants to undergo the already restrictive and burdensome process of registering a firearm in the District.
These are only the beginning of the harsh and misguided obstacles that DC residents must overcome before they are allowed to express their fundamental right to self-defense. Other problems with Bill 20-930 include:
- Issuance of a license to carry a pistol is “may-issue,” and requires that the applicant “has good reason to fear injury to his or her person or property or has any other proper reason to carry a pistol...” Such reason must be supported by evidence of specific threats or previous violent attacks which, for many, could be too late.
- Applicants must complete a firearms training course from an approved instructor which consists of a minimum of 16 hours of training (including two hours of live-fire instruction).
- Currently, no shooting ranges exist in DC that are open to the public. This will make it costly and difficult, if not impossible, for most DC residents to complete the training requirements, especially low income residents.
- Applicants must complete an in-person interview at the Metropolitan Police Department headquarters and “follow any procedures the Chief may establish by rule.”
- The MPD would have the authority to “limit the geographic area, circumstances or times of the day, week, month or year in which the license is effective.”
- Even with a license, carrying is prohibited in government buildings, adjacent parking lots, public transportation, public gatherings and the area around the White House -- in effect, much of Northwest DC. Along with these limitations, no carrying is allowed within 1,000 feet of a dignitary or high ranking official of the United States or a state, local or foreign government official who is under protection of the MPD. These officials typically move in escorts and would be a rolling gun-free zone with strict penalties for those licensees unknowingly caught in the zone.
- The Chief of the MPD is further granted authority to create regulations governing the carrying of concealed pistols. This bill prompts the creation of regulations regarding the amount of ammunition a licensee can carry and methods by which a pistol may be carried concealed.
Given the numerous and unprecedented hurdles to acquiring a license to carry under this bill, the fact that MPD would have essentially unfettered discretion in deciding whether or not to issue a license, and that so much of the District would remain off limits to carry even to a licensee, the city council has shown that its real intent with this bill is to continue the status quo of denying law-abiding citizens their right to bear arms within the District.
Please attend this City Council meeting tomorrow and voice your opposition to Bill 20-930 and its abhorrent regulations. This meeting will be held at this location:
Thursday, October 16
John A. Wilson Building, Room 500
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004
If you are unable to attend and testify, written statements will be accepted and made part of official record. Written statements should be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 30 to Nicole Goines.
Your NRA-ILA will continue to keep you updated when more information becomes available.