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.