This post was written by Hatchet reporter Robert Evans
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray announced legislation on Wednesday that could make concealed handgun permits a reality in certain parts of the District.
Gray, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Council member Tommy Wells announced the “License to Carry a Pistol Emergency Amendment Act of 2014” after a federal judge struck down D.C.’s handgun ban in July.
The Council will consider the legislation on Sept. 23, and the provisions could go into effect as early as Oct. 22.
Here are the three biggest takeaways from Wednesday’s press conference.
1. Personal responsibility
Mendelson highlighted the amendment’s focus on a more extensive gun safety and handling training programs for both District residents and non-residents, who can also get a license to carry in D.C. if they meet the same standards as residents.
Those who have been previously diagnosed with a mental illness or condition will not be eligible for a license, and if a person is found to be intoxicated while carrying a gun, they will face criminal and civil penalties, the legislation says.
“The responsibility lays on the person who holds the gun,” Mendelson said.
2. Wells: “We don’t know if we want to be the poster child of gun laws in America.”
Wells said that the program models those of states like New York, New Jersey and Maryland, which have adopted similar policies.
“There’s no reason why we can’t complete the process before the Council period, and move from the emergency to the permanent legislation,” he said. “We will move quickly, and I believe we will move smartly.”
The bill will create a five-member Concealed Pistol Licensing Review Board appointed by the mayor to review any denial of an application for a concealed-carry license.
3. No guns in the House
It is “paramount,” the press release said, to keep the areas around government buildings, like Congress, gun-free and public officials will not allow people to carry concealed weapons in certain areas.
Gray said he was aggravated with the forced loosening of D.C. gun laws a year after the Washington Navy Yard shooting, which left 12 people dead and eight more injured.
“It’s my view that the District needs less guns, not more guns,” Gray said. “We will continue to work together as a government, not only to uphold the law, but also do the best job as we can to preserve safety here in the District of Columbia.”