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Self Defense in Washington D.C.
By:  William P. Flinn

I felt compelled recently to talk in my gun club news letter about an aspect of gun ownership that many folks probably don’t think about or even want to talk about too much: Defensive gun ownership rights – specifically, the concept of being able to own or even carry a concealed handgun for self defense. So I thought I would re-print that article here as well.
Let me explain: Once again I find myself in Washington D.C. on business. When I have some down time, my mind wanders and I find myself comparing the culture in this part of the country to the culture we enjoy in Colorado. While here, I was often asked by friends and colleagues what I did for fun the evening before. My response was usually along the lines of walking the National Mall and looking at monuments – I love seeing our national monuments, and take the time to visit them every time I am here.

The response:
You didn’t walk the National Mall at NIGHT, did you?!”
Well – no, but why, I am thinking, would they ask such a thing?
Because it just isn’t safe!” was always the answer. Well – I knew that, thus my decision for not doing it.

Well – let’s talk about that for a moment. It’s not SAFE to walk the National Mall in Washington D.C.! And this sentiment in a city where the Police Chief, City Council, and Mayor have all made it clear that they do not like the idea of citizens being armed. But yet the Supreme Court has ruled (in the case of D.C. versus Warren and others) that the police do not have an obligation to protect individual citizens. My perception of how dangerous this city is can always be further perpetuated by the events of many late afternoons, when I am walking around the city, and there are police sirens whaling every so often, followed by something looking like a bomb disposal vehicle, followed by fire engines. “What the heck is going on here?” I have often thought. Why isn’t this place safe? What makes a place like this to be widely considered dangerous to walk around at night, but yet those charged with protecting it would regard armed citizens as a bad thing?

In talking with a few of the locals, I most assuredly have my impressions confirmed that Washington D.C. is just widely regarded as having a high rate of violent crime. Now this is not something new – I know that many of you have heard this all before. But what occurs to me every time I come here is that there is a very simple explanation: Citizens are not allowed to have guns for self defense, either in the open, concealed, or just locked in the trunk of their cars. Until last year, handguns where completely outlawed. But even though the Supreme Court has ruled the bearing of arms to be a right that these citizens should enjoy, the city leadership has been throwing up roadblock after roadblock towards allowing these people to arm themselves and put the violent criminals on notice that they want to defend themselves.

Washington D.C. is not unique in this. Cities like Chicago, New York, and some other large metropolitan areas also have very restrictive gun laws, and citizens are deprived of the right to carry concealed weapons or in many cases even own them. What do they also have in common? Very high rates of violent crime! The economy is certainly having an effect on the increase in violent crimes every where¸ but when criminals know that their victims cannot fight back, they are further enabled and feel emboldened to commit these crimes. And in this city in particular, it is even illegal to carry knives and pepper spray. So basically, everyone except the criminals, is rendered completely defenseless.

What does this mean to us as a gun club? We’re all voters! With some very important elections coming up in 2010 and 2012, we need to start NOW in looking for state candidates who will help protect our rights to bear arms, to ensure that Colorado will continue to enjoy the rights we have now with no further erosion of these rights, and national candidates who will take this message to Washington D.C. The current administration is moving at a furious pace to change our country – I am wondering how long it will be before our “privileges” of concealed carry disappear, and our RIGHT to keep and bear arms is taken away for good. Get involved, get the word out, and wake your fellow Americans up.
Concealed Carry Bill Fails:

National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Fails—But What Is Behind The Scenes?

The John Thune (R—South Dakota) Senate bill to allow concealed carry (CCW) reciprocity nationwide failed to overcome a procedural hurdle and get out of committee. According to the NRA Institute for Legislative Action:

“By a 58 to 39 majority, the US Senate voted last week to let concealed handgun permit holders carry handguns across state lines. Yet, it was two votes short of the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster. The legislation sponsored by Senator John Thune (R, SD) would have allowed reciprocity in permitting, as anybody would still be required to obey the laws of the states that they travel in. This is the same way driver's licenses work.”

Perhaps there was more to this bill’s failure than is evident on the surface, and there are other reasons why the bill failed despite a majority being in favor. From Dudley Brown, Executive Director for National Association for Gun Rights:

“It wasn't a "lack of unity" in the Republican party that led to the Thune amendment's 58-39 demise: The Thune amendment was never supposed to pass.The entire process was calculated to fail … but only after dozens of anti-gunners on both sides of the aisle could exploit the chance to dissemble on the record as gun rights supporters.It's Washington politics at its finest -- voting "yes" on an ostensibly pro-gun bill orchestrated to die just short of the needed number of votes, but that could still be used to dupe constituents.”
That doesn't surprise me a bit! Colorado Senators Bennet and Udall, two of the most extreme liberal Senators in office, both voted "YES" on this bill. They were dissembling, of course. NO doubt a ruse to make us think they supported our gun rights. I'm sure Reid coached them on how to vote. D'ya think?
There is no doubt that CCW privileges have come under fire from many in the gun control community. And in practically all of the cases of opposition, the fears and worries that would cause support for CCW to fail are unfounded. For example, some of the politicians had this to say about this bill:

“Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D, NJ) warned it is an "attempt by the gun lobby to put its radical agenda ahead of safety and security in our communities." Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY) calls it a "harmful measure" that will put the public at risk. Senator Chuck Schumer (D, NY) said
: "It could reverse the dramatic success we've had in reducing crime in most all parts of America."

As all of us who carry are well aware—the fears of the streets “running red with blood” that would surely have come about by CCW permitted citizens never came to pass. And the political wrangling that goes on to help politicians in danger of re-election in their districts, instead of addressing the real issues is something we should all be concerned with. The actions that took place behind the scenes on this bill should serve as a warning that we should be watchful of any future CCW related legislation, and ensure that our representatives are voting with reason instead of out of fear of losing voter support.
About The Author:  "The Gonz" is an NRA Certified Firearms Instructor (Pistol, PPiTH, RTBAV), US Concealed Carry Association Affiliate Instructor, and an NRA Certified Range Safety Officer.  Additionally, he a trained and certified Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member, with several years of training in the Incident Command System (ICS) procedures and practices.



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