WashTimes: 1,000 firearm charges cited


September 29, 2004, 01:55 AM
From the Washington Times

1,000 firearm charges cited

By Matthew Cella

Prosecutors in the District said yesterday they have filed charges in about 1,000 cases since last year for violations of the city's gun-possession laws, among the most restrictive in the country.

Among the violations were 977 for carrying a pistol without a license, said Channing Phillips, a spokesman for interim U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Wainstein. He also said 633 of the pistol-violation cases, or two-thirds, resulted in convictions.

Officials gave the numbers on the eve of the House of Representatives' effort to repeal sections of the District's gun laws, which are the most restrictive on carrying an unlicensed pistol and on the possession of unregistered guns and ammunition.

House members are expected to vote today on legislation to ease the District's firearms restrictions, which have been in effect since 1976. Lawmakers are targeting 16 subsections of the D.C. Code that apply to criminal charges for owning a gun in the District.

The bill, titled the District of Columbia Personal Protection Act, has support from 228 of the House's 435 members. A similar bill introduced in the Senate was withdrawn last week.

The House bill does not attempt to change sections of D.C. Code that mandate strict penalties for criminals using guns and for those who sell guns to minors.

For example, felons convicted of firearms possession would still get up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. And felons who use a firearm during the commission of a violent crime would still receive a maximum 15-year prison sentence.

The 1,000 charges included 27 for unregistered guns and 13 for unregistered ammunition, said Tarifah Coaxum, a spokeswoman for D.C. Attorney General Robert Spagnoletti.

Miss Coaxum said prosecutors dropped about 15 of the 40 unregistered-guns and unregistered-ammunition cases, but the number of convictions is unclear because some cases are pending and defendants in others may have pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

The bill also leaves intact the maximum $10,000 fine or one-year prison term for those who distributed firearms or ammunition to a person younger than 18. However, it would eliminate the maximum one-year penalty or $1,000 fine for first-time offenders of the gun-possession law, and the maximum five-year penalty or $5,000 fine for second offenders.

Possessing unregistered ammunition always is a misdemeanor.

However, carrying a pistol without a license in the District can be either a felony or a misdemeanor charge, depending on whether the offender was carrying the pistol someplace other than his or her home or business.

Possession of an unregistered firearm also can be a felony or misdemeanor, depending on whether the offender distributed a weapon to a child or if the offender had a previous firearms offense.

Most misdemeanors are prosecuted by the District's Office of the Attorney General, and felonies are prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The proposed House legislation would repeal a total of 10 laws governing gun registration. It also would repeal the law that makes possession of ammunition illegal and the law that requires legal firearms to be stored unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock.

It would amend the D.C. Code to allow the owning of guns by more people than just police, arson investigators and military and security personnel. But it would leave in place a ban on sawed-off shotguns, short-barreled rifles and machine guns.

The bill amends the definition of a machine gun to strike semiautomatic weapons that can fire more than 12 shots without manual reloading. The amended subsection would define a machine gun as a weapon that can fire "more than one shot by a single function of the trigger."

The legislation also would no longer allow the D.C. Council to impose new laws that would "discourage or eliminate the private ownership or use of firearms."

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September 29, 2004, 02:41 AM
Gawd - this goes to show you - i can't read legalese....

I always wonder how hard it can be to pass a law that says JUST this...

----if you commit a crime w/ a firearm - you get in more trouble.

(i know there are those whoe say the crime is the crime - firearm or not - *I* think that the crime is "more" because the use of a firearm was a dirrect attempt to make thier threat more "real" or to further thier chances of success.)

----if you don't commit a crime w/ a firearm - erm... yer a law abiding citizen and more wealth to ya. (even tho you own a gun)

----if you commit a crime - punishment as folows. (this for that that for this etc etc)

----if you stop a crime against you or someone else with a firearm - God Speed my friend - you are an asset to the community.

SEEMS to me then - they'd quit the criminalization of a law abiding citizen who carry's owns guns - i wonder how many of the thousands? of charges were simple people carrying on w/ thier lives, even tho the "law" stated they couldn't do that w/ a gun handy.

The law after all doesn't stop people who intend to commit crime from carrying, no more than this shallow attempt at the criminalization of carrying et all. Laws don't prevent -they adjudicate after the fact. The only prevention is inherent in how good the punishment was. IE - you can't stop crime by saying its illegal to have one. You stop crime by making sure everyone knows what happened to those before them who did the same.

heh - even then it doesn't stop the crazy ones =) hehe


September 29, 2004, 03:27 AM

Remember a couple of weeks ago when we were debating about what our next offensive would be now that the AWB is dead?

I think this is it.

Warm up those word processors and telephones, folks.

September 29, 2004, 04:24 AM
Tides are turning, me thinks.

We have two things on our side, the truth and voting. Keep writing letters, calling Congresscritters and voting. It's not an instant fix, but over time it adds up.

September 29, 2004, 10:20 AM
Possessing unregistered ammunition always is a misdemeanor.



September 29, 2004, 10:22 AM
Ya know what...... I don't take that last post back... but I'm VERY happy that people in DC have a chance at getting their rights back.

Harry Tuttle
September 29, 2004, 11:00 AM
Houston Chronicle, Tue, 28 Sep 2004 10:54 PM PDT
DeLay puts hot issues on floor of U.S. House http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/nation/2820299
WASHINGTON - House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has called for votes this week on gun control and same-sex marriage measures, a move that appears to be designed to force Democrats in tight congressional races to record positions that could work against them in November.

September 29, 2004, 11:47 AM
Washington laws are really only for the little people anyway. One only has to go back to the case of carl rowan, darling of the left and one of the most outspoken proponents of gun control.
He shot a trespasser that was evidently using his pool at night. Case was dropped and no charges pressed. This case was a violation of all use of force laws in any state, and also violated every gun law of the D.C. He remained a gun control advocate, although I bet he still kept his firearms because he "needed them, being a celebrity that could have his life put in danger."

September 30, 2004, 03:55 PM
IIRC, Carl Rowan got his handgun from his son, who at that time was an FBI agent. Rowan's son must have know his father was breaking the law by having an unregistered handgun and ammo.

October 1, 2004, 10:06 AM
If I read the post correctly, some people had to take a bath in sheep dip for having 'unregistered ammunition'. Since ammunition is a consumable product, how can you 'register' it??


Bart Noir
October 1, 2004, 02:47 PM
How can you register ammo?

Simple. Just use the serial number that is stamped on each round. I could register cartridge number .38 and then .38 and then .38.... Oh, wait, what do I do about the rimfires?

Seriously, that registration law is soooo dumb. Can anybody post more info on what it really requires in District of Calamity?

Bart Noir
Who lives in the real Washington and owns and carries legally. ('Cept the full-autos, sigh)

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