Gun legislation is always a hot-button issue. Rarely are people from both sides of the aisle able to agree on anything. However, Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky is trying to pursue concealed carry permit legislation at the height of political division in Washington, D.C.
Representative Massie has sponsored legislation that would force Washington, D.C. to recognize a concealed carry permit from any state in the United States. Meaning you could carry your firearm in Washington, D.C. if you have the proper permit.
This legislation has come back to the media headlines and to the priority list in Washington, D.C. after several Capitol Hill staffers and one Congressman were shot by a fanatic Bernie Sanders supporter who attacked them at a practice for the Congressional baseball game. Those lawmakers were not able to carry their firearms because the state of Virginia did not recognize their concealed carry permit, and they are constantly going in and out of Washington, D.C.
Representative Massie noted the following,
“Although Virginia extends reciprocity to concealed carry permit holders in many states, the members of Congress and accompanying staff traveled directly from D.C., and were traveling back to D.C after the practice was over. It was D.C.’s harsh gun control laws that prevented these law-abiding citizens from exercising their right to bear arms.
The right to keep and bear arms is the common person’s first line of defense in these situations, and it should never be denied. Congress has the authority to legislate in this area pursuant to Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 of the U.S. Constitution, which gives Congress the authority to “exercise exclusive Legislation in all cases whatsoever over such district as may become the seat of the government of the United States. I do not want to extend a special privilege to politicians, because the right to keep and bear arms is not a privilege, it is a God-given right protected by our Constitution.”
This legislation would allow people to carry in Washington, D.C. just like they could in any other state giving them the proper tools to be able to defend themselves from maniacs like the Congressional baseball game shooter.
Representative Massie also explained why this legislation is so important to him,
“What I’m trying to do is anticipate how to avoid a tragic situation in the future, and what the American people don’t realize is that most congressmen do not have a security detail, and we are as exposed as the general public is exposed as they come to visit our nation’s capital.”
The Congressman harkened back the story of the baseball shooting as an example why politicians and citizens are in danger if they are not allowed to carry by pointing out a key discrepancy. He said,
“From the description of the incident yesterday that I’ve received from my colleagues, it’s clear that the Capitol Hill police who were there are heroic,” Massie said. “But had Steve Scalise not been there, there would have been far more, would have been fatalities and lot of congressmen would have been hurt.”
After the shooting took place many politicians in our nation’s Capital said they felt unsafe and uncomfortable not being allowed to carry. Many also called upon lawmakers to allow for them to protect themselves. Representative Chris Collins of New York said,
“If you look at the vulnerability, I can assure you from this day forward, I have a carrier permit. I will be carrying when I’m out and about.”
Representative Barry Loudermilk said,
“I think we need to look at some kind of reciprocity for members here.”
However, Republicans got some pushback from their Democratic opposition. Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton who is the member for D.C. denounced Massie’s attempts to expand concealed carry laws saying,
“It took less than a day for Rep. Massie to exploit the shocking targeting of members of Congress and staff to abuse congressional authority over D.C. to undermine our local jurisdiction’s gun safety laws. In the wake of an attack, Rep. Massie is shamefully using the District as political fodder to advance the NRA-backed goal of moving toward national concealed carry reciprocity. If Rep. Massie was true to his principles, he would introduce a bill to allow guns in the Capitol Complex and other federal buildings, where his jurisdiction is without question.”
Representative Massie responded,
“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. The Constitution is clear on Congress’s jurisdiction over D.C.”
For people who are residents of states that refuse to issue concealed carry permits Representative Massie indicated they would have the opportunity to apply for a non-resident permit in D.C. This would aid in making it slightly easier for non-residents to protect themselves.
Given everything that has happened in the last month, citizens have a right to be concerned and they have a right to protect themselves. Even if they are in Washington, D.C. Nobody should have to walk around in fear for their life because of a lunatic who shot at members of Congress.
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