DC City Council Implements More Gun Control, Red Flag Law

This won’t deter criminals—just penalize law-abiding gun owners, who are increasingly scarce in Washington, D.C.

It will be increasingly harder for law-abiding gun owners to possess certain gun accessories in the District of Columbia.

The newly-enacted Firearms Safety Omnibus Amendment Act, largely supported by Ward 6 Councilman Charles Allen, is calling for “stronger gun laws” to be witnessed—including increased penalties for those in possession extended magazine clips, for those in possession of bump stocks, and the implementation of the controversial and dangerous red flag law—which recently resulted in the tragic death of an Anne Arundel, Maryland, man.

When enacted, this red flag law in D.C. will allow “family members, physicians, officers and others” to file a petition to have firearms removed from individuals, largely family members, they believe are a danger to themselves or others. Moreover, red flag laws give more authority to judges to certify the petition for removal of firearms within hours of a request being filed. This law has been rightfully criticized for incurring Second Amendment and Fourth Amendment right violations.

Here’s more on their justification for this provision, which will certainly alarm civil rights advocates:

“It gives a process through the courts where that gun can be removed temporarily to prevent them from doing harm to themselves or to others,” explained Allen.

He also said the red flag law could exempt someone from criminal punishment through an immunity provision if they are found to possess a gun illegally.

D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham was critical of the immunity provision in a letter sent to the council recently, saying it will create an environment more accepting of illegal guns.

Newsham said in the letter, “by expanding the immunity provision to include felons, fugitives from justice, or anyone with a domestic violence conviction, the legislation will undermine efforts to protect the community and other potential victims of violence.”

“If that gun was used in a crime, immunity is gone,” said Allen responding to the chief’s concerns. “If they aren’t allowed to have a gun because they are under court supervision, they are prohibited – no immunity.”

“This is a very narrow, narrow piece that is the barrier between someone making a phone call because they’re trying to weigh, do I think they are going to do harm or do I want to have them get a criminal consequence? And we want to get the gun out of their hands,” said Allen.

Like other examples of gun control measures, this will absolutely do nothing to deter violent crime in the nation’s capital—which rated as the _ most dangerous city in the country. This will only penalize law-abiding gun owners, who already have a difficult time in the district.

Washington, D.C. recently became a shall-issue territory—meaning the city council couldn’t legally restrict concealed carry applicants from applying and exercising their rights. As of November 2018, there was a 1,440% percent increase in carry permit holders since last year’s landmark ruling in the District’s Circuit Courts of Appeals, where now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh previously sat on. Daily Caller also reports that prior to the ruling, only 123 D.C. residents had carry permits. That number, as confirmed by Metropolitan Police Department, has increased to 1,896 total concealed carry permits issued by them this year.

Guns and Ammo magazine ranked Washington, D.C. as the 47th worst place for gun owners of all 50 states and the District of Columbia—just behind California. Their report assessed each state using the following criteria: Right to Carry (RTC), access to “Black Rifles”, the states’ use-of-force laws (i.e., Castle Doctrine or CD), the prohibition of items regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA) and a catch-all Miscellaneous (MISC) column.

Per the recently launched FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, Washington, D.C. was rated the 44th most violent city in the U.S. It last held the 27th spot. Hate crimes are reportedly up 62 percent. D.C.’s 2017 violent crime rate was 6, 584 per its population of 693,972—with 116 homicides.

This D.C. bill will likely be challenged by gun groups for its numerous violations of individual rights.

The author of this story consulted Ward 6 Councilman Charles Allen’s Republican challenger, Michael Bekesha, during the 2018 election cycle.

D.C. Court of Appeals Gets It Right on Unconstitutional Conceal Carry Ban

The residents of Washington, D.C., proper may soon be able to conceal carry given the good news this week. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the enforcement of DC’s existing onerous anti-gun law which criminalizes concealed carry by law-abiding gun owners.

Here’s more context behind the legal battle over gun rights in the nation’s capital:

The city’s law had required gun owners to prove they have a “good reason to fear injury” or another “proper reason,” such as a job that requires carrying large amounts of cash or valuables, in order to get a concealed carry permit. Under the city’s law, living in a high-crime neighborhood was not reason enough to justify approval of a concealed carry permit.

Second Amendment advocates who brought the lawsuit said the city’s law was so restrictive that most law-abiding citizens would be unable to obtain permits. As of June, the Metropolitan Police Department reported having granted just 125 concealed carry permits since the law took effect in 2014.

The city’s strict concealed carry laws have remained in effect while the D.C. Circuit was considering whether to rehear the case, so the ruling marks the first time the “good reason” requirements will be cast aside.

In July, the same court upheld the 2016 ruling that Washington, D.C., must issue handgun licenses to law-abiding D.C. residents in the same fashion that other states issue carry permits too. More specifically, this ruling means that an applicant for a concealed handgun permit (CHP) won’t have to prove a special need or request (may issue) to obtain a CHP. Instead, permits should be issued on a shall-issue basis for adults who pass background checks and successfully complete a gun safety training course.

This derives from a May 2016 ruling in which the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard J. Leon issued a 46-page opinion stating the Second Amendment not only applies to owning guns in homes, but also legal carry in the streets via concealed carry–writing that presenting a “good reason” for carrying in the nation’s capital is unconstitutional. The 2008 Supreme Court Case District of Columbia v. Heller affirmed the constitutionality of law-abiding gun owners to keep and bear arms inside their homes. However, D.C. residents are unable to carry outside their homes–leaving many defenseless and vulnerable to attack in one of the nation’s most dangerous cities.

Law-abiding Americans who wish to conceal carry shouldn’t have to prove a “good reason” to do so–especially in one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S.

Washington, D.C. has been famously nicknamed the “murder capital of the U.S.” given its bloody track record.  Neighborhood Scout named it the #30 most murderous city in all of the U.S. in 2017. In 2016, WTOP listed DC as the 10th top murderous city  in all of the U.S. Why don’t city lawmakers see that onerous laws that leave people defenseless only empower gangs and murderous thugs to perpetuate crimes on unsuspecting residents?

In April 2013, a D.C. hate crime victim told NBC Washington the following in response to his assault:

“I’m going to get a license and get a 9mm,” he said. “That’s the truth.”

In the case of the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise, who just returned to Congress yesterday, had it not been for his bodyguards, him and other lawmakers would likely not be alive today. However, preventing concealed carry or concealed carry reciprocity for D.C. residents to also carry in nearby territories or other states could make shootings like the June 2017–which left Scalise seriously injured–happen again if their Draconian gun laws are not overturned.

Experts say this case will move to the Supreme Court soon. As in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, let’s hope the highest court in the land rules in favor of the constitutionality of concealed carry for law-abiding Americans. This shouldn’t be an issue: gun rights are human rights.

Trying to Regulate Airbnb Out of Existence Will Make Them Stronger

Hotel industry disruptor Airbnb is in big government and the hotel industry’s crosshairs. It was revealed earlier this year that these two forces plan to come together to root the multi-billion company out of existence. Here’s what was uncovered:

The plan was laid out in two separate documents that the organization presented to its board in November and January. In the documents, which The New York Times obtained, the group sketched out the progress it had already made against Airbnb, and described how it planned to rein in the start-up in the future.

The plan was a “multipronged, national campaign approach at the local, state and federal level,” according to the minutes of the association’s November board meeting.

The documents provide an inside look at how seriously the American hotel industry is taking Airbnb as a threat — and the extent to which it is prepared to take action against it.

Two recent examples in D.C. and in San Francisco (its home base) point to Airbnb winning the war of public opinion going forward.

A bill was brought by the D.C. City Council in January to stifle Airbnb’s presence in the nation’s capital. Here’s more on the proposed legislation and its consequences:

The bill, which Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffieproposed in January, would require hosts to register their listings with the city and would limit the number and duration of rental bookings for a given unit of housing. It would also set a 15-day annual cap on what it calls “vacation rentals” (those where hosts do not remain on site overnight), procedures for city inspectors to review listings, and fines of up to $7,000 for hosts who violate the measure’s provisions.

Anti-Airbnb forces like ShareBetter, a coalition of local politicians and members of the hotel establishment, have launched video campaigns to undermine their efforts under the guise of rallying for “affordable housing.” Even more cofounding is why would this D.C.-based group use an actress residing in New York to rally people to their cause? Here’s the ad:

 

In response to this, Airbnb shot back at ShareBetter with the following statement: “This ad is another example of ShareBetter and the Working Families Party doing the bidding of the hotel industry—attacking middle-class families who home-share to make ends meet, and travelers who depend on home-sharing to visit communities which lack hotels like those east of the Anacostia River.”

A similar situation recently plagued Airbnb in San Francisco, in which the company settled with the City by the Bay earlier this week. Here’s more on the settlement:

The legal settlement with the city over unregistered listings marks the end of a multiyear battle that pit affordable housing advocates and some local officials against home-sharing start-ups and the wider tech community. Ultimately, Airbnb and its co-defendant, HomeAway, conceded to many of the city’s demands, but also showed other start-ups that there is a payoff to flexing some legal muscle and going up against regulators.

Under the settlement, Airbnb agreed to build software that would automatically send the city the names and address of hosts who sign up locally. People who are already hosts have 8 months to register.

Cities like D.C. and SF may attempt to regulate Airbnb out of existence, but they won’t succeed. Market forces and positive public opinion of the company will continue to keep the company afloat.