In the wake of the shooting spree in Alexandria, VA that targeted U.S. representatives, new legislation is being proposed. The congressman from Kentucky, Tom Massie introduced the bill the day after Republican Steve Scalise was gunned down at batting practice.
The D.C. Personal Protection Reciprocity Act will ensure that citizens in the capitol have recourse to their own weapons in the event of an attack. Rep. Massie said that rather than extending “special privileges” to members of Congress, his bill would ensure everyone’s right to self-defense.
“The right to keep and bear arms is not a privilege, it’s a God-given right protected by our constitution,” Massie explained.
The measure is a reaction to liberal gunman James Hodgkinson’s premeditated attack on Republican lawmakers. The Bernie supporter, fueled by liberal rhetoric, took matters into his own hands last week and was apparently intent on murdering every Republican in sight. Investigators even discovered a hit list of politicians he planned to kill.
Everyone seems to agree that if it hadn’t been for the presence of armed Capitol Hill police officers Crystal Griner and David Bailey, Hodgkinson would have completed his deadly task. Massie’s bill was created because of the District’s horrifically stringent, and obviously ineffective, gun laws.
The measure will make it possible for licensed, concealed carry permit holders from other states to stay armed while in D.C. This is referred to as reciprocity.
Although Virginia and Maryland both comply with reciprocity policies in some form, the city itself makes its own laws. Since legislators were quickly moving from D.C. to the ballpark and back again on Wednesday last week, no one had any weapons.
Rep. Barry Loudermilk from Georgia was there that day. He explained that nothing like that could have happened in his home state because he and his staff stay armed. “If this had happened in Georgia, he wouldn’t have gotten too far,” Loudermilk said. Citing the fact that his staff member had a clear shot at Hodgkinson, Loudermilk informed reporters that since they aren’t allowed to carry guns in D.C. neither was could help that day.
The D.C. city council refuses to extend reciprocity to other states. However, the Constitution gives Congress the power to void such an illogical and dangerous stance. Although the legislative body has rarely interfered with the city before, the attack last week has provided an impetus.
In fact, several of the representatives whose names were on Hodgkinson’s list of targets are backing the measure introduced by Rep. Massie. Mo Brooks, the Representative from Alabama, was also present during the Bernie-supporter’s rampage.
Rep. Brooks plans to introduce legislation this week that will make it possible for any congressman to carry a sidearm, anywhere in the country. Although not many lawmakers have had an opportunity to read the bill, many have tentatively pledged their support.
Morgan Griffith from Virginia “has always been inclined to support concealed carry laws” a spokeswoman from his office said. Arizona Representative Trent Franks is also “in favor of expanding those rights to everyone,” according to his staff. Rep. Massie’s legislation would make it legal for any individual to protect himself in the nation’s Capitol. His proposed legislation has already received 23 co-sponsors, including Rep. Brooks.
Representatives adding their named support to the bill also include Trent Franks, Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, and Jim Jordan from Ohio. All of these legislators were on the killer’s list.
Scott DesJarlais, the Representative from Tennessee, is joining the legislation as a co-sponsor as well. He is a strong proponent of nation-wide carry laws and likes the measure because it “appeals to all Americans.”
Desjarlais is right. The plan to allow these types of carrying laws is popular with second amendment groups. With a Republican-controlled House and Senate, there’s a good chance that D.C. lawmakers won’t be able to infringe on the rights of congressional members, visitors, or residents at the Capitol for much longer.
“The only thing that stops a bag guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” Rep. Massie said.
This legislative move is a big one. Hopefully, it will cut down on the rampant violence and assaults with a dangerous weapon that plague a city that is supposed to be gun-free.