It’s sort of bizarre to think that strict DC gun control could lead to increased firearm freedom. But, that’s exactly what seems to be happening in the District of Columbia right now. This past July 2014, a federal judge ruled that Washington’s DC previous ban on private gun ownership (which lasted between the years of 1976 through 2008) infringed upon constitutional rights and was unconstitutional. In response to this ruling, the city announced emergency legislation last Wednesday, September 17th, 2014. This legislation remains part of DC’s strategy towards dealing with the ruling and its consequences. In a press conference, DC Mayor, Vincent C. Gray, and public safety officials/DC Council leaders declared the situation urgent. They decided to apply this new legislation as efficiently as possible in order to ensure the safety of all District residents. Phil Mendelson, a Council chairman who was very active in developing the new gun-carry proposal, accompanied the Mayor.
The rest of the event hosted an unveiling of this emergency legislation. As of today, the legislation still holds proposal status. The Council should vote on the proposed law sometime during this week according to Phil Mendelson. Lawmakers aimed this new bill at making the gun registration process easier but also simultaneously preventing the misuse of guns. “We cannot eliminate guns,” said Phil Mendelson during an event hosted this past September 17th. “We can eliminate the risk that the person will misuse the gun”, he added. Under these new regulations, DC residents can apply for a permit to carry a gun if they indicate they require it as protection from a specific danger.
Should the mandatory conditions be fulfilled, the Police Chief, Cathy L. Lanier, would then issue the applicant’s permit. If an applicant is denied permit, they have the option to contest that decision in front of a 5 member committee appointed by the Mayor. According to Mendelson, prohibiting guns shouldn’t take up a judge’s time. The goal of the emergency legislation is to focus on the individual and to ensure that problems don’t occur in the permit process. “What we want to do is minimize the indicators that a person might have a mental illness or history of violence or a criminal record,” Mendelson said. The new law also aims to simplify the process in order to make the application easier to understand and follow.
With this recent federal gun ownership ruling, the residents of Washington DC can suddenly own private firearms after years of legislation blocking such an act. New legislation was necessary to both enable the process and to ensure the change doesn’t carry any sort of safety breach. The old DC gun control laws were very restrictive. These laws only allowed law enforcement agents private gun ownership. However, these restrictions finale reached an end in 2008 with the District of Columbia v. Heller case. During this case, a federal judge ruled in favor of protecting private citizens’ rights to own a gun for lawful purposes.
U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. decision to upturn the city’s ban privately owned firearms caused the Mayor and the other officials to come up with this emergency legislation in order to successfully transition the city from unconstitutional gun control towards responsible freedom. The new city law should allow people to fully utilize their inalienable second amendment rights under the careful supervision of the local law enforcement.
During the press conference, the Mayor announced that DC residents should expect the application process for DC Conceal Carry permits to open as soon as a few weeks from now. Should the law pass, the conceal carry permits will mostly allow guns to be held inside private homes. We should note that many public areas already include a ban of carrying firearms in or around them.
Some critics have pointed out that the new law and application process will probably carry needless stipulations that make firearm permits next to impossible to obtain for D.C.’s lawful, private citizens. However, we choose to focus on the positives in this instance. For the first time in over three decades, D.C. will allow its taxpaying denizens to choose for themselves whether or not they should own/carry a firearm. This is the first baby step towards a more free Washington D.C. Furthermore, we can view this breakthrough as being symbolic of a shift in U.S. ideology. Freedom just found a huge win in Washington D.C. this month. The area still has a long way to go. But, we’re happy about this win for the second amendment.
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