- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 16, 2014


D.C. officials have a tough time trying to comply with the U.S. Constitution when it comes to gun rights.

D.C. is not a state, so its top guns in the executive and legislative branches never seem comfortable trying to be on the right side of the issue.

When the courts step in, as they have on D.C. gun issues, instead of fashioning laws as the 50 states have, D.C. officials instead get the issue tangled up with ornery antigun points of view.

The distractions are noteworthy in and of themselves, as are the gadflies who inject them.

We got another round of both on Thursday, when the lawmakers held a hearing on concealed-carry permits. Whether you support gun rights or stand with a stiff spine among those who do not, the law is the law.

But is that what lawmakers wrangled over? Nope.

To be sure, there was public discourse. In fact, if you read Andrea Noble’s story, you learn that much of the newsworthy discussion spun on concealed-carry permits for gunowners, whether the city should have a database on concealed-carry permits and whether the information on that concealed-carry database should be made public.

Cathy L. Lanier, chief of the Metropolitan Police Department, opposes publicly identifying gun owners. Period. And she told D.C. lawmakers that publicly identifying gun owners who are granted concealed-carry permits could put them at a greater risk of harm.

“Suppose that person is someone who has obtained that permit because they transport large amounts of cash or valuables,” the chief said. “By making that a public record you’re now letting people know they carry large amounts of cash and valuables. Same thing for a victim of domestic violence.

“I don’t think by making that public serves the interest of public safety,” the chief said, adding “and it could increase the risk for somebody who has already demonstrated that they have a specific threat.”

The chief is standing on the side of reason.

But you have to saddle up to the sober side of the street to get her drift.

Some D.C. lawmakers, who oppose gun rights, want to let the world know who these pro-gun people are. They want to expose Secret Service and FBI agents, Jane Q. Public, whose maniacal ex-lover didn’t even know she lived in D.C., and an undercover officer, who slips a .22 into his high-top All Stars while at the White House Christmas tree-lighting ceremony just in case.

Civilians carry concealed weapons for myriad reasons, and it’s best personal identifying reasons be kept out of public view — for now.

D.C. is not ready.

Only in recent years have the executive and legislative branches had to reckon with gun rights, and that is because the District implemented in 1976 what then was the strictest handgun ban in the nation. Sure, it was modified on occasion, after officials were blindsided by the fact that even security guards were prohibited from being armed.

Congress tried on several occasions to flip the script, but there was no solid support for gun rights until the federal courts ruled otherwise.

The courts spoke up again this summer, forcing the city to revisit concealed-carry laws.

But the Thursday hearing considered the database — the distraction — instead of how to implement laws that allow people to carry concealed weapons.

Council members David “Disarm the Police” Grosso and Tommy Wells caused the distraction by turning attention away from the law and toward the database, which is not necessary to implement the law.

In fact, any discussion of the database shouldn’t come forth until after the new mayor, new lawmakers and, perhaps, a new police chief are sworn in next year.

Those are the very officials who will be responsible for executing the new laws and regulations.

Funny, isn’t it, that progressives and liberals are pulling off the same “stunts” they accuse of congressional Republicans of when it comes to D.C. affairs?

D.C. pols get so annoyed when the Constitution comes into play.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at [email protected]

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