WASHINGTON — Last week’s shooting rampage at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, has prompted calls from some GOP lawmakers to relax D.C.’s strict gun laws to make it easier for members of Congress to carry firearms in the District.
Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., who was at the Alexandria, Virginia, baseball diamond where House GOP Whip Steve Scalise, of Louisiana, was critically injured by a rifle-wielding gunman, said he plans to introduce legislation that would treat lawmakers as members of law enforcement to exempt them from some D.C. gun regulations.
“Right now, when we’re in Washington, D.C., once we’re off the Capitol Hill Grounds complex, we’re still congressmen, senators — we’re still high-profile targets — but we have absolutely no way to defend ourselves because of Washington, D.C.’s rather restrictive gun laws,” Brooks said on the Fox News program “Sunday Morning Futures.”
D.C. gun laws regulate the sale and purchase of firearms and ammunition. For permits to carry concealed firearms, applicants must undergo two hours of training at a gun range and complete a 16-hour safety course. In addition, applicants must provide a “good reason” for carrying a handgun, such as fearing for their safety.
D.C. does not recognize concealed-carry permits from other states.
Last week, Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., introduced a measure called the “D.C. Personal Protection Reciprocity Act,” that would allow people with concealed-carry permits issued by other states to be able to carry firearms in D.C.
“After the horrific shooting at the Republican congressional baseball practice, there will likely be calls for special privileges to protect politicians,” Massie said in a statement. “Our reaction should instead be to protect the right of all citizens guaranteed in the Constitution: the right to self-defense.”
D.C. Democratic Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton blasted Massie’s proposal, calling it an attempt to “exploit the shocking targeting of members of Congress” and an attempt to undermine local D.C. laws.
It’s unclear how far the proposals will go, given lawmakers’ crowded legislative schedule that includes a health care overhaul, changes to tax laws and infrastructure funding.
James Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois, opened fire shortly after 7 a.m. June 14 during the Republican baseball practice, injuring Scalise and a lobbyist for Tyson Foods, a congressional staffer and two Capitol Police officers. Hogkinson, who had been living in the Alexandria area out of his van for the past two months, was shot and killed by authorities.
Both Scalise and the lobbyist, Matt Mika, saw their conditions improve from critical to serious over the weekend.