After surviving the attack on the GOP baseball team practice on Wednesday morning, Representative Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) has come out swinging for gun license reciprocity — partially, anyway. The Peach State representative wants gun license reciprocity, but only for members of Congress. As The Daily Caller reports:
“I think we need to look at some kind of reciprocity for members here, but also we need to look at security detail if Scalise hadn’t been on our team it would have been really bad,” Loudermilk told reporters. “You know, at what point do you have a congregation of members — and we’re not any more special anybody else but we are targets — do you have a security detail with you then.”
Loudermilk said had the attack happened in his home state, they would likely have had the resources to protect themselves.
“I think there are several things to look at– first of all if this had happened to Georgia he wouldn’t have he wouldn’t have gotten too far,” he continued. “I had a staff member who was in his car maybe 20 yards behind the shooter who was pinned in his car who back in Georgia carries a 9-millimeter in his car. I carry a weapon. He had a clear shot at it. But here we’re not we’re not allowed to carry any weapons here.”
The Congressman is factually wrong on a few points. The baseball practice took place in the Commonwealth of Virginia, a “shall issue” state for both residents and non-residents (and which recognizes all out of state licenses, according to the VSP.) Although a “may issue, and jump through a lot of hoops along the way” zone, the District of Columbia does officially issue licenses to non-residents as well.
While the hill to climb to get approval in D.C. is indeed steep, it’s not completely impossible, and I know a small businessman who managed to get a non-resident license from the District because he occasionally does business there. You’d have to think that Congressfolk would have sufficient pull in the District to get a license to carry if they actually go through the lengthy and frustrating gun license application process.
I’ll forgive that ignorance — firearms laws can be confusing enough before you start crossing state lines — going over a border increases the complexity by a factor of three. I’m still learning the law of my own newly-adopted state of Michigan and I’ve been here a year. What’s less forgivable is Rep. Loudermilk’s insistence on a carve-out, the “some animals are more equal than others” path of license reciprocity.
Why would Loudermilk call for Congressional reciprocity, when there’s a perfectly good bill waiting approval, introduced in January by Rep. Hudson, that would accomplish this for everyone? The bill has been co-sponsored by more representatives (196) than there are Dems currently elected to the House (193), so its prospects seem strong. He obviously knows about the bill, because he’s one of the co-sponsors.
Maybe this is his way of turning up the heat on his colleagues across the aisle, getting them acclimated to the idea of reciprocity. Maybe he’s still a little shell-shocked after realizing, as Rand Paul said, that they were out in the open during the shooting and would have been massacred if the House Majority Whip hadn’t been on the scene with his Capitol Police security detail.
Or maybe he thinks Rep. Hudson’s reciprocity bill isn’t going to pass and wants to be able to carry a gun without jumping through all the usual hoops.
That’s arguably an understandable reaction. But Rep. Loudermilk and his colleagues shouldn’t forget that the rest of us want to be able to protect ourselves when we visit the nation’s capital, too. In fact, it might be a good learning experience if Congressmen who are worried about their own personal safety had to endure the many insults and indignities of the DC application process just as any citizen would.
Let them see what the rest of us have to go through to exercise a basic human — not to mention civil — right. If they want to enact firearms reciprocity, let it be for all Americans, not just the select and powerful few.