David Gregory nearly found out the hard way about defying the District of Columbia’s restrictive gun laws ( though prosecutors lost interest in the story quickly) and now one congressman may be entering into the same sort of kerfuffle. Representative Ken Buck (R-Colorado) tweeted a picture of himself and Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) holding Buck’s AR-15. The problem is that the picture was taken in Buck’s House offices.
— Congressman Ken Buck (@RepKenBuck) April 16, 2015
As The Hill is reporting, somebody sent this information off to the authorities and an investigation is underway.
Police in Washington, D.C., have been referred materials for a possible investigation into two Republican congressmen who posed for a picture with an assault rifle in a House office building…
Having the AR-15 in the District could be a violation of the city’s strict gun laws, and the city attorney general’s office has referred the matter to police, a spokesman told The Hill.
“The matter has been referred to the Metropolitan Police Department for further investigation,” he said.
Buck said in the tweet the assault rifle is his and the picture was taken after Gowdy “stopped by.”
This could turn out to be a problem for Congressman Buck because the authorities there may not have a problem looking the other way for a rather liberal friendly member of the network media, but if they get their claws into a Republican things may get far more serious. Looking at the current D.C. gun laws, they do prohibit the registration and possession of “an assault weapon” and a .pdf of the specific banned weapons does include the AR-15 series, with penalties of a fine up to $1000 and a year in jail for a first offense.
Buck explained that the weapon is inoperable because, “the bolt carrier assembly is not in the rifle; it is in fact in Colorado.” We’ll need some lawyers versed in the specifics of these laws to make a determination but I’m not sure if that qualifies. It may indeed be true that “the” bolt carrier assembly which came with the rifle is in Colorado, but a replacement assembly could be inserted, right? On a quick check I don’t see any cases which have been argued on a gun possession charge involving a weapon with any components missing.
At first blush I can certainly sympathize with Congressman Buck. These laws are ridiculous and the ones talking about so called “assault weapons” are doubly so. But from a strictly conservative perspective, we don’t fight against gun grabbing laws by violating them, we fight to get them changed. While the laws are on the books we’re still obligated to follow them, particularly if we work in the chamber responsible for crafting laws. Perhaps there is an out here or, failing that, the authorities may take all the particulars into consideration and opt not to pursue this as they did with David Gregory. But given Ken Buck’s high profile position I wouldn’t bet the ranch on it.
UPDATE: No action to be taken.
After consulting with the Capitol Police, D.C. Metro Police decided to take no action, officials in the city said