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HIGGINS: Fighting to restore 2nd amendment rights in Washington D.C.

Written By | May 7, 2014

WASHINGTON, May 7, 2014 —  Let them have guns!

Last week the fight to restore the Constitutional rights of D.C. residents to more freely own firearms got a boost in the form of Colorado’s District 4 Representative, Cory Gardner. The Centennial State Congressman was the twenty fifth lawmaker to cosponsor H.R. 3689.

H.R. 3689: To restore Second Amendment rights in the District of Columbia.

Sponsored by Jim Jordan (R-OH 4), the bill would go a long way in restoring some basic and fundamental liberties which can be enjoyed nearly everywhere else outside of the city which houses the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. As of now, even after the Heller Decision, gun rights for law abiding citizens in DC do little to inspire confidence in Constitutional adherence, while providing the city with a target rich environment for the criminally armed.

A quick break down of D.C. gun laws:

If you thought California, or New York was bad, D.C. is substantially worse. There is no concealed carry, unless you are government or private security. Guns cannot be kept in cars. There are no gun stores, and FFL licenses are as scarce as an honest man in politics. Provisions had to be made after the Heller decision to allow for transfers of pistols, which usually can only be purchased in one’s home states, to gun stores in Maryland and Virginia because the city was making it exceedingly difficult to open gun stores. You need to register every firearm with the city, which ends up costing you almost $200 after finger printing, and ballistic testing. You need a permit to purchase any firearm, though this process is completed during registration. Ammunition cannot be in your possession unless you own a legally registered firearm that weapon pertains to. Magazines are also limited to ten rounds.

READ ALSO: Almost, Arizona: Jan Brewer Vetoes Gun Rights Laws

However, one of the most important restrictions on the books in D.C. is their definition of “assault weapon.”

D.C. firearms law bans “machine guns.” According to the Firearms Control Regulation Act of 1975, passed by D.C. in 1976, “machine gun” is defined as any auto loading/semi-automatic firearm. This includes revolvers, as well as parts of guns which can be assembled into a banned firearm.

But this legislation redefines that. It redefines many things.

There is more in the text of the bill than is coverable while still maintaining your attention and my readability, but sufficed to say that this bill is huge.

In its twenty pages, it significantly dismantles the myriad of restrictions and roadblocks that the District of Columbia has placed in front of legal gun owners over the last thirty years. The bill repeals registration requirements, allows for easier access to FFL licenses for potential firearms dealers, it authorizes ammunition sales, as well as redefines numerous firearms to make it easier for civilians to purchase them.

This legislation is game changing.

Washington, D.C. is one of the most dangerous cities in America. Guns are rampant, they are everywhere. Crime is everywhere. When your city is basically has a giant “gun free zone” sign at the city limits, criminals know will have an easier time committing crimes in DC than they will in Maryland or Virginia. In Virginia there is a chance someone will shoot back. Even in Maryland, there is a chance someone will shoot back. So the criminals from Prince George, Fairfax, and other surrounding counties come to D.C. to do their business, to pick on the helpless, to rob, rape, and kill the defenseless. Law abiding citizens are severely limited in their ability to defend themselves and to practice their 2nd Amendment rights.

It is wrong that in the shadow of Capitol Hill that the residents of Washington, D.C. are required to be treated like criminals in obtaining a firearm while being preyed upon by criminals. This legislation, sponsored by twenty four Republicans and one Democrat, seeks to turn the tables.

And it’s about time.

READ ALSO: Georgia Gov. to sign new gun rights expansion today

Living in D.C. can be dangerous. College campuses, despite being guarded and well lit, are still prime targets for muggers and rapists. Neighborhoods that have stood in D.C. since its foundation still hear the rip and roar of bullets, and it is nothing to them. Sirens, police cars, canine units, all of these things are common place in D.C., as they are in many metropolitan areas. But we cannot justify a city which houses the very document the 2nd Amendment is written upon being so handicapped by gun-control.

The city is defenseless, leaving many in the awkward position to leave their homes undefended or break the law.

Many argue that the police will protect you, and that you do not need guns.

But they are not bound to protect you, the city made that clear in Warren v. DC. The very city that ruled they are not held liable for their inability to protect you is the same city that heavily restricts the rights of their citizenry to keep and bear firearms for their own adequate protection.

This legislation seeks to undo that irony, to remedy that situation. It represents, along with other proposed legislation, a push back against the radical anti-gun culture which seeks to demonize and denigrate firearms owners. This legislation seeks to empower the people of Washington to take their safety into their own hands, because the police don’t have to.

The law has little momentum now, but with your help it could take off. If you support restoring the rights of Washingtonians to keep and bear arms let Congress know.

We cannot live in a society where the government insists it is their duty to protect you, and then recuses themselves of that responsibility. We cannot abide a government that handicaps law abiding citizens and enables criminals. And we cannot allow for the city that is the seat of the leader of the Free World to violate one of the fundamental tenants of the American Republic, the right to bear arms.


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Conor Higgins

Conor Higgins has a BA from Catholic University in DC and an MA form George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, both in history. When he not getting his hands dirty in 2nd Amendment and firearms news he is doing his best to take a crack at some drive-by political analysis. And every now and then he may or may not review a low end bourbon for the tax write off. Sit back, relax, and enjoy Back Porch Politics.