Washington, D.C. isn’t one of those places people seem to live. While many undoubtedly do, most of the people who make up Washington are really folks who live outside of D.C. in one of the many suburbs.
Now that D.C. is required to be a shall issue jurisdiction, it seems that they’re issuing a whole lot more permits these days, and the Washington Post thinks it’s newsworthy that so many people applying for permits are people who don’t reside in Washington itself.
More than 700 people have asked the D.C. police for licenses to carry loaded concealed handguns when they dine, shop and walk the streets of the nation’s capital. In the months since a court ordered city officials to scale back local gun-control laws, police department records show that more than half the applicants are not District residents.
The loosening of the law marks a cultural shift in a city where most residents could not legally keep handguns in their homes until a landmark Supreme Court decision a decade ago. City officials have long fought efforts to chip away at the District’s strict controls since the high court used a local case in 2008 to declare that an individual has a right to gun ownership.
A string of successful legal challenges from gun rights advocates culminated last fall and now make it much easier to get a permit to carry a handgun in the District.
“It’s definitely a new day,” said former assistant police chief Diane Groomes, who oversees security at the new Wharf development of restaurants, hotels and stores on the Southwest Waterfront.
The article also notes that city officials opted to not appeal the decision to the Supreme Court because of the potential ramifications on a national level should they lose.
However, it seems odd that this is surprising enough to warrant a news report.
Many who work and function in Washington actually live in places like Virginia or Maryland. They work in D.C. and they visit restaurants and other entertainment venues in D.C., but they reside outside the city. This isn’t unusual for large cities, either. Many people live outside of Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles and travel in for work and play. This is because so many cities are virtual sewers in many regards, thus necessitating people finding somewhere to live that doesn’t completely blow.
Where D.C. differs is that it’s an entity unto itself. There are no state regulations overseeing it, unlike most other major cities. No one can get a state-issued permit that will cover them inside the city. It’s just not an option.
As a result, people are applying directly for permits good within Washington, often on top of their permits for their home states. This isn’t unusual.
So why is this newsworthy?
Mostly, it’s because the Post wants folks to be freaked out that people are crossing into the city armed. They want to create this perception that Washingtonians are too enlightened to want to be armed, that it’s only because of those knuckle-dragging folks from outside town that are the problem. That’s clear from this bit regarding supposed threats created by the new law.
Groomes, the former head of patrol officers, said she is concerned about police on the front lines who will be more likely now to encounter people carrying legally and will have to quickly assess whether someone has a permit.
“Officers work on split-second decisions. At what point do you ask, ‘Do you have a permit?’ The delay could lead to danger,” she said.
Which is funny because officers in literally every state in the country are able to navigate this just fine. Maybe Groomes can ask around and get some tips because it’s not really a problem in most places.
But that’s not the issue for the Post. What is the issue is trying to frame a narrative, an idea that the city is less safe because there are a few more guns around. Never mind that those who wish to commit evil acts are going to carry in spite of the law in the first place.
That part never seems to get mentioned. I wonder why?