With a reluctant vote, D.C. council voted to ‘allow’ the public to carry concealed weapons. Check out this sweet, sweet victory!
The D.C. Council voted Tuesday to grant residents and visitors the ability to carry concealed firearms in public, but the bill would establish a regulatory structure that could make it difficult for gun owners to secure a permit.
The legislation passed unanimously, although several of the council’s 13 members said they were voting for the measure reluctantly after a federal judge struck down the city’s long-standing ban on carrying weapons.
Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) said before the vote that she was “deeply disappointed” by the demise of the city’s decades-old ban on carrying guns and said the court ruling, in her view, did “grievous harm to public safety” in the nation’s capital.
But Cheh joined her colleagues in voting for the bill, knowing that the July court order would otherwise invalidate much of the city’s gun-control statute and that prosecutors have already ceased pursuing unlicensed-carrying charges.
“We really don’t want to move forward with allowing more guns in the District of Columbia, but we all know we have to be compliant with what the courts say,” said Muriel Bowser (Ward 4), the Democratic nominee for mayor.
Before gun owners can apply for permits, Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) has to sign the bill, and the D.C. police department has to issue regulations setting up a licensing framework, a process that could take several weeks.
Even then, very few applicants might end up qualifying for permits. “I’d be surprised if a year from now, it was more than a couple hundred,” said the council chairman, Phil Mendelson (D), who drafted the bill with mayoral and police officials.
Tuesday’s vote was another example of the city’s liberal politics clashing with the federal judiciary’s increasingly conservative interpretations of the Second Amendment. In 2008, the Supreme Court struck down the city’s three-decade-old handgun ban and set the stage for the end of the public-carry prohibition.