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Washington, D.C. Set to Lower Penalties for Carrying Without a Permit, Felon in Possession

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Muriel Bowser
Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
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This is apparently what happens when rabidly anti-gun blue city governments come full circle. Washington, D.C., if you’ll remember, used to ban handgun ownership, even within the owner’s home. Lawfully owned long guns were required to be stored unloaded and either disassembled or “bound by a trigger lock.”

That, after all, is how we got the Heller decision.

My, how things have changed. We now live in a time of “equity,” zero bail, non-prosecuted offenses, and decarceration. Prosecuting law-breakers is currently seen as a white supremacist act that’s steeped in systemic racism.

That’s what’s prompted the District of Columbia city council to decide, in all of its fashionably “progressive” wisdom, to reduce the penalties for a range of violent crimes in addition to carrying a gun without a permit or being a felon in possession of a firearm.

A faction of the Council actually wanted to increase the penalties for the offenses. But the majority on the Council who are farther to the left weren’t buying it. From the Washington Post . . .

The debate Tuesday focused on an amendment proposed by council member Brooke Pinto (D-Ward 2) that would have raised the maximum sentences for carrying a dangerous weapon and unauthorized possession of a firearm. Pinto’s amendment would have treated the violations as Class 8 felonies, which carry a maximum possible sentence of four years in prison; the legislation classifies those crimes as Class 9 felonies, which carry a maximum possible sentence of two years in prison.

Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) said the council should send a strong message, given the state of crime in the city. “Everybody knows we are awash in guns and gun violence. We have residents being shot almost every day, including children,” she said. “We have shootouts in the street. And this is not a time, I don’t think, to lessen penalties for gun possession.”

But the amendment did not find broad support. Three members — Pinto, Cheh and Vincent C. Gray (D-Ward 7) — voted for it. Ten voted against. Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), who chairs the council’s public safety committee, said that the amendment was not based on any data or evidence that it would improve safety and that only a tiny percentage of defendants sentenced for carrying a dangerous weapon or unauthorized possession of a firearm get more than two years.

Besides the fact that few people actually got the maximum penalty, there’s the whole equity aspect of the change.

“For supporters of this amendment, I hear you saying we need to raise penalties to meet this moment, to send a message. But I ask you to show your work,” Allen said. “At some point, this council needs to reckon with what it means to have one of the highest incarceration rates per capita in the free world and yet endure this kind of violence.”

Jinwoo Charles Park, executive director of the D.C. Criminal Code Reform Commission, said in a letter to the council Monday that the bill should not be amended to increase the penalty classifications. Doing so, he said, would exacerbate racial disparities in incarceration.

“Increases in the average sentence for these offenses would have a disproportionate effect on African American defendants,” Park said. “Although it is likely that only a small percentage of defendants would be sentenced to the maximum penalties, changing the penalty classifications could result in an increase in the average sentence for these offenses.”

So, along with reducing the penalties for offenses like burglaries, carjackings and robberies, the City Council’s unanimously-passed criminal code revision also reduces the penalties for carrying without a permit and felon in possession.

Think of it as constitutional carry light.

The changes still require the signature of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to become law, and she isn’t a fan of the reductions to the firearms-related penalties.

Bowser said in a letter to Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) that she opposed the proposal to weaken what she termed “already lenient sentencing for gun possession” by reducing the current penalties for carrying a pistol without a license and being a felon in possession of a gun.

If the Mayor signs the code revision into law — which she’s expected to do — D.C. will have made carrying a gun without a permit a misdemeanor. That’s a relatively short hop, skip and a jump from the district joining 25 states in removing all permitting requirements and making the nation’s capital a constitutional carry zone.

Now that is progress we can believe in.

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90 COMMENTS

  1. The only lesson I see here is, stay out of D.C. and cities with similar demographics. Who cares if they can carry?? Remember, it isn’t the gun that causes violence.

    • “it isn’t the gun that causes violence”

      exactly. but they push that fantasy in order to keep discussion away from the real problem.

      “In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.” — Theodore Dalrymple

    • Its a return to the law of the jungle, but only if you belong to a select group. Law abiding, sane people need not apply.

  2. In CA, it’s usually a misdemeanor carrying without a permit, but constitutional carry ain’t gonna happen, either in Washington DC or California.

    • It is a wobbler that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. But I agree that California will be dragged kicking and screaming into compliance with Bruen. A bill was proposed that was, unsurprisingly, nearly identical to the NY carry law that was passed, but did not make it to a vote in the last session. Although “good cause” is gone, and apparently “good moral character ” as well, the bill still seeks to restrict the availability of permits or the areas where carry is permitted. Among other things, the bill increased the mandatory training to 16 hours, required fingerprinting on application and every renewal, banned carry pretty much everywhere, increased fees, and still was only a two year license. We anticipate that some version of the bill will be introduced next month or early next year. Hopefully its proponent, Senator Portantino, will take the recent federal trial court rulings as to the NY law to heart.

  3. Yet for those who carry legally with a permit, they’ll surely find any way they can to harass or throw in jail. It’s what they do.

  4. Eventually they’ll have to embrace their racist ideals and hand out harsher penalties for whites and Asians and lesser penalties for the rest. It’s the only way they’ll be able to have both the social justice they want and the gun control positions they keep supporting.

  5. quote————-“At some point, this council needs to reckon with what it means to have one of the highest incarceration rates per capita in the free world and yet endure this kind of violence.”————–quote

    This news is nothing new. Capitalvania locks up more people than many dictatorships do and far more than Europe, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan do. So the Far Right baloney that all you have to do is lock people up (after they kill others) or execute them shows that the Far Right’s rantings have not ever worked.

    Could it be that the easy availability of guns makes crime and murder so much more easier. People are now killing each other over road rage incidents. More guns do not make a society safer, quite the opposite, they turn the nation into a shooting gallery and the evidence is overwhelming proof because civilized nations with less guns are much safer to live in. Give a naked ape a gun and he will use it on others for the most trivial of reasons and usually its his wife that he kills first. Handguns have become almost non-existent in many modern countries and their lower crime and murder rates certainly prove they made the right choices.

    Could it be that Capitalvania has a very poor record of funding job retraining programs.

    Could it be that Capitalvania has few social safety nets and that many children actually go to bed hungry in a nation that throws more food away because of expiration dates than many countries actually use in a year. Hungry children do not make good students.

    Could it be that Capitalvania has no affordable mental health care because Republicans refuse to expand such social services.

    Could it be that many children today are not even thinking about going to trade school or college because it is now unaffordable to them.

    Could it be that wealthier sections of a county give better education to kids in the rich suburbs than they do to intercity kids because the funding comes from property taxes something that civilized countries do not do i.e. rely on property taxes to fund educational expenses.

    Could it be that Capitalvanian Universities pay college administrators millions in obscene salaries and perks and spend huge amounts of money on sports programs that drive up students tuition to unaffordable levels. Foreign countries do not spend that kind of money on sports programs or give obscene salaries to university administrators.

    Could it be that in Capitalvania drug addiction is treated as a crime instead of a disease like most civilized countries treat it. In civilized countries people are given free drug treatments to get them off of drugs, they are not locked up and treated like animals and then later kicked out onto the streat and told to try and survive under a bridge with no social support programs like civilized nations do it.

    Could it be that children today have become latch key children who come home to an empty house because in Capitalvania both parents have to work 2 and 3 part time shit minimum wage jobs to try and pay a least some of the bills.

    As President Lincoln predicted: “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedom, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

    I might add to that, the Military Industrial Complex (which President Eisenhower warned us against) gobbles up 52 cents of every tax dollar, money that could be used to fund necessary social programs, instead of using it for wars of rape, pillage, and conquest.

    • dacian, the Dunderhead. My, what a rant! It seems you Leftists are just about solely responsible for the breakdown of the family thanks to your permissive welfare state which was doomed to failure from the start. No wonder we have more people in prisons than any other country per capita. It seems that you would rather use the tax dollar as a “redistribution of the wealth” program? Here is a HINT, Dunderhead, when you give things away, that thing you are giving away diminishes in value. Rather than teach people to earn their own way you want to hand it to them on a silver platter with all the trimmings of Christmas.
      Such a “program” denigrates people and does not “lift them up” as you think. it deprives them of their personal initiative. But you are not ready or willing to “lift them up”, you want to keep them under your thumb so they will do your bidding and keep your kind in power.

      • to Walter the Beverly Hillbilly

        Your warped philosophy comes from blind greed, ignorance and stingy selfishness. You are too cheap and stingy to pay a few more pennies in taxes to fund social programs that help people so you use the lame excuses that all one has to do is pull himself up by his bootstraps. If you had not flunked High School economics and sociology classes you would have known that your cockeyed ignorant and selfish philosophy has not ever worked.

        The fantasy Horatio Alger story does happen once in a while but not for the average worker. Assuming you even know who he was.

        • dacian the Dunderhead. If the “Horatio Alger story” doesn’t happen, then how come there are so many people who dug their way out of poverty to be successful in life?
          No, Dunderhead, it is not about greed. It is about people doing for themselves. Government is not meant to redistribute the wealth to au sage your conscience because you asre too damn cheap to contribute to a charity. In fact, I contribute 15% of my gross each year to charity. You? NONE.
          Maybe you should take a Home Economics course and learn how you can’t keep spending money that you don’t have and too boot on a lost cause. We have MORE poverty today than we did when your bud, LBJ set up the “Great Society.”

        • To Walter the Beverly Hillbilly

          Quote———I contribute 15% of my gross each year to charity. You? NONE.———–quote

          Projection Walter, projection. You slyly thought we did not know that if you do contribute anything (highly doubtful) that it is tax deductible so in essence you contribute nothing.

          Try again you failed to fool anyone.

        • dacian, the DUNDERHEAD. And just what am I “projecting”? That you are a cheap skate? Personally I don’t give a rat’s behind if you believe that I give 15% to charity or not. The fools here would be those who believe that you contribute more than a penny to anything but your own back account.
          Fact is DUNDERHEAD, you want the taxpayers to pick up your end of the log when it comes to helping others. You are good at lip service but little else.

      • Zis (must use proper pronouns or it could be considered “sexual assault” in Progressive ideology) thinks eliminating gun crime will happen when you eliminate (or liquidate) gun owners.

    • “Capitalvania locks up more people than many dictatorships do and far more than Europe, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan do”

      ever wonder why?

    • Those Asian nations have cultures that do not cater to monkeys and savages who have bestowed their blessings on urban areas of the USA. Ever wonder why the crime rates are so high in Killdelphia, St Louis, Chicago, New Orleans, Flint, Memphis, NYC, LA? Must be all those Amish and Koreans and Japanese.

  6. It’s past the point decent citizens everywhere need to be armed. And of course making concealed carry a terrible, awful crime has only disarmed the law abiding. With that said, a Misdemeanor is better than no Misdemeanor.

  7. A felon in possession of a firearm is already a FEDERAL FELONY!?!? WTF ? Why aren’t FEDERAL LAWS being enforced? Why do we need to pass more gun laws if we can’t even enforce the laws we ALREADY HAVE?

    • Agreed that every time a felon is caught with a gun, it should be a slam dunk federal conviction. However, that would mean trivial or suspended sentences for the convicts or spending a fortune on more prisons. The former would look bad and no level of government wants to do the latter.

      • You see there in lies the real problem. Coddling criminals just really doesn’t work. Put them where they belong, in the Gray Bar Motel, less the swimming pool?

        • Walter the Beverly Hillbilly,

          Your reading comprehension is at the absolute zero level. The Article in question revealed that we have the highest incarceration rate in the world and that our crime rate has only continued to get worse. Even a grade school child could understand this article why cannot you??????

        • “we have the highest incarceration rate in the world and that our crime rate has only continued to get worse”

          how bad would the crime rate be if we didn’t have this “high” incarceration rate?

        • dacian the DUNDERHEAD, So frickin’ what? If someone commits a crime they have to pay the price of their actions. Coddling does nothing to control the crime problem. I don’t give a rat’s behind about our incarceration rate. Criminals BELONG behind bars.
          What would you do with our criminal element? Spank ’em on the butt and say be good now? Maybe you want to tuck ’em in at night?
          Reading comprehension has ZIP to do with it, DUNDERHEAD.

        • “The Article in question…”

          Bah, stuff and nonsense. Pfui. If there are still loose cattle after a roundup, clear the bunkhouse, go out, and collect the rest of them. Grade school children understand this, so what does that make you?

        • So, Nero, your answer is to coddle the criminals and let them run loose on society? I have a RED HOT NEWS FLASH for you. Even criminals are not cattle or children, although there are times when they are both.
          If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.
          No convicted felon was ever reformed by prison. Prison is punishment pure and simple. The programs are provided to keep the inmates’ time occupied and to give them an opportunity to change. It is up to the Convict. Not the prison, the state or the “system:.

      • Why should a felon be deprived of their second amendment right? It doesn’t say shall not be infringed unless you have broken one of the crowns laws. It’s either a basic human right or it’s a privilege to be granted at the discretion of the state.

        • A felon losses his right to vote because he has demonstrated that he will not abide by the laws of society. Only gender studies majors cannot comprehend what a civilized society exists for. Hence the neeed for groomers, ballot bo stuffers and your usual conmen and race hustlers like Big Mike, Al Sharpton

          By the way the crown tried to seize our arms and got its ass handed to them. We are citizens not subjects. But its something a serf wouldn’t understand.

  8. “Think of it as constitutional carry light.”

    ??

    Nothing described is anywhere near ‘constitutional carry’ light or otherwise. Its an excuse to lower penalties for down right criminals while seeming to be ‘moderate’ and not biased.

  9. You’re missing the point, entirely.

    This is nothing more than a Gun-Hate Feedback Loop.

    Make it easier for criminals to carry guns, and you will inevitably get MORE crime.
    Evidence of more crime is then used to drive public opinion, which is used to drive votes for more left-wing progressive Senators, who will confirm more left-wing progressive judges and justices, who will eventually overturn Bruen AND Heller.

    NEVER forget, these haters play the long game. They literally could not care less who they kill in the process to reach their end goal, the destruction of America as it was founded.

    As Rush used to say, “do not doubt me on this!”

        • “Individual rights, as all are, need no membership to exercise”

          true. but the 2nd is about the militia and participation within it.

        • no rant…the 2A is not about a militia and participation in it. its about the basic natural God given human right to defense with arms/firearms either through a militia (e.g. for the country) or individually not in a malitia in every day life.

        • rant7, Regret to inform you that according to the US SUPREME COURT, in Heller, McDonald and Bruen\, the 2nd Amendment IS NOT about the militia. Point 1, The reference to the militia in the 2nd, is in the PERAMBLE of that Amendment. The dictionary tell us that preamble means. preliminary or preparatory statement; an introduction. Point 2 In Heller, McDonald and Bruen, the Court made it VERY clear that the 2nd Amendment is an INDIVIDUAL RIGHT to bear arms in and outside the home. Point 3, IN the time of our Founding Fathers, EVERY CITIZEN was considered part of the militia.

        • I invite everyone to re-read it themselves and draw their own conclusion. the purpose of the 2nd was to guarantee the existence and function of the militia – individuals were presumed to be members of that militia.

        • I read it rant, done that many times. I know what a pejorative clause is too, and the 2A does not say what you think it says with your plain text reading.

          The SCOTUS also agrees with me. the democrats and anti-gun agree with your repeatedly defeated in courts argument.

          service in a militia is not connected to the right of the individual to keep and bear arms, period.

        • The 2A states the God given right of an individual to self protection and to a collective protection, hence militia. If a group can be defended, then it stands to reason that an individual can also be defended.

        • “the 2A does not say what you think it says with your plain text reading”

          if it doesn’t mean what it says then it means whatever you (or anyone else) want it to mean – and then it’s just your want against someone else’s want and the text vanishes and you no longer have a 2nd, just a contest of wills.

        • Rant7 is clearly a gender studies major. He cannot read and he can’t evaluate what someone has told him. Pathetic. This is what passes for reason among a large segment of our tree dwelling population.

    • If this clown says the 2nd requires a permit what of the other rights guaranteed in the Constitution.

      So we have either someone who has never read the Constitution or a troll who hates it.

      Which is it skippy?

  10. Not in favor of felon in possession laws. If you have a multiple conviction violent criminal then tack on twenty years served consecutively for the third violent conviction, but if you trust them to walk the street then they should automatically get all their rights back when you turn them loose.

      • If this clown says the 2nd requires a permit what of the other rights guaranteed in the Constitution.

        So we have either someone who has never read the Constitution or a troll who hates it. What right in the Constitution is absolute buttercup?

        Which is it skippy?

  11. Republican control of the house is already having an effect on stopping the democrats …

    Joe Manchin’s Reign As King of America Is Over > https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/joe-manchin-s-reign-as-king-of-america-is-over/ar-AA14dTs1?ocid=BingHp01&cvid=72b702460bf44c00e4c8dcf9c06c07f8

    “But the loss of the Democratic House cuts off the flow of legislation that required Democratic unanimity in the Senate, which gave enormous power to Manchin (and, to a lesser extent, Kyrsten Sinema).

    In other words, Manchin is no longer the “King of America.” There won’t be any filibuster-skirting budget-reconciliation bills in the 118th Congress; if Speaker-to-be Kevin McCarthy even thought about one, he’d be defenestrated instantly. So the very source of Manchin’s extraordinary influence has been dammed up. There’s no longer much he can do for Chuck Schumer, or much Schumer can offer in return, to continue the West Virginian’s highly transactional relationship with the Democratic Party. And that, in turn, means he can’t tell the people he represents that they need him in Washington to shake down Democrats to their benefit.

    And unfortunately, unless he just decides to retire (he is, after all, 75, which used to be a bit past retirement age), Manchin will soon be trying to explain to the heavily Republican people of his state why they still need him around. His second full term ends in 2024, and the first of what may be multiple Republican challengers, Representative Alex Mooney, has already announced his candidacy. “

  12. I don’t think they are really wrong. People shouldn’t face prison for posession of a weapon. It’s the improper USE OF that weapon that merits prison time.

    As misguided as the liberals may be, they aren’t wrong here. I want to see all gun restrictions stricken.

    Let nature take it’s course. Those fools who use guns for criminal purposes will eventually meet a “victim” who refuses to be a victim. One more dead criminal is always a win.

    • “People shouldn’t face prison for posession of a weapon”

      in a properly functioning nation, that the citizens have weapons simply is not an issue.

    • Paul, if a person is a convicted felon, or a serial woman abuser, you think he/she should be able to possess a firearm? Not no, but HELL NO! If they are caught with a weapon, put then in jail with an enhanced penalty.

      • And what if Biden signed an executive order tomorrow stating that it’s a felony to be a conservative? You allow the state to decide who gets “rights” and who doesn’t one day you might find yourself on the losing side. It’s either a right or it’s not.

        • What if Napoleon won the Battle of Waterloo? Would we be speaking French? We can get ridiculous with the “what if’s”. Such a declaration by Biden would be BLATANTLY unconstitutional. And would be thrown out faster than dishwater.
          A felon has NO REGARD for anything but himself. He does not care about the “rule of law” or he would not be a felon.
          Felons are a danger to the rest of the population. To get your record expunged, requires getting a pardon or your conviction overturned.
          Bottom line, a convicted felon does NOT deserve the same rights as ordinary law abiding citizens.

  13. “Prosecuting law-breakers is currently seen as a white supremacist act that’s steeped in systemic racism.”

    (shrug) it is. plan accordingly.

  14. “Increases in the average sentence for these offenses would have a disproportionate effect on African American defendants”

    it would be entirely proportionate. which is why they don’t want to do it. “they jus’ doin’ what they gotsa DO!”

    • Blacks being blacks and held to account for their crimes is sooooo racist. According ot people who are offended by using the wrong pronouns.

  15. This is a Great Leap Forward in Progressive thinking. They are finally understanding, that they can’t arrest their way out of crime. Now if they can just make it legal so that citizens can kill people who rob, rape, murder, Steal, break into or vandalize private property. Or kill anyone who threatens someone else’s private property. By killing these criminals out right, this would greatly reduce the crime problem they have in the District of Columbia.

  16. Well since .gov is trying to make a felon out of everyone that’s a good thing.
    It dont matter what you are or what you did or didn’t do, what matters is making sure your a felon. Then they can reduce the sentence and your happy they gave you a spoon.
    Now why would I be happy they gave me a spoon? Because without it eating shit isnt as easy.

  17. Anyone who supports laws that prohibit certain Americans from owning firearms is admitting to supporting gun control. Justify it all you want, getting bent out of shape that certain people can own guns that you don’t like is nothing but gun control. Love the logic “gun control doesn’t lower crime or murder but you shouldn’t let some people have guns because crime or murder. Either gun control works and is a good idea, or it doesn’t work and it’s a bad idea. You don’t get to sit on the fence and claim to oppose it while supporting it.

    • I repeat, felons do NOT deserve the right to bear arms. They have already proven they are incapable of following the rules of society, i.e. the law.

      • I disagree. It depends on what is a violent felony or a non violent felony. The government has been in the process of stretching the definition of what a felony is. And in many cases trapping people into losing their rights.

        • I think the term “violent felony” is pretty much standard thought out the country. As to “non-violent felonies” so what. A Felon has shown his BLATANT disregard for others. Whether it is a larceny, forgery, etc. Is this the kind of person you want to be able to possess a gun?
          No one is “trapped” into committing a crime. It is a personal choice, just like drugs and addiction are a personal choice.

    • Montana wants the following categories of people to own firearms:

      -the insane
      -people convicted of treason
      -murderers
      -rapists
      -terrorists

      Right skippy. Now tell us why you voted six times for Fetterman and why we are keeping you from your NAMBLA meeting.

  18. “should not be amended to increase the penalty classifications. Doing so, he said, would exacerbate racial disparities in incarceration.”

    Why would it do that? What are you saying, Mr. Park?

  19. When they do come full circle, we can buy a new gun out of the back of trunk and pay the ticket when and if caught.

    All this leniency because they have too many criminals in jail. People who have committed their special crime(s) and to create their view of racial justice the solution is never arrest anyone else?

    We are led by fools.

    • Mr Money, we have too many criminals in jail? Are you frickin’ kidding me? What do you want to do with the criminals? Have them learn to play Chess ?
      Justice has nothing to do with race? If you commit the crime be prepared to do the time.

    • Agreed that there are too many people in jail. Upon the fourth conviction of a felony an automatic death penalty shall be required. Reduce the prison population now.

      In many countries of the world theft results in the death penalty. Africa doesn’t even require courts to pass a verdict, its done when criminals are caught by the people.

  20. My opinion as well. If someone’s that dangerous that they cannot have a right returned after they’ve paid their debt, then they are too dangerous to release, period.

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