D.C. City Council Might Pre-emptively Surrender on Guns


The Washington Post is reporting on a bill that D.C.'s City Council might be voting on as early as tomorrow that would seem to largely pre-empt the goals of both the bill moving through Congress that would liberalize D.C.'s gun laws post-Heller and the "Heller II" lawsuit. Some details:

D.C. officials, coping with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that threw out the city's handgun ban, have drafted legislation that would do away with several remaining firearms restrictions, including safe-storage requirements and a provision that bars ownership of semiautomatic pistols.


Although the move by the city to ease handgun restrictions coincides with the House effort to virtually strip the District of its power to regulate firearms, [Democratic council member Phil] Mendelson said officials are not seeking to placate members of Congress. He said the proposed changes, which he will urge the council to pass Tuesday, result from a careful review of the Supreme Court decision in the weeks since it was issued June 26.

"I think we're addressing the Supreme Court ruling and, coincidentally, addressing Congress's concern," said Mendelson….And by addressing the Supreme Court ruling, he said, "it will pull out the underpinnings of the argument for that legislation."


Although the storage requirements would be done away with, a gun owner would be subject to prosecution if a child got hold of a loaded, unlocked firearm. If the child did not hurt anyone, the owner would face a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to six months in jail. If the child injured someone, the owner could be charged with a felony carrying up to five years in prison.

I've been unable to yet read this draft legislation, and am a bit confused by the Post saying both that it would "do away with….provision that bars ownership of semiautomatic pistols" and that it would "ban magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds" since it was that whole "capable" language that has so far allowed D.C. to claim that pretty much any clip-loaded semi-auto is forbidden, but more should be more public soon.

The Hill on the tangled progress through Congress of the bill to overturn D.C.'s existing gun regulations.

And my forthcoming book, Gun Control on Trial, on the Heller case and its many attendent issues.