In light of some of the hysterical ravings I've read recently regarding Senator Hutchison's proposed repeal of Washington, D.C.'s gun ban, and since she is my senator and I did vote for her, I thought I would see exactly what her Act does. By the way, it is actually referred to as the District of Columbia Personal Protection Act. Here is the Senator's press release on the Act.
First, it reforms D.C. Council's authority to restrict firearms by adding a new paragraph to 1-303.43 (amended addition in boldface):
The Council of the District of Columbia is hereby authorized and empowered to make, and the Mayor of the District of Columbia is hereby authorized and empowered to enforce, all such usual and reasonable police regulations, in addition to those already made under §§ 1-303.01 to 1-303.03 as the Council may deem necessary for the regulation of firearms, projectiles, explosives, or weapons of any kind in the District of Columbia.Second, it repeals the ban on semi-automatic firearms, which currently are defined as "machine guns." The old wording is this:
Nothing in this section or any other provision of law shall authorize, or shall be construed to permit, the Council, the Mayor, or any governmental or regulatory authority of the District of Columbia to prohibit, constructively prohibit, or unduly burden the ability of persons not prohibited from possessing firearms under Federal law from acquiring, possessing in their homes or businesses, or using for sporting, self-protection or other lawful purposes, any firearm neither prohibited by Federal law nor subject to the National Firearms Act. The District of Columbia shall not have authority to enact laws or regulations that discourage or eliminate the private ownership or use of firearms.
(10) "Machine gun" means any firearm which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily converted or restored to shoot:The amended wording would become:
(A) Automatically, more than 1 shot by a single function of the trigger;
(B) Semiautomatically, more than 12 shots without manual reloading.
(10) 'Machine gun' means any firearm which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily converted or restored to shoot automatically, more than 1 shot by a single function of the trigger, and includes the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machine gun, and any combination of parts from which a machine gun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.Third, it repeals the registration requirement. Original:
This one would become much shorter:
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this unit, no person or organization in the District of Columbia ("District") shall receive, possess, control, transfer, offer for sale, sell, give, or deliver any destructive device, and no person or organization in the District shall possess or control any firearm, unless the person or organization holds a valid registration certificate for the firearm. A registration certificate may be issued:
(1) To an organization if:
(A) The organization employs at least 1 commissioned special police officer or employee licensed to carry a firearm whom the organization arms during the employee's duty hours; and
(B) The registration is issued in the name of the organization and in the name of the president or chief executive officer of the organization;
(2) In the discretion of the Chief of Police, to a police officer who has retired from the Metropolitan Police Department; or
(3) In the discretion of the Chief of Police, to the Fire Marshal and any member of the Fire and Arson Investigation Unit of the Fire Prevention Bureau of the Fire Department of the District of Columbia, who is designated in writing by the Fire Chief, for the purpose of enforcing the arson and fire safety laws of the District of Columbia.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this unit, no person or organization in the District of Columbia ("District") shall receive, possess, control, transfer, offer for sale, sell, give, or deliver any destructive device, and no person or organization in the District shall possess or control any firearm described in subsection (c).And here is subsection (c):
(c) A firearm described in this subsection is any of the following:Fourth, it changes the name of section 7-2502.01 from "Registration requirments" to "Firearm Possession."
(1) A sawed-off shotgun.
(2) A machine gun.
(3) A short-barreled rifle.
Next, it repeals sections 7-2502.02 through 7-2502.11. All these sections are rules regarding registration, and since this act would repeal registration, they all become non-applicable. Paragraph 13 of section 7501.01 would be removed, since it also applies to registration. Following are several other changes, all due to registration being repealed and all rules applying to it becoming non-applicable, or rules that need to be re-worded so that they apply to firearms possession but not registration.
The next change goes back again to definitions in section 7-2501.01, paragraph (13a), which states:
"Restricted pistol bullet" means any bullet designed for use in a pistol which, when fired from a pistol with a barrel of 5 inches or less in length, is capable of penetrating commercially available body armor with a penetration resistance equal to or greater than that of 18 layers of kevlar.This would be clarified by adding two sub-paragraphs:
(A) 'Restricted pistol bullet' means--Next, section 7-2506.01 would be amended so that the word "ammunition" is replaced with "restricted pistol bullets," except in paragraph (4). This means anyone could own conventional ammunition, and apparently anyone who holds an Ammunition Collector's Certificate from September 24, 1976 or later could also possess "restricted pistol bullets."
(i) a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other substances) from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium; or
(ii) a full-jacketed projectile larger than .22 caliber designed and intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile.
(B) The term 'restricted pistol bullet' does not include shotgun shot required by Federal or State environmental or game regulations for hunting purposes, a frangible projectile designed for target shooting, a projectile which the Attorney General of the United States (pursuant to section 921(a)(17) of title 18, United States Code) finds is primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes, or any other projectile or projectile core which the Attorney General finds is intended to be used for industrial purposes, including a charge used in an oil and gas well perforating device.
Next, section 7-2507.02 states:
Except for law enforcement personnel described in § 7-2502.01(b)(1), each registrant shall keep any firearm in his possession unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock or similar device unless such firearm is kept at his place of business, or while being used for lawful recreational purposes within the District of Columbia.This would be repealed, which would allow citizens to keep a loaded weapon in their home. Current law allows only business owners to keep a loaded weapon at their place of business (but not private citizens in their own homes).
This act also removes criminal penalties for possession of an unregistered firearm, again since registration would be repealed. It also removes criminal penalties for carrying a firearm on one's own property (dwelling or other premises).
And finally, section 22-4505(a) is amended. New wording in boldface (the word "pistol is replaced by "firearm"):
(a) The provisions of § 22-4504 shall not apply to marshals, sheriffs, prison or jail wardens, or their deputies, policemen or other duly appointed law enforcement officers, including special agents of the Office of Tax and Revenue, authorized in writing by the Deputy Chief Financial Officer for the Office of Tax and Revenue to carry a firearm while engaged in the performance of their official duties, and criminal investigators of the Office of the Inspector General, designated in writing by the Inspector General, while engaged in the performance of their official duties, or to members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps of the United States or of the National Guard or Organized Reserves when on duty, or to the regularly enrolled members of any organization duly authorized to purchase or receive such weapons from the United States, provided such members are at or are going to or from their places of assembly or target practice, or to officers or employees of the United States duly authorized to carry a concealedThis appears to me to make it unprosecutable to have an unloaded firearm with you that is not immediately apparent (concealed) when travelling to or returning from a legitimate activity involving said firearm.
pistolfirearm, or to any person engaged in the business of manufacturing, repairing, or dealing in firearms, or the agent or representative of any such person having in his or her possession, using, or carrying a pistolfirearm in the usual or ordinary course of such business, or to any person while carrying a pistolfirearm unloaded and in a secure wrapper from the place of purchase to his or her home or place of business or to a place of repair or back to his or her home or place of business or in moving goods from one place of abode or business to another, or to any person while carrying or transporting a firearm used in connection with an organized military activity, a target shoot, formal or informal target practice, sport shooting event, hunting, a firearms or hunter safety class, trapping, or a dog obedience training class or show, or the moving by a bona fide gun collector of part or all of the collector's gun collection from place to place for public or private exhibition while the person is engaged in, on the way to, or returning from that activity if each firearm is unloaded and carried in an enclosed case or an enclosed holster, or to any person carrying or transporting a firearm in compliance with sections 926A, 926B or 926C of title 18, United States Code.
You will note that, while this act would allow Senator Hutchison as well as all other law-abiding people in D.C. to keep a weapon loaded with conventional ammunition in their own dwellings or other property that belongs to them, it does not allow them to "pack heat" wherever they go (not that there's anything wrong with that).
One step at a time. One step at a time.
District of Columbia Personal Protection Act
District of Columbia Code, Chapter 25, Firearms Control