Mendelson Introduces Gun Bill
D.C. Council member Phil Mendelson introduced legislation today that would overturn the city's long-standing handgun ban to comply with the historic Supreme Court decision last week. That ruling struck down the ban as unconstitutional.
All 12 of his council colleagues signed on as co-sponsors of the bill, which also upends the city's law to keep weapons unloaded and either disassembled or disabled by a trigger lock.
Exceptions would be made for gun owners keeping their weapons in their homes for "immediate self-defense," as well as those keeping them in their place of business or using them for legal recreational purposes.
The self-defense exemption was a key part of the 5 to 4 high court decision.
"The language is taken verbatim from the last page of the Supreme Court ruling," Mendelson said.
"The Supreme Court ruling was regrettable, but nevertheless, it is the law of the land," he said.
Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) commended Mendelson for "moving swiftly" and said she was supportive.
But she has some reservations, she said. "I am not conceding that...we make an open-ended exception" for trigger locks, Cheh said.
Mendelson, chairman of the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary, will hold a public roundtable on the ruling tomorrow. He said he will use testimony from witnesses on whether to introduce similar emergency legislation by the council's last legislative meeting before summer recess on July 15.
Without an emergency bill, the council would not vote until the fall though Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) has said he will call a special summer meeting if necessary.
Council member Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5) also introduced a sense of the council resolution to support training and education programs on handgun hazards and restrictions on where gun stores can locate, including voluntary agreements with Advisory Neighborhood Commissions before such shops can get certificates of occupancy.
Watch this space for regular updates from the roundtable meeting tomorrow.
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