- The Washington Times - Friday, July 18, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

In reading the article “Council passes emergency bill to allow guns” (Metropolitan, Wednesday) and hearing all the commentary on the airwaves regarding the new D.C. handgun law passed as emergency legislation, one has to wonder about the honesty and attitude of the D.C. Council toward its citizens. Rather than servants of their people, it seems the council considers the citizens their wards. The statement by D.C. Interim Attorney General Peter J. Nickles saying the new measures are for the safety of the public, and then D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton’s statement that even having ready access to a gun is useless, makes me think they do not believe their citizens are intelligent or responsible enough to handle firearms or act in the best interests of themselves or their own families.

Then we can consider the new legislation itself, which on its face flies opposite to the majority opinion as expressed by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The new law treats handguns exactly as the District treated long guns, which is to say in a manner that renders them useless for anything other than decoration. Prior to the conclusion of District of Columbia v. Heller, the possession in a residence of a long firearm, itself not a fully proscribed item, required it to be disassembled, unloaded and locked up. That, of course, renders that gun to be not at all useful in the residence. This is exactly how handguns are to be treated, even though the old requirement for the long-gun storage also went against the spirit of the ruling.

If one takes the emergency legislation and examines it along with the statement made by the District attorney general and Mrs. Norton, one has to wonder who will be rendered safer by the new legislation, the citizens of the District or the criminals who would prey on them?

NORMAN HENDRICKSON

Bowie

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