Washington gun owners’ rights are, once again, getting blown off by city leaders. While the city council voted unanimously on April 17 in favor of a bill to ease restrictions on Second Amendment rights, Mayor Vincent Gray has not signed the bill into law.
The mayor’s spokesman, Pedro Ribeiro, has not responded to my repeated requests for an explanation. The council’s website shows the legislation had not been updated since it passed.
But on Friday, the bill suddenly appeared as having been transmitted for mayoral review on Wednesday. Members of the council had expected the mayor to sign the bill within days of passage.
The longer the legislation sits untouched on Mr. Gray’s desk, the longer prospective gun owners have to struggle under the strictest gun laws in the country.
While the council gives the police until July 1 to implement some of the new provisions, there are other important legal changes that would go into effect immediately once approved.
In this unnecessary four-week waiting period, gun owners are still forced to have their guns photographed and shot for a ballistics test and pay to have an application document notarized. Residents and nonresidents risk a felony charge for possessing ammunition that is not in the same gauge and caliber as a registered gun.
Phil Mendelson, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee which authored the legislation, wanted the new law implemented as soon as possible. To do that, he put through two bills: one that has to wind its way through a 60-day, in-session, congressional review period and another “emergency” bill that goes into effect when - or if - the mayor approves it. Both bills passed the council unanimously. The at-Large Democrat would not comment on why his legislation has stalled.
District residents have waited long enough to have even a few of our Second Amendment rights returned to us. It’s time for this bill to become law.
NEXT IN THE SERIES: Injured Vet’s Guns Stolen by D.C.
“Emily Gets Her Gun” is an award-winning series following senior editor Emily Miller as she tries to legally get her hands on a gun in the nation’s capital. You can also follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.