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Rep. Thomas Massie

Congressman Tom Massie (R-Ky.) has introduced a bill into the House that would reform the District of Columbia’s firearms licensing regime for non-residents. HR 2909, the D.C. Presonal Protection Reciprocity Act, would require the District to recognize firearms carry licenses issued by any state in the union. It would also require the District to issue licenses to any non-resident applicant who qualifies, turning the capital into a “shall issue” zone for non-residents…at least, if those non-residents who already have a license from their place of residence.

The text of HR 2909 isn’t officially available yet, but a PDF copy was sent to us by Jennifer Krantz, Congressman Massie’s Press Secretary, and the full text can be reviewed here. The bill directly amends D.C. Code §§ 22-4505 and 4506. Sec. 4505 provides exemptions to the District’s licensing requirements to military, civilian law enforcement, and other animals that the D.C. City Council considered more equal than others–the bill just slots non-residents with licenses right in there.

Sec. 4506 contains the criteria that the Chief of Police can use in issuing licenses. The bill doesn’t repeal the ‘may issue’ language, but adds additional text specific only to non-residents:

The Chief shall, upon the application of a person having a bona fide residence or place of business within the United States and a license to carry a pistol concealed upon his or her person issued by the lawful authorities of any State or subdivision of the United States, issue a license to carry a pistol concealed upon his or her person issued by the lawful authorities of any State or subdivision of the United States, issue a license to such person to carry a pistol concealed upon his or her person within the District of Columbia for not more than 2 years from the date of issue.

A follow-up paragraph gives the same coverage to people from states that do not requires license to carry a firearm. The only people missing? Those from ‘may issue’ states who otherwise qualify to carry a gun, but can’t obtain a license from state authorities.

The bill is a start…but parts of it seem unnecessarily petty. If you’ve already mandated reciprocity with the several states, what’s the point of fiddling with the part of the D.C. Code to require that licenses be issued to the very same non-residents who can already carry a firearm because they have a license that the District was required to recognize from the earlier section? 

The people who need the ability to obtain a D.C. license are those who live in New York City, San Francisco, Honolulu — the places where obtaining a license is nigh-impossible for those lacking wealth, power, or connections. This bill just disenfranchises them more than they already are.

Which makes you wonder if the bill was intended less for passage and more to score a few points on social media. (“You anti-gunners don’t want this right, so choke on it!”) If the right to keep and bear arms is a human right, why are we not fighting to extend it to people whose rights are being infringed by the governments of their home states?

Under the bill as currently written, there are resident aliens with state-issued firearms licenses who will be able to legally carry a gun in D.C., while American citizens are denied the right. That‘s just insulting. It wouldn’t take much to change it, either — all they have to do is strike that phrase that begins “and a license to carry a pistol…issued by the lawful authorities of any State…” from above.

I won’t blame Mr. Massie too much for that, though — the text appears to have been cribbed from  H.R. 4348, which was introduced in the last year of the Obama Administration, when there was zero chance of enactment. Spoiler alert: it didn’t pass. And, at the end of the day, the bill can be amended (I hope) before it’s enacted (I hope.)

This bill was apparently motivated in part by the realization that DC’s officious and bureaucratic gun licensing regime actually applies to Congressmen. That’s more of a problem now, in the wake of last week’s attempted mass murder of Congressmen by a radicalized socialist.

According to the press release issued by Congressman Massie’s office:

“After the horrific shooting at the Republican Congressional Baseball practice, there will likely be calls for special privileges to protect politicians,” Congressman Massie explained. “Our reaction should instead be to protect the right of all citizens guaranteed in the Constitution: the right to self-defense.  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.”

Presently, the bill has 21 cosponsors, including Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), who last week was calling for “special privileges to protect politicians” in the form of reciprocity in the District…but only for members of Congress. (Perhaps those were just ill-considered words in a moment of weakness after he was almost murdered.)

It’s unclear how this bill will fare. So far this year, only one significant bill enhancing firearms laws, relating to Social Security recipients, has been signed into law by President Trump. Perhaps

Because it is not a state, the District’s government powers aren’t delegated to it by its people, but rather are granted to it by the U.S. Congress, pursuant to Article I Section 8 paragraph 17 of the U.S. Constitution, which gives it the power “[t]o exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever” over the District. If only they’d use it.

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  1. I have supreme confidence this has a good chance. It gives the politicians what they want.

    When they’re butts are on the line, legislation can move quite swiftly.

  2. A completely useless bill that only helps very few people. It does not help people in NY,CA, MD, or NJ (among others) obtain a permit. whoo-hooo I can carry in D.C. I would not go to D.C. if you paid me, gun or no gun (trafic is insane, it’s expensive, and good luck getting out of the district if there is an incident). Plus, you are rarely more than 100yds from a “sensitive place” (consulate, agency building, etc.).

    Pass national reciprocity, the HPA, and pry open the permitting process for the unfree states (CA,NY,NJ,MD, etc). then talk to me about specialness of D.C.

    Congress members that vote for their own security before they take care of the rest of America should be unemployed. No need for security then!

    • National reciprocity is a great plan, but faces the problem of usurping states’ rights. There is no such problem with DC, Congress is charged with making its laws. One should be doable a whole bunch easier than the other, get ‘er done.

      • States rights on the issue went out the window with McDonald v. City of Chicago.

        Do you think Democrats will be worried about states rights when they renew a national assault weapons ban?

        State’s rights is dead issue and I am tired of hearing it from people wishing for a bygone era. Congress needs to step up and do its duty to ensure equal protection (and I would include first and second amendment protection on campuses).

        It is true, Democrats could suppress carry rights when they have a majority. They will not hesitate do that anyway.

      • Please define the “problem of usurping state’s rights.”

        The state’s have no right to deprive the people of their rights.

        There are several sections of the Constitution granting Congress the authority to pass national reciprocity.

        As a side note, governments have no rights. They have authority and power.

      • Screw your states rights. If the Federal government makes a law, states have to respect it. The last batch of people to tried to promote states rights ended up in a court house in Appomattox, signing a piece of paper that said “We suck”.

        There should be national reciprocity, period. You don’t get to have pockets of special snowflakes in Kansas deciding they don’t want to respect Roe v. Wade any more than you get someone in California deciding they don’t want to respect the 2nd Amendment.

      • There is no “states’ rights” issue at play. States do not have the right (i.e. enumerated authority) to violate the natural, constitutionally protected rights of non-residents, and even less so when such violation would constitute an unequal protection of state law regarding RKBA.

        • Correct. It never ceases to amaze me how ignorant of law people are.

          The Constitution is Negative Law. It stipulates what the Government is restricted from doing. Absolute. The rights named are enumerated, not granted, since they are understood to derive from the very act of existence.

          States may make laws MORE RESTRICTIVE to government in regard to these enumerated. But never less.

          This simple point leaves any and all states that currently violate the Constitution open to severe lawsuits.

      • I all for “State’s Rights”. I think smaller more localized government is better, fairer, and more efficient.

        But with that said, besides defending our borders, can you think of a more important role for the Federal Gov than defending “individual Rights” from depredation by the States?

        • Federalize the fast food restaurants so that big brother can show the industry how to do incompetence and bloating bureaucracy the right way! Wait in line at Burger King or good gracious, Taco Bell for 2 hours before your number is called AHHAHAAH.

      • States do not have a “right” to restrict the rights of the individuals. The entire point of the Bill of Rights is to ensure that Federal, state, and local laws do not restrict specific rights.

        What people seem to not realize is that “state rights” are meant to cover all the stuff that is not covered by the constitution. Healthcare, drug restrictions, public education, etc. None of this should be controlled at the federal level because the constitution does not give it the power to do so. Rather, the states are meant to handle these issues.

        • Minor quibble, the point of the Bill of Rights is to restrict the federal government. The point of the 14A is to restrict state and local governments, mostly by applying the Bill of Rights to them.

  3. Even though the intent is good, it adds to the patchwork of laws. Soon it will take weeks of research, a lawyer on speed dial and a Masters in ‘bureaucratese’ before being able to venture from your home state with a weapon. Will the DC nonsensical rules (eg unlicensed ammo, empty cartridges or cartridge components being classed as ammo etc) still apply?

    Full national reciprocity (including DC) would seem to be the clearest path forward.

    • The ammo components issue is to me separate and even more insidious: for mere possession of an inert object to rise to the level of a felony is absurd on its face. It’s really about malum prohibitum laws generally, but the example of an expended casing is particularly egregious. Not only does the object pose no threat, it cannot conceivable pose any threat. It is simply and totally innocuous, thus the reasoning behind it’s prohibition must also be absurd. I was certain that somewhere there was a proscription on ar arbitrary and capricious laws. Surely this is a good test of that protection?

  4. How SPECIAL our elected bureaucrats are…I’ll care when Illinois has full rights.

  5. I did predict this the day of the shooting at the Republican Congressional baseball practice. My further prediction though was that it would be broadened to be national reciprocity. At present, there are parts of the country that I won’t drive to or through right now, because of their onerous firearms laws. For me, it is CA and OR, but I do expect to be back in DC at least once this year, and even some of the nicer areas are getting a bit sketchy (Friend there last time I visited warned me about a rash of muggings around DuPont Circle, near which he lived).

    the nice thing, in my mind, about D.C., then ultimately national, reciprocity is that it will put pressure on the gun unfriendlier states to move towards loosening their CCW permitting. Imagine most Republican Senate and House members being allowed to carry concealed in DC, because of the gun laws in their home states, but many Democrats not. I am not going to stay up late worrying about the latter.

    • ” in my mind, about D.C., then ultimately national, reciprocity is that it will put pressure on the gun unfriendlier states to move towards loosening their CCW permitting.”

      No, it won’t.

      This is one of the more massive myths of the interwebs. CA and NY maintain a county-by-county carry permit issuance policy. The permit is valid statewide. The fact that you can get a permit in Northern California has not put any pressure on Southern California to issue permits. Quite the opposite.

      National reciprocity will to exactly squat to pry open the permit process in NJ.

      • “CA and NY maintain a county-by-county carry permit issuance policy. The permit is valid statewide.”

        A NY permit is not valid in NYC.

        A CA permit is valid in San Fran, much to San Fran’s chagrin…

  6. Anybody who hasn’t read George Orwells “Animal Farm” should read it ASAP! His predictions for 1984 didn’t work out, but todays politics he nailed it!

  7. The M.C. Escher print of compliance with the whole damn thing is perfect proof of how F’d up the underlying laws are that they are trying to ‘fix’.




  8. Your “Spoiler alert” was too brief. I have a DVR filled with news reports from 2016 that I haven’t watched yet.

    Thanks fer nuthin’

    Try a … instead of a : next time.

  9. It would be even better if the Capitol of our Republic actually observed Constitutional Carry. What better way to recognize that the Constitution applies to ALL citizens?

    Of course, the odds of that happening don’t look good, not with the gutless, spine-challenged weasels (with apologies to weasels everywhere) now in Congress.

    • I think it’s an end.

      If the congresscritters can carry at home and D.C. where they work, then they don’t have a reason to do anything else.

  10. “If you’ve already mandated reciprocity with the several states, what’s the point of fiddling with the part of the D.C. Code to require that licenses be issued to the very same non-residents who can already carry a firearm because they have a license that the District was required to recognize from the earlier section? ”

    Two points, I think.

    First, there are a lot of people who live in and around DC on a term basis. Over and above Congress staffers etc, people get “deployed” there from their home companies to serve as local eyes, advisors, etc. Happens all the time in DOE and DoD communities. Having a DC license would be nice in that case as a nasty DC prosecutor could make a case that while you claim you live in NM, as you have an apartment in DC you’re a resident.

    Second, I may easily have read it wrong, but it looks to me like a DC resident could use an out of state permit (Utah, say) to get a DC permit.

    And of course it is a middle finger to the DC police and pols who have made it such a burden for honest people to legally carry. That’s worth it right there.

  11. This bill is BRILLIANT! Why damn such a good thing merely because it doesn’t meet someone’s idea of perfect? This bill completely avoids the issue of “States’ rights”. That is HUGE! Look at Heller; which led to McDonald. Scorn not the progress made by Heller! It got us McDonald in one further step. Imagine this: Suppose this bill got to a floor vote in each chamber. Then, we would have a roll-call vote and know which of our Congress-critters is friend or foe. Inquiring voters want to know this before the primary season for the next off-year elections.

    I fear that we PotG are too politically-ignorant to realize how valuable this bill could prove to be.

  12. Based on the wording it that I see a resident of a state like New Jersey with a carry license from UTAH would meet the qualifications of this law.

    • That was my reading as well, that a non-resident license issued by Florida or Utah (for example) would qualify:

      “a license to carry a pistol concealed upon his or her person issued by the lawful authorities of any State or subdivision of the United States”

      • Based on the wording a resident of DC with a license from UTAH meets the requirement of having a residence or place of business within the United States. As far as I know DC is considered to be witih the United States

  13. Marco Rubio’s legislation to harmonize all DC gun laws with federal laws and turn DC into a shalll issue state is far superior. The above legislation would still have people arrested of “carrying” with a 12 round magazine

  14. It’s amazing how people trip over themselves to crap on a bill that that roll backs 2A restrictions. Unbelievable!

    While the “state’s right’s” choir and other principle warriors virtue signal in a race to be the most pure, I’ll just be enjoying LEOSA.

  15. What if you have to sacrifice certain states like California New Jersey and others to get 45 or 44 states reciprocity with each other?
    Would the representatives of these state agree to national reciprocity if it excluded their own states?
    Would Chuck Schumer or some other anti-gun senator support it as long as his state didn’t have reciprocity?

    It seems the bill is possibly written that way.

  16. anybody ever notice how the Potomac river is a magical shield against the constitution? somehow just crossing the potomac from Virginia into Marylandistan or the District of Criminals completely obviates the 2nd amendment.

  17. How about a bill that mandates that every state is required to follow exactly what the second amendment clearly spells out. Shall not be infringed, period.

    • If they are already thumbing their nose at the 2nd Amendment how is another law going to change anything.

  18. In other news, isn’t Chris Collins supposed to be working with Negotiating Rights Away to craft a Congressional Carve-Out to concealed carry laws?

    Oh, yes, from Fox & Friends:
    Congressman Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) said on “Fox & Friends” that he is working with the National Rifle Association on a new policy that will keep his colleagues safe.

    Collins said he and the NRA want Congress to be protected in the wake of the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and others in Alexandria, Va.

    It’s good to see that Loudermilk has figured out that promoting special perks for himself is not the way to win re-election, now we need to make sure Collins understands that.

  19. So it needs just one more paragraph, one stating that any non-resident who otherwise meets the District’s requirements for concealed carry automatically gets a D.C. license.

  20. I don’t support this bill and it’s extremely insulting to the rest of the country that has higher mass shooting statistics.
    Why not push H.R 38 through instead? That would address this D.C issue along with all other 50 states in one swoop.
    This also sends a bad message that the rest of the country’s safety is not as important.

    Number of mass shootings since 2011:
    California = 9
    Maryland = 2

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