WASHINGTON – Following Wednesday’s shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and four others in Alexandria, Va., Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) introduced legislation on Thursday that would require the District of Columbia to recognize out-of-district concealed carry permits for firearms.
Massie, chairman of the Congressional Second Amendment Caucus, delivered a common gun-rights refrain in introducing the bill, saying that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
Wednesday’s shooter, 66-year-old James Hodgkinson, of Belleville, Ill., engaged in a firefight with three U.S. Capitol Police officers during the rampage, which occurred at a practice session for an exhibition baseball game between Republicans and Democrats. The injured included Scalise, who was upgraded Saturday from critical to serious condition; officers Crystal Griner and David Bailey; Tyson Foods lobbyist Matt Mika; and Rep. Roger Williams’ (R-Texas) staffer, Zack Barth. Williams suffered a sprained ankle.
Hodgkinson, a volunteer for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) presidential campaign, who died from injuries suffered during the shootout, reportedly asked if the players on the field were Democrats or Republicans moments before opening fire with a 9 mm handgun and a 7.62 caliber rifle.
Massie said the legislation is intended to protect not only lawmakers but the general public, as well.
“After the horrific shooting at the Republican Congressional Baseball practice, there will likely be calls for special privileges to protect politicians,” Massie said. “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.”
Massie argued that Congress should repeal laws that keep “good guys from carrying guns,” calling firearms the common person’s first line of defense in mass shootings. He noted that through Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 of the Constitution, Congress has the authority to preempt District of Columbia gun laws. He said that while Virginia “extends reciprocity” for concealed carry permit holders, D.C. has “harsh gun laws” that prohibit law-abiding citizens from bearing arms.
D.C. has a process that allows individuals to apply for carry permits, but the individual must show “good reason” and satisfy all requirements included in the Firearms Control Act of 1975.
D.C. Councilman Charles Allen (D) in an interview Friday said that he objects to Massie’s legislation on two grounds: D.C. has spent a considerable amount of time on crafting its own gun laws, and local and state jurisdictions should be trusted to enforce those standards.
“I’m pretty sure if I were trying to pass a law to say what the people of Kentucky should do, Kentucky might have an issue with that, so I hope that we certainly respect our self-determination and our own representation and accountability,” Allen said.
He noted that the Metropolitan Police Department has an entire office devoted to the permitting process, and the estimated 680,000 individuals living in the district are free to engage in that process. He noted that Congressman Massie has made previous attempts to overturn the district’s gun laws.
“I think our focus should probably be more on the people who have been injured and who are still recovering from (Wednesday’s shooting), rather than trying to 24 hours later revive legislation,” Allen said.