Rep. Thomas Massie on Thursday said he’s introducing legislation that would recognize out-of-state concealed carry permits in the District of Columbia, in the wake of the shocking attack on Rep. Steve Scalise and others in Northern Virginia on Wednesday.
“What I’m trying to do is anticipate how to avoid a tragic situation in the future,” Mr. Massie said in an interview on Fox Business Network.
“As soon as we step into Washington, D.C. or anywhere in the public, we are unarmed and unaccompanied, for the most part,” said Mr. Massie, Kentucky Republican.
“But I don’t want to extend a special privilege just to congressmen. I recognize that everybody has the right to defend themselves, and that’s in the Constitution,” he said.
Mr. Massie said his legislation would allow anyone with a concealed carry permit in their home state to use the permit in D.C., which generally requires applicants to demonstrate a specific reason to obtain one.
He also said his bill makes it easier for people to get a non-resident D.C. permit if they don’t have one in their home state.
Mr. Scalise, as a member of congressional leadership, is afforded protective detail, and many have said the Wednesdayshooting rampage at a congressional baseball practice would have been much worse had Capitol police officers not already been on the scene.
“Those of us in Congress that don’t have police details - we are safer in our home districts where many of us do carry concealed weapons,” Mr. Massie said. “We just want to be able to extend those privileges to those who come here to visit us in Washington, D.C., and also for us to be able to exercise our rights as well as their rights.”
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s non-voting representative, said Mr. Massie was using the Wednesday shooting to abuse Congress’s authority over D.C. and is “going after the gun safety laws that protect D.C. residents.”
Mr. Massie shot back that the Constitution is clear on Congress’s authority over D.C.
“The delegate from D.C. may seek to prevent her constituents from exercising their right to self-defense, but she lacks constitutional authority to deny that right to all those who visit the nation’s capital,” he said in a statement to The Washington Times.
National concealed carry reciprocity legislation has been a top priority for gun-rights groups like the National Rifle Association.