Over the weekend I looked at comments made by New York Congressman Chris Collins regarding carrying his firearm as much as possible after the recent shooting. This has prompted a number of responses from the Left (including from New York’s governor) which demonstrate that we’re still facing an entrenched position of, “more guns aren’t the answer.”
There are no doubt quite a few members of Congress who have permits to carry back in their home districts, but as has already been pointed out, that doesn’t do them much good when they head to their offices inside the Beltway. The District of Columbia doesn’t recognize permits from other states, having no reciprocity laws for such rights. The baseball practice took place in Virginia (where some reciprocity is allowed for) but the members aren’t able to take their firearms to their offices or in their cars to get over the border into Alexandria so that doesn’t do them much good.
So what to do? One solution would be special regulations and protections allowing members of Congress to carry. But that’s not going to go over well with conservatives since we’re not talking about a “privilege” here but an absolute right which is already being infringed by the district. Picking out a handful of elected officials to be “granted that right” would be seen as a slap in the face to everyone else. With that in mind, some members are talking about using the power of Congress to override the DC laws on reciprocity and replace them with something more equitable. (Washington Free Beacon)
Republican Congressman Thomas Massie (R., Ky.) introduced a bill on Thursday that would require Washington, D.C., to honor valid gun-carry permits from other states.
Rep. Massie said the D.C. Personal Protection Reciprocity Act was a direct reaction to last week’s attack on Republican congressmen at a baseball field in Alexandria, Va., which left four injured.
“After the horrific shooting at the Republican Congressional Baseball practice, there will likely be calls for special privileges to protect politicians,” Rep. Massie said in a statement. “Our reaction should instead be to protect the right of all citizens guaranteed in the Constitution: the right to self-defense. I do not want to extend a special privilege to politicians, because the right to keep and bear arms is not a privilege, it is a God-given right protected by our Constitution.”
That’s a great idea in theory but it sounds a bit off the bell curve of reality in practice. Yes, Congress can override the district’s laws if they wish, assuming the will exists in the legislative branch to do so. But they’re going to run into a wall of opposition, not only from congressional Democrats, but from the district government as well. The Mayor, along with members of the district council, are already lining up against any such move. (Washington Post)
Asked last week about Loudermilk’s call for lawmakers to carry guns, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said she could not take a position without reviewing the legislation.
“We, of course, with the council of the District of Columbia pass the laws that we think help make D.C. safer and stronger, and that’s going to be our view,” she said at a news conference Thursday. “I don’t have any idea what [Loudermilk’s legislation] is, so I would have to see it first.”
D.C. Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), who is chairman of the judiciary and public safety committee, said the District should be able to make its own laws without interference from Congress.
The whole idea of making DC a state or giving them additional representation will get new life breathed into it with this scuffle and that’s always good for a few national headlines. Sadly, a media scuffle is all it’s likely to be. The federal government has long been loathe to stick their beaks too far into the laws passed in the district even though they have the right to. The ironic part of this is that if the GOP had been more willing to carve out special rights for themselves and throw everyone else under the bus they might have found enough Democrats to go along with it. But to override the district’s horrendous gun laws for everyone? That’s clearly a bridge too far.