Debate Magazine

D.C. Non-Residents Should Leave Their Guns At Home

Posted on the 26 September 2012 by Mikeb302000
The Washington Times reports
Under pressure from Congress and the public, D.C. officials are moving to ease one of the least defensible of their anti-gun ordinances. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, also the Judiciary Committee’s chairman, held a hearing Monday on his proposal to decriminalize possession of a gun or ammunition for nonresidents.
Mr. Mendelson opened by reading my accounts of military men jailed over innocuous mistakes with the city’s gun-control laws. Army 1st Lt. Augustine Kim was arrested while legally transporting his firearms through the city because he stopped for a doctor’s visit at Walter Reed Army Medical Center for an injury he sustained in Iraq.
Another veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, former Army Spc. Adam Meckler, was arrested at the Veterans of Foreign Wars building because he had 14 long-forgotten rounds of loose ammunition in his bag.
The bill under consideration would give the D.C. attorney general discretion not to charge nonresidents like Lt. Kim and Spc. Meckler with criminal counts carrying up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Instead, possession of an unregistered firearm or ammunition could be handled with a fine and no record.
The two examples given are both pretty flaky.
In the first one, how could the guy have been arrested if he was "legally transporting his firearms through the city?" Isn't the whole idea that it's ILLEGAL to do that?  That's not an "innocuous mistake" on the part of the arresting officers.
The second case is even worse.  "Long forgotten" ammunition is not acceptable, I don't care where you are.  Gun owners must be held responsible for their weapons and ammo.
Of course, to make their point in this transparently biased article they chose two examples of hero war veterans.  I suppose that's supposed to make the issue so much more sympathetic.
What about the crack dealer from Northern Virginia who happens to have a clean record and drives into DC to conduct his business?  Should he also be met with leniency and consideration like the war heroes?  What about the domestic abuser who goes to pay a visit to his estranged wife living back with her mother in DC? He deserves a break too, right?
My opinion is this.  Gun owners need to be responsible, and part of that responsibility is deciding when to leave the guns at home. It's just that simple.  When visiting the Nations Capital or New York City or when going to the airport, leave the guns at home.
What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

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