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Full text of "Firearms control regulations act of 1975, Council act no. 1-142 : hearing and disposition before the Committee on the District of Columbia, House of Representatives, Ninety-fourth Congress, second session on H. Con. Res. 694 ... August 25, 1976"

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FIREARMS CONTROL REGULATIONS ACT OF 1975 
(Council Act No. 1-142) 



94-2 

HEARING AND DISPOSITION 




STANFORD 

IIBRARIES 



BEFORE THE 



COMMITTEE ON 
THE 'DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

NlNETy-FOURTH CONGRESS 

SECOND SESSION 
ON 

H. Con. Res. 694 

TO DISAPPROVE THE FIREARMS CONTROL REGULATIONS 
ACT OF 1975 



AUGUST 25, 1976 



Serial No. 94-24 




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D G2': 9V-iV 

/FIREARMS CONTROL REGUUTIONS AQ OF 1975 
(CouncO Act No. 1-142) 

P94-66 

Q<^_0 STANFORD 

HEAEING AND DISPOSITION 

BBFOKB THE 

COMMITTEE ON 
THE 'DISTRICT OF COLUpiA 
HOUSE OF REPfiESENTATITES 

NINETY-FODBTH CONQKESS 

SDCOND SESSION 
ON 

H. Con. Res. 694 - - 



AUGUST 25, 1976 



Serial No. 94-24 




.„tN1 ^'^'^ 

3. GOVEBNHBNT FRINTING 3fl 
WASHINQTON : 1SI« 



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COMMITTEE ON THE DISTEICT OF COLUMBIA 
CHABLBS C. DIOOa, Jb., Michigan, Chairman 



DONALD M. FRASER, Minnesota 
W. a. (BILL) 8TCCKEY, In., Oeorgla 
RONALD V. DELLCMS, CallfoTDia 
THOMAS M. REES, CallfarDla 
WALTER E. FAUNTROY, DeleEite, 

District ot Columbia 
JAMBS E. MANN. South Carolina 
ROMANO L. MAZZOLI, Kentucky 
HRRBERT E. HARRIS II, Virginia 
DAN DAXIEL, Virginia 
HELEN S. METNER, New Jersey 
HENRX J. NOWAE, New York 
PHILIP R. SHARP, Indiana 



GILBERT QDDE, Maryland 
WILLIAM H. HARSHA. Oblo 
STEWART B. McKINNEY. Connecticut 
EDWARD O. BIESTER, Jft., PcnaaylTanl 
TOM RAILSBACK. Illinois 
ROBERT W. DANIEL, Jb.. Virginia 
CHARLES W. WHALEN, JR., Oblo 



Bdwibd C. Silvesibb, Jr., Staff Director 
RoHi O. Mabxin, Oeneral Oomuet 
Mabk Mathis, iHttortta Oovntel 



jAMia T, Clibk, Ltgiilative Ooantel 
OiltB MlcIVEH, staff CouniEt 
Daniel M. Fbieuan, StaW Counsel 
DOBOTHT Anoebbon. Staff Atiittant 
Edwahd L, Cleveland, Blaff Attittant 
DOHOVAN Qay. Staff Attittant 
DiEiVA Obbald. Staff Aartitant 
Kbbbt O. Holuan. Staff Aiiiitant 
WiLBUB O. HroHia, Jr., Staff Aiilttant 
BARBtHA Jacrhom, Staff Anittant 
QWKNDOLiN KIUBHODOH, Staff Assistant 
Haboi Uosbaxe, rStalT Assistant 
Nelson F, Rtuehsnydeb, StaU AsiiSIonl 
Inez Sodntbeb, Staff Assistant 
Jacqueline E. Wells, Staff Assistant 
Joan Willodobbi, StafT Assistant 



JAUEB M. ChbihtIaN, Deputy Minority Countel 
WILLIAM Chandlbb, Legltlatlve Staff Aisiilant 
David C. Patch, Legiilalive Staff Atfiilant 
Cabol B. Thomfbdn. Legiilative Staff Assistant 



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CONTENTS 



H, Con. Res. 694, 2d Sess. (by Mr. Eon Paul), to disapprove the District of 

Columbia Firearms Control Regulations Act which was adopted by the *■»<• 

District of Columbia Council. 1 

H. Con. Bes. 716 (by Mr. Ron Paul) , (identical to H. Con. Bee. 691) 1 

H. Con. Res. 763 (by Mr. Paul et al.) on September 21, 1976 1 

H. Res. 1447 (by Mr. Paul) on July 26. 1976 120 

H. Res. 1474 (by Mr. Aahbrook) on August 10, 19T6___ _ 120 

H. Res. 1481 (by Mr. Paul et al.) on August 10, 1976 120 

H. Res. 1560 (by Mr. Paul et al.) on September 21, 1976 119 

FirearmB Control Regulations Act of 1975 (Council Act No. 1-142) and 

Report of the Council of the District of Columbia 1-66 

STATEMENTS 

Asbbrook, Hon. John M., a Representative In Congress from the State of 

Ohio 100 

Fauntroy, Hon. Walter E __ 68 

Qude, Hon. Gilbert 67 

McKlnney, Hon. Stewart B 69 

Paul, Hon. Ron Paul, a Representative In Congress from the State of 
Texas, accompanied by Rufus Peckham, a citizen of the District of 

Columbia 70, 97 

RIsber, John R., Jr., Corporation Counsel, District of Columbia 102, 107 

MATERIAL SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD 

Kates, Don B., Jr., article entitled, "Why a Civil Libertarian Opposes Gun 

Control" 93 

Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service, American Law 
Division, Charles Doyle. Legislative Attorney, opinion re validity of 

Council's Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 (Act No. 1-142) 89-93 

Melcber, Hon. John, a Representative in Congress from the State of Mon- 
tana, statement 69 

Risher, John R., Jr., Corporation Counsel (for Mayor Walter E. Wash- 
ington), letter dated June 29, 1976. to Cbairman Di^s 106 

Washington Hon. Walter E., Mayor, District of Columbia, statement 105 

SUMMARY OF TESTIMONY 

atizen's rights 79 

Council act invalid 77 

Council Act No. 1-142 100 

Corporation Counsel's opinion 108 

Council prohibition In Home Rule Act 107 

Effect of legislation 80 

Experiences in other countries 72 

Firearms regulations 109 

History of police regulations 108 

Home Rule Act prohibition 100,111,112 

H.R. 12261 101 

Library of Congress opinion 72.78,101,116 

OKioses gun control act 70 

Penalty provisions HI 

Procedure question 79 

Regulation or sUtute 112, 113 

Reservations of congressional authority 115 

Review of Council acts 114 

APPENDIX 

Chronology 119 

Additional disapproval resolntlona 120 



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FIREARMS CONTROL REGULATIONS ACT OF 1975 



TUESDAY, AUanST 25, 1876 

House or Representatives, 
Committee on the District of Columbia, 

Washington, D.C. 

The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10 :10 a.m., in room 1310 
Longworth House Office Building, Hon, Charles C. Diggs, Jr. (chair- 
man of the committee) _presiding. 

Present : Representative Diggs, Delegate Fauntroy, and Representa- 
tives Mann, Harris, Gude, McKinney, Blester, and Whalen. 

Also present: Edward C. Sylvester, Jr., staff director; Ruby G. 
Martin, general counsel; James T. Clark, legislative counsel; Mark 
Mathis, minority counsel; and James Christian, deputy minority 
counsel. 

The Chairman. The meeting will come to order. The pending busi- 
ness before the committee this morning is House Concurrent Resolu- 
tion 694, a resolution of disapproval introduced on July 30, 1976, by 
the gentleman from Texas, Congressman Ron Paul, to disapprove the 
District of Columbia Firearms Control Regulations Act which was 
adopted in the D.C. Council on the 29th of January 1976, signed by the 
Mayor on the 23d of July, and transmitted to the Speaker on the 26th 
of July. 

[The documents referred to follow :] 

(H. Can. Res. «S1, 84tb Cong.. 2d BesB., Introduced b; Mr. Paul on July 30, ISTS] 

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 

Resolved t>y the House of Repretentativei (the Senate concurring). That the 
Congress disapproves of the action of the District of Columbia Council described 
as follows: The Firearms Control R^nlations Act of 1&T5 (Act 1-142) passed 
by the Council of tbe District of Columttla on June 29, 1976, signed by the Mayor 
of the District of Columbia on July 23. 19T6. and transmitted to the Congress on 
July 2T. Id76, pursuant to section 602(c) of the District of Columbia Self- 
Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 



[H. Con. Res. 716, identical to H. Con. Res. 694, was introduced by Mr. Panl 
(for himself, Mr. Kindness, Mr. Hall of Texas, Mr. Symms, Mr. Collins of 
Texas, Mr, Ashbrook, Mr. Ketcbum, Mr. Melcher, and Mr, Rousselot), on 
August 23, 1976] 

FH, Con. Res. 763, Identical to H. Con. Res, 694, was introduced by Mr. Paul (for 
himself. Mr. Kindness, Mr. Hall of Tesas, Mr. Symms, Mr. Collins of Texas, 
Mr. Ashbrook. Mr. Ketcbum. Mr. Melcher, Mr. Rousellot, Mr. Kelly, Mr. 
Hughes, and Mr. Lott), on September 21. 1976] 



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2 
[COHHITTEE PBIBT] 



FIREAEMS CONTROL REGULATIONS 

ACT OF 1975 

(Council Act No. 1-142) 

AND 

REPORT OP THE 
COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT 
■ OP COLUMBIA 

AS REFEiUt£D TO TH£ 

COMMITTEE ON THE DISTRICT 

OP COLUMBIA 

HOUSE OP REPRESENTATIVES 

NINETT-FOUETH CONGEESS 

SECOND SESSION 



w 



JULY 26, 19T« 



Serial No. S-11 

Printed tor the use of tbe Committee on the Dliitrlct of Colambla 



V.B. OOVERNKENT PBINTING OFFICE 
WASHINGTON : ISTt 



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CONTENTS 



Letter of IVansmtttal 

Record of Council vote 

Council Act 1-U2 , 

Coimcil report 

House District Committee staff summu?-. 
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4 
LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL 



Council op the District of Columbia, 

Washington, D.C., July 26, 1976: 
Hon. Carl Albert, 
Speaker of the House, 
U.S. House of Representatwes, 
Washington, D.C. 

Dear Mr. Speaker: I have the honor to transmit to you, in accord- 
ance with section 602(c) of the D.C. Self- Government and Govern- 
mental Reorganization Act, Public Ijaw 93-198, a copy of an act 
adopted by tne Council on June 29, 1976, and signed by the Mayor 
July 23, 1976. Act 1-142 would protect the citizens of the District from 
loss of property, death, and injury, by controlling the availability of 
firearms in the community. 

Attached to the act is a docket for si^ature of the Clerk of the 
House by the expiration of the 30-day review period. In the event dur- 
ing this period the House adopts a resolution disapproving such act, 
please so advise the Council on the docket sheet, noting the resolution 
number and signature of the House Clerk. 

To begin the count of the 30-day review by Congress, it would be 
appreciated if your ofHce would acknowledge receipt of this document 
on the tissue copy attached. 
Sincerely yours, 

Sterling Tucker, 

Chairman. 

Enclosures. 



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AN ACT 1-142 In the Council of the District of Columbia. July 23, 1976 To 
protect tbe Citizens of the District from iosa of property, death, and injuiy, 
bj controlling the availability of firearms In the community 

Be it enacted by the C&uricil of the District of Columbia, That this 
act may be cited as the "Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975." 

Sec. 2. Findings and purpose. 

The Council of the District of CoJumbia finds that in order to 
promote the health, safety and welfare of the people of the District 
of Columbia it is necessary to: 

(1) Req^uire the registration of all firearms that are owned by 
private citizens: 

(2) Limit the types of weapons persona may lawfully possess; 

(3) Assure that only qualified persons are allowed to possess firearms ; 

(4) Regulate deadly weapons dealers ; and 

(5) Make it more difficult for firearms, destructive devices, and 
ammunition to move in illicit commerce witJiin the District of 
Columbia. 

TITLE I — DEFINITIONS 

Sec. 101. As used in this act the term — 

(1) "Acta of Congress" means (A) an Act to control the possession, 
sale, transfer, and uae ofpistols and other dangerous weapons, in the 
District of Columbia (Dangerous Weapons Act), as amended, ap- 
proved July 8, 1932 (D.C. Code, sec. 22-3201, et seq.); (B) Omnibus 
Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, as amended (Title VII, 
Unlawful Posaeasion or Receipt of Firearms (82 Stat. 236; ISU. S.C. 
Appendix)); and (C) an Act to Amend Title 18, United States Code, 
to Provide for Better Control of the Interstate Traffic in firearms 
Actotl968(S2Stat. 12]3;18U.S.C.921,etseq.). 

(2) "Ammunition" means cartridge cases, shells, projectiles (in- 
cluding shot), primers, bullets, propellant powder, or other device? or 
materials designed, redesigned, or intended for u^e in a firearm or 
deatructive device. 

(3) "Antiquefireaim" means — 

(A) any firearm (including any firearm with a matchlock, 
flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system) 
manufactured in or before 1898; and 

(B) any replica of any firearm described in subparagraph (1) 
if such replica — 

(i) is not designed or resdesigned for using rimfire or 
conventional centerfire fixed ammunition, or 

(ii) uses rimfire or conventional ammunition which is no 
longer manufactured in the United States and which is not 
readily available in the ordinarj' channels of commercial 
trade. 

(5) 



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(4) "Chief" means the Chief of Police of the Metropolitan Police 
Department of the District of Columbia or his designated agent. 

(5) "Crime of Violence" means a crime of violence as defined in 
section 1 of the Act of July 8, 1932, as amended (D.C. Code, sec, 
22-3201), committeed in any jurisdiction, but does not inchide 
larceny or attempted larceny. 

(6) "Dealer's license" means a license to buy or sell, repair, trade, 
or otherwise deal in firearms, destructive devices, or ammunition as 
provided for in Title TV of this Act. 

(7) "Destructive device" means — 

(A) an explosive, incendiary, or poison gas bomb, grenade, 
rocket, misUe, mine, or similnr device; 

(B) any device by whatever name known which will, or is 
designed or redesigned, or may be readily converted or restored 
to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other pro- 
pellant through a smooth bore barrel, except a i-hotgun. 

(C) any device containing tear gas or a chemically similar 
lacrimator or stemutator by whatever name known; 

(D) any device designed or redesigned, made or remade, or 
readily converted or restored, and intended to stun or disable a 
person by means of electric shock; 

(E) any combination of parts designed or intended for use in 
converting any device into any destructive device; or from which 
a destructive device may be readily assembled: Provided, That 
the term shall not inclucfe — 

(i) any pneumatic, spring, or B-B gun which expels a single 
projectile not exceeding .18 inch in diameter; 

(ii) any device whidi is neither designed nor redesigned 
for use as a weapon; 

(iii) any de\ice originally a weapon which has been re- 
designed for use as a signaling, line throwing, or safety 
device; or, 

(iv) any device which the Chief finds is not likely to be 
used as a weapon. 

(8) "District" means District of Columbia. 

(9) "Firearm" means any weapon which will, or is designed or re- 
designed, made or remade, readily converted or restored, and in- 
tended to, expel a projectile or projectiles by the action of an ex- 
plosive; the frame or receiver of any such device; or any firearm 
muffler or silencer: Provided, That such term shall not include — 

(A) antique firearms: and/or 

(B) destructive devices; 

(C) any device used exclusively for line throwing, signaling, or 
safety, and required or recommended by the Coast Guard or 
Interstate Commerce Commission; or 

(D) any device used exclusively for firing explosive rivets, stiui 
cartridges, or similar industrial ammunition and incapable for 
use as a weapon. 

(10) "Machine gun" means any firearm which shoots, is designed to 
shoot, or can be readilv converted or restored to shoot: 

(A) automatically, more than one shot by a single function of 
the tri^er; 



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(B) seminutomaticallj', more than twelve shots without manual 
reloading. 

(11) "Organization" mean^ any partnership, company, corporation, 
or other business entity, or any group or association of two or more 
persons united for a common purpose. 

(12) "Pisto!" means any firearm originally designed to be fired by 
use of a single hand. 

(13) "Registration certificate" means a certificate validly issued 
pursuant to this act evincing the registration of a firearm pursuant 
to this act. 

(14) "Rifle" means a grooved bore firearm using a fixed metallic 
cartridge with a single projectile and designed or redesigned, made or 
remade, and intended to be fired from the siioulder, 

(15) "Sawed-off shotgun" means a shotgun having a barrel of less 
than 18 inches in length; or a firearm made from a shotgtm if such 
firearm as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or 
any barrel of less than 18 inches in length. 

(16) "Shotgun" means a smooth bore firearm using a fixed shotgun 
shell with either a number of ball shot or a single projectile, and 
designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired 
from the shoulder. 

(17) "Short barreled rifle" means a rifle having any barrel less 
than 16 inches in length, or a firearm made from a rifie if such firearm 
as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or any barrel 
of less than 16 inches. 

(18) "Weapons offense" means any violation in any jurisdiction of 
any law which involves the sale, purchase, transfer in any manner, 
receipt, acquisition, possession, having under control, use, repair, 
manufacturer, canying, or transportation of any firearm, ammunition, 
or destructive device. 

TITLE n — FIREARMS AND DESTRUCTIVE DEVICES 

Sec. 201. Registration Required, (a) Except as otherwise provided 
in this act, no ])erson or organization shall within the District receive, 
possess, have under his control, transfer, offer for sale, sell, give, or 
deliver any destructive device, and no person or organization shall, 
within the District possess or have under his or its control any firearm, 
unless such person or oi^anization is the holder of a valid registration 
certificate for such fireaim. In the case of an organization, a registra- 
tration certificate shall be issued (1) only to an organization which 
has in its employ one or more commissioned special police officers or 
other employees licensed to carry firearms, and which arms sucli 
employees witli firearms during such employees duty hours and (2) 
only to such organization in its own name and in the name of its 
president or the chief executive. 

(b) Subsection (a) shall not applv to — 

(1) Any law enforcement officer or agent of the District or the 
United States, or any law enforcement officer or agent of the 
government of any State or subdivision thereof, or any member 
of the Armed Forces of the United States, the National Guard 
or Organized Reserves, when such officer, agent,{or member is 



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authorized to possess such a firearm or device while on duty in the 
performance of official authorized functions. 

(2) Any person holding a dealer's license: Provided, That the 
firearm or destructive device is — 

(A) acquired by such person in the normal conduct of 



(B) is kept at the place described in the dealer's license; 
and 

(C) is not kept for such person's private use or protection, 
or for the protection of his business, 

(3) With respect to firearms, any non-resident of the District 
participating in any lawful recreational firearm-related activity 
m the District, or on his way to or from such activity in another 
jurisdiction: Provided, That such person, wiieuever in possession 
of a firearm, shall upon demand of any member of the Metr^oli- 
tan Police Department, or other bona fide law enforcement officer, 
exhibit proof that he is on his way to or from such activity, and 
that his possession or control of such firearm is lawful in the 
jurisdiction in which he resides: Provided further, that such 
weapon shall be unloaded, securely wrapped, and carried in open 
view. 
Sec. 202. Unregisterable Firearms. No r^istration certificate shall 
be issued for any of the following types of fireanns: 

(a) Sawed-off shotgun; 

(b) Machine gun; 

(c) Short^barreled rifle; 

(d) Pistol not validly registered to the current registrant in the 
District prior to the effective date of this act; and 

(e) Pistol not possessed by the current registrant in conformity with 
the regulations in effect immediately prior to the effective date of this 
act. 

Sec. 203. Prerequisites to registration; application for registration. 

(a) No registration certificate shall be issued to any person (and 
in the case of a person between the ages of 18 and 21, to the person 
and his signatory parent or guardian) or organization unless the Chief 
determines that such person (or the president or chief executive in the 
case of an organization) : 

(1) is twenty-one years of age or older: Provided, That the Chief 
may issue to an applicant between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one 
years old, and who is otherwise qualified, a registration certificate if 
the application is accompanied by a notarized statement of the 
applicant's parent or guardian — 

(A) that the applicant has the permission of his parent or 
guardian to own and use the firearm to be registered ; and 

(B) the parent or guardian assumes civil liability for all damages 
resulting from the actions of such applicant in the use of the 
firearm to be registered : Provided further, that such registration 
certificate shall expire on such person's twenty-first birthday; 

(2) Has not been convicted of a crime of violence, weapons offense, 
or of a violation of this act; 

(3) Is not under indictment for a crime of violence or a weapons 
offense ; 



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(4) Has not been convicted within five years prior to the application 
of any — 

(A) violation in any jurisdiction of any law restricting the use, 
possession, or sale of anv narcotic or dangerous drug; or 

(B) a violation ot section 2 of the Act of July 16, 1912 (D.C. 
Code, sec. 22-507 (197^)), regarding threats to do bodily harm, 
or section S06 of the Act of March 3, 1901 (D.C. Code, sec. 
22-504 (1973)), regarding assaults and threats, or any similar 

F>rovision of the law of any other jurisdiction so as to indicate a 
ikelihood to make unlawful use of a firearm; 

(5) Within the five year period immediately preceding the applica- 
tion, has not been acquitted of any criminal chaise oy reason of 
insanity or has not been adjudicated a chronic alcoholic by any court, 
Provided, That this paragraph shall not apply if such person shall 
present to the Chief with the application, a medical certification 
indicating that the applicant has recovered from such insanity or 
alcoholic condition and is capable of safe and responsible possession of a 
firearm; 

(6) Within the five years immediately preceding the application, 
has not been voluntaiy or involuntary committed to any mental 
hospital or institution; Provided, That this paragraph shall not apply, 
if such person shall present to the Chief with the applicant a medical 
certification that the apphcant has recovered from whatever malady 
prompted such commitment; 

(7) Does not appear to sufler from a physical defect which would 
tend to indicate that the applicant would not be able to possess and 
use a firearm safelj- and responsibly; 

(8) Has not been adjudicated negligent in a firearm mishap causing 
death or serious injury to another numan being; 

(9) Is not otherwise ineligible to possess a pistol under section 3 of 
the Act of July 8, 1932 (D.C. Code, sec. 22-3203); 

(10) Has not failed to demonstrate satisfactorily a knowledge of the 
laws of the District of Columbia pertaining to firearms and the safe 
and responsible use of the same in accordance with tests and standards 
prescribed by the Chief; Provided, That once this determination is 
made with respect to a given apphcant for a particular type of firearm, 
it need not be made again for the same applicant witn respect to a 
subsequent application for the same type of firearm; and 

(11) Has vision better than or equal to that required to obtain a 
valid driver's license under the laws of the District of Columbia; 
Provided, That current licensure by the District of Columbia, of the 
applicant to drive, shall be prima facie evidence that such applicant's 
vision is sufficient and, Provided further, that this determination need 
not be made more than once per year per applicant. 

(b) Every person applying for a registration certificate shall provide 
on a form prescribed by the Chief : 

(1) The full name or any other name by which the applicant is 
known, 

(2) The present address and each home address where the applicant 
has resided during the five year period immediately preceding the 
application. 



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(3) The present busmcMs or occupation and any business or occupa- 
tion in which the applicant has engaged during the five-year penod 
immediately precedmg the apphcation and the addresses of such 
busines-?es or places of employment. 

(4) The date and place of birth of the applicant. 

(5) The Hex of the appHcant. 

(6) Whether (and if so, the reasons) the District, the United States 
or the government of any State or subdivision of any State has denied 
or revoked the appHcant's license, registration certificate, or permit 
pertaining to any firearm. 

(7) A description of the applicant's role in any mishap involving 
a firearm, including the date, place, time, circumstances, and the 
names of the person injured or killed. 

(8) The int«nded use of the firearm. 

(9) The caliber, make, model, manufacturer's identification number, 
serial number, and any other identifying marks on the firearm. 

(10) The name and address of the person or organization from whom 
the firearm was obtained, and in tne case of a dealer, his dealer's 
license number. 

(11) Where the firearm will generally be kept. 

(12) Whether the applicant has applied for any other registration 
certificates issued and outstandii^. 

(13) Such other information as the Chief determines is necessary 
to carry out the provisions of this act. 

(c) Every organization applying for a registration certificate shall — 

(1) with respect to the president or chief executive of such 
organization, comply with the requirements of subsection (b) ; 
and 

(2) provide such other information as the Chief determines is 
necessary to carry out the provisions of this act. 

Sec. 204. Fingerprinting, pictures, personal appearances. 

(a) The Chief may require any person applying for a r^istration 
certificate to be fingerprinted if, m nis judgment, this is necessary to 
conduct an efficient and adequate investigation into the matters 
described in section 203(a) and to effectuate the purpose of this act: 
Provided, That any person who has been fingerprinted by the Chief 
within five years prior to submitting the apphcation need not, in the 
Chief's discretion, be fingerprinted ^ain if he offers other satisfactory 
proof of identity. 

(b) Each applicant, other than an organization, shall submit with 
the application two full-face photographs of himself , 1^ by 1 J^-inches 
in size which shall have been taken within the thirty-day period 
immediately preceding the filing of the application. 

(c) Every applicant (or in the case of an organization, the president 
or chief executive, or a person authorized in writii^ by him), shall 
appear in person at a time and place prescribed by the Chief, and may 
be required to bring with him the firearm for which a reigistration 
certificate is sought, which shall be unloaded and securely wrapped, 
and carried in open view. 

Sbc. 205. ApiMication under oath; fees. 

(a) Each applicant (the president or chief executive in the case of 
an organization) shall sign an oath or afiSrmation attesting to the 
truth of all the information required by section 203. 

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(b) Each application required by this title shall be accompanied 
by a non-refundable fco to be established by the Mayor; Provided, 
That such fee shall, in the judgment of the Mayor, reimburse the 
District for the cost of services provided under this title. 

Sec. 206. Filing times for new purchase and firearms entering the 
District; previously registered firearms. 

(a) An application for a registration certificate shall be filed (and 
a registration certificate issued) prior to taking possession of a firearm 
from a licensed dealer or from any person or organization holding a 
registration certificate therefor. In all other cases, an application for 
registration shall be filed immediately after a firearm is brougtit into 
the District. It shall be deemed compUance with the preceding sentence 
if such person personally communicates with the Nletropolitan Police 
Department {as determined by the Chief to be sufficient) and provides 
such information as may be demanded : Provided, That such person 
files an application for a registration certificate within 48 hours after 
such communication. 

(b) Any firearm validly registered under prior regulations must be 
registered pursuant to this act in accordance with procedures to be 
promulgated by the Cliief. An application to register such firearm shall 
be filed pursuant to this act within 60 days of the effective date of 
this act. 

Sec. 207. Issuance of registration certificate. 

(a) upon receipt of a properly executed application for a registration 
certificate, the Chief, upon determining through inquiry, investigation, 
or otherwise, that the applicant is entitled and qualified under the 
provisions of this act, thereto, shall issue a registration certificate. 
Each registration certificate shall be in duplicate and bear a unique 
registration certificate number and such other information as the 
Chief determines is necessary to identify the applicant and the firearm 
registered. The duplicate of the registration certificate shall be delivered 
to the applicant and the Chief shall retain the original. 

(b) The Chief shall approve or deny an application for a registration 
certificate within a 60 day period beginnmg on the date the Chief 
receives the application, unless good cause is shown, including non- 
receipt of information from sources outside the District government; 
Provided, That in the case of an application to register a firearm 
validly registered under prior regulations, the Chief shall have 365 
days after the receipt of such application to approve or deny such 
application. The Chief may hold in abeyance an application where 
there is a revocation proceeding pending against such person or 
organization. 

(c) Upon receipt of a registration certificate, each applicant shall 
examine same to ensure that the information thereon is correct. If 
the registration certificate Ls incorrect in any respect, the person or 
oi^anization names thereon shall return it to the Chief with a signed 
statement showing the nature of the error. The Chief shall correct the 
error, if it occurred through administrative error. In the event the 
error resulted from iufonnation contained in the application, the 
applicant shall be required to file an amended application setting forth 
the correct information, and a statement explaming the error in the 
original appUcation. Each amended application shall be accompanied 
by a fee equal to that required for the original application. 

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(d) In the event the Chief learns of an error in a registration certifi- 
cate other than as provided tn subsection (c), he may require the holder 
to return the refristration certificate for con-ection. If the error re- 
sulted from information contained in the application, the person or 
oi^anization named therein shall be required to file an amended 
application as provided in subsection (c). 

(e) Each registration certificate issued by the Chief shall be ac- 
companied by a statement setting forth the registrant's duties nnder 
this act. 

Sec. 208- Additional Duties of Registrants. 

Each person and organization holding a registration certificate, in 
addition to any other requirements imposed by this act, or the Acts of 
of Congress, shall: 

(a) notify the Chief in writing of : 

(!) the loss, theft, or destruction of the registration certificate or of 
a registered firearm (including the circumstances, if known) immedi- 
ately upon discover}" of such loss, theft, or destruction ; 

(2) a change in any of the information appearing on the registration 
certificate or requiied by section 203 of this act ; 

(3) the sale, transfer or other disposition of the firearm not less than 
forty-eight hours prior to delivery, pursuant to such sale, transfer or 
other dispostion, including — 

(A) identification of the registrant, the firearm and the serial 
number of the registration certificate ; 

(B) the name, residence, and business address and date of 
birth of the pei'son to whom the firearm has been sold or trans- 
ferred; and 

(C) whether the fireann was sold or how it was otherwise trans- 
foired or disposed of. 

(b) Return to the Chief, the registration certificate for any firearm 
which is lost, stoen, destroyed, or othenvise transferred or disposed of, 
at the time he notified the Chief of such loss, theft, destruction, sale, 
transfer, or other disposition. 

(c) Have in his possession, whenever in possession of a firearm, the 
registration certificate for such firearm, and exhibit the same upon the 
demand of a member of the Metropolitan Police Department, or other 
law enforcement officer. 

Sec. 209. Revocation. 

A registration certificate shall be revoked if — 

(1) any of the criteria in section 203 of this act are not currently 
met: 

(2) the registered firearm has become an unregisterable fireann 
under the terms of section 202 of this act, or a destructive device ; 

(3) the information furnished to the Chief on the application 
for a registration certificate proves to be intentionally false ; or 

(4) there is a violation ov omission of the duties, obligations or 
requirements imposed by section 208 of this act. 

Sec. 210. Procedures for denial or revocation. 

(a) If it appears to the Chief that an application for a registration 
certificate should be denied or that a re^stration certificate should be 
revoked, the Chief shall notify the applicant or registrant of the pro- 
posed denial or revocation, briefly stating the reason or reasons there- 
for. Service may be made by delivering a copy of the notice to the 

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applicant or registrant personally, or by leaving a copy thereof at the 
place of residence identified on the apphcation or registration with 
some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein, or by 
mailing a copy of the notice by certified mail to the residence address 
identified on the application or certificate, in which case service shall 
be complete as of the date the return receipt was signed. In the case of 
an oi^anization, service may be made upon the president, chief execu- 
tive, or other officer, managing agent or person authorized by appoint- 
ment or law to receive such notice as dascribed in the preceding sen- 
tence at the business address of the oi^anization identified in the 
application or registration certificate. The pei-son serving the notice 
shall make proof thereof with the Chief in a manner prescribed by him. 
In the case of service by certified mail, the signed return receipt shall 
be filed with the Chief together with a signed statement showing the 
date such notice was mailed; and if the return receipt does not purport 
to be si^ed by the person named in the notice, then specific facts 
from which the Chief con determine that the pei-son who signed the 
receipt meets the appropriate qualifications for receipt of such notice 
set out in this subsection. The applicant or registrant shall have 15 
days from the date the notice is served in which to submit further 
evidence in support of the application or qualifications to continue to 
hold a registration certificate, as the case may be: Provided, that if the 
applicant does not make such a submission within fifteen days from 
the date of service, the applicant or registrant shall be deemed to have 
conceded the validity of trie reason or reasons stated in the notice, and 
the denial or revocation shall become final. 

(b) Within ten days of the date upon which the Chief receives such a 
submission, he shall serve upon the applicant or registiant in the 
manner specified in subsection (a) notice of his final decision. The 
Chief's decision shall become effective at the expiration of the time 
within which to file a notice of appeal pursuant to the District of 
Columbia Administrative Procedure Act (D.C. Code, sec. 1-1501, 
et. seq.) or, if such a notice of appeal is filed, at the time the final 
order or judgment of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals 
becomes effective. 

(c) Within seven days of a decision unfavorable to the applicant or 
registrant becoming final, the applicants or registrant shall (1) peace- 
ably surrender to the Chief the firearm for which the registration 
ceitificate was revoked in the manner provided in section 704, or (2) 
lawfully remove such firearm from the District for so long as he has an 
interest in such firearm, or, Qi) otherwise lawfully dispose of his interest 
in such firearm. 

Sec, 211. Certain information not to be used as evidence 
No information obtained from a person under this title or retained 
by a person in order to comply with any section of this title, shall 
be used as evidence against such person in any criminal proceeding 
with respect to a violation of this act, occurring prior to or con- 
currentlv with the fifing of the information required by this title: 
Provided, That this section shall not apply to any violation of section 
85S of the Act of March 3, 1901 (D.C. Code, sec. 22.2501) or section 
703 of this act. 

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TITLE III-— ESTATES CONTAINING FIREARMS 

Sec. 301. Rights and responsibilities of executors and admin- 
istrators. 

(a) The executor or administrator of an estate containing a firearm 
shall notify the Chief of the death of the decedent within thirty days 
of his appointment or qualification, whichever is earlier. 

(b) Until the lawful disti-ibution of such firearm to an heir or legatee 
or the lawful sale, transfer, or disposition of the fiieai-m by the estate; 
the executor or administrator of such estate shall be charged with the 
duties and obligations which would have been imposed by this act 
Upon the decedent, if the decedent were still alive: Provided, That 
such executor or administrator shall not be liable to the criminal 
penalties of section 705. 

TITLE IV LICENSING OF FIREARMS BUSINESSES 

Sec. 401. — Prohibitions, exceptions. 

(a) No person or organization shall manufacture any firearm, 
destructive device or parts thereof, or ammunition, within the Dis- 
trict; Provided, That persons holding registration certificates may 
engage in hand loading, reloading, or custom loading ammunition for 
his registered firearms: Provided Jurtker, that such persons may not 
hand Toad, reload, or custom load ammunition for others. 

(b) No person or oiganization shall engage in the business of selling, 
purchasing, or repairing any firearm, destructive device, parts therefor, 
or ammunition, without first obtaining a dealer's license, and no 
licensee shall engage in the business of selling, purchasing, or repairing 
firearms which are unregisterable under section 202 of this act, 
destructive devices, or parts therefor, except pursuant to a valid 
work or purchase order, for those persons specified in section 201 (b) (1) 
of this act. 

Sec. 402. Eligibility for dealer's license; application for same; fee. 

(a) Any person eligible to register a fireann under this act, and 
who, if a registrant, has not previously failed to perform any of the 
duties imposed by this act; and, any person eligible under the Acts of 
Congress to engage in such business, may obtain a dealer's license, or 
a renewal thereof, which shall be valid for a period of not more than 
one year from the date of issuance. The license required by tliis act, 
shall be in addition to any cither license or licensing procedure re- 
quired by law. 

(b) Each application for a dealer's license and each application 
for renewal thereof shall be made on a form prescribed by the Chief, 
shall be sworn to or affirmed by the applicant, and shall contain — 

(1) the infonnation required by section 203(a); 

(2) the address where the applicant conducts or intends to 
conduct his business; 

(ii) whether the applicant, prior to the effective date of this act, 
held a license to deal in deadly weapons in the District; and 

(4) such other information as the Chief may require, including 
fingerprints and photographs of the applicant, to carry out the 
purposes of this act. 

(c) Each application for a dealer's license, or renewal shall be 
accompanied by a fee established by the Mayor; Provided, That such 

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fee shall in the judgment of the Mayor, reimburse the District for 
the cost of services provided under this title. 

Sec. 403. Issuance of a dealer's license, procedure. 

(a) Upon receipt of a properly executed application for a dealer's 
license, or renewal thereof, the Chief, upon determining through 
further inquiry, investigation, or otherwise, that the applicant is 
entitled and qualified under the provisions of this act thereto, shall 
issue a dealer's license. Each dealer's license shall be in duplicate and 
bear a unique dealer's license number, and such other infoiTnation 
as the Chief determines is neccssarj- to identify the applicant and 
premises. The duplicate of the dealer's license shall be delivered to 
the applicant and the Chief shall retain the original. 

(b) The Chief shall approve or deny an application for a registration 
certificate within a 60-aay period beginning on the date the Chief 
receives the application, unless good cause is shown, including non- 
receipt of information from sources outside the District Government. 
The Chief may hold in abeyance an application where there is any 
firearms revocation proceeding pending against such person, 

(c) Upon receipt of a dealer's license each applicant shall examine 
the same to ensure that the information thereon is correct. If the 
dealer's license is incorrect in any respect, the person named thereon 
shall return the same to the Chief with a signed statement showing 
the nature of the error. The Chief shall correct the error, if it occurred 
through administrative error. In the event the error resulted from 
information contained in the application, the applicant shall be re- 
iluirL'd to Ci[e an amended application explaining the eiTor in the 
original application. Each amended application sliall be accompanied 
by a fee equal to that required for the original application. 

(d) In the event the Chief learns of an error in a dealer's license, 
other than as provided in subsection (c), he may requiie the holder to 
return the dealer's license for correction. If the error resulted from 
information contained in the application, the person named therein 
shall be requu-ed to file an amended application as provided in sub- 
section (c). 

(e) Each dealer's license issued by the Chief shall be accompanied 
by a statement setting forth a dealer's duties under this act. 

Sec. 404. Duties of licensed dealers; records, reports. 

(a) Each person holding a dealer's license, in addition to any other 
requirements imposed by this act, the Acts of Congress, and other 
law, shall — 

(1) display the dealer's license in a conspicuous place on the 
premises ; 

(2) notify the Chief in writing — 

(A) of the loss, theft, or destruction of the dealer's license 
{including the circumstances, if known) immediately upon 
the discovery of such loss, theft, or destruction; 

(B) of a change in any of the infurmatioa appearing on the 
dealer' .s license or required by section 402 of this act imme- 
diately upon the occurrence of any .such change: 

(3) keep at the premises identified in the dealer's license a true 
and current record in book form of — 

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(A) the name, address, home phone, and date of birth of 
each employee handling firearms, ammunition, or destructive 
devices; 

(B) each firearm or destnictivt* device received into invea- 
tory or for repair including tiie — 

(i) serial number, caliber, make, model, manufacturer's 
number {if any), dealer's idontificntion number (if any), 
registration certificate number (if any) of the firearm, 
and similar descriptive information for destructive 
devices; 

(ii) name, address, and dealer's license number (if any) 
of the person or oi^anization from whom the firearm or 
destructive device was purchased or otherwise received; 

(iii) consideration given for the firearm or destructive 
device, if any; 

(iv) date and time received bv the licensee and in the 
case of repair, returned to tne person holding the 
registration certificate; and 

(v) nature of the repairs made. 

(C) each firearm or destructive device sold or transferred 
including the — 

(i) serial number, caliber, make, model, manufac- 
turer's number or dealer's identification number, and 
registration certificate number (if any) of the firearm 
or similar information for destructive devices; 
(ii) name, address, registration certificate number or 
license number (if any) of the person or organization to 
whom transferred; 

(iii) the consideration for transfer; and, 
(iv) time and date of delivery of the firearm or 
destructive device to the transferee: 

(D) ammunition received into inventory including the — 
(i) brand and number of rounds of each caliber or gauge; 
(ii) name, address, and dealer's license or registration 

number (if any) of the person or organization from whom 
received ; 

(iii) consideration given for the ammunition; and 

(iv) date and time of the receipt of the ammunition; 
(E) ammunition sold or transferred including — 

(i) brand and number of rounds of each caliber or gauge; 

(ii) name, address and dealer's license number (if any) of 
the person or organization to whom sold or transferred; 

(iii) if the purchaser or transferee is not a licensee, the 
registration certificate number of the firearm for which the 
ammunition was sold or transferred; 

(iv) the consideration for the sale and transfer; and 

(v) the date and time of sale or transfer; 

(b) The records required by subsection (a) shall upon demand be 
exhibited during normal business hours to any member of the Metro- 
politan Police Department. 

(c) Each person holding a dealer's license shall, when required by 
the Chief in writing, submit on a form and for the periods of time 
specified, any record information required to be maintained by sub- 



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section (a), and any other information reasonably obtainable there- 
from. 

Sec. 405. Revocation. 

A dealer's license shall be revoked if — 

(a) any of the criteria in section 404 of this act is not currently 
met, or 

(b) The information furnished to the Chief on the application for a 
dealer's license proves to be intentionally false; or 

(c) there is a violation or omission of the duties, obligations, or 
requirements imposed by section 404 of this act. 

Sec. 406. Procedures for denial and revocation. 

(a) If it appears to the Chief that an application for a dealer's 
license should be denied or that a dealer's license should be revoked, 
the Chief shall notify the applicant or registrant of the proposed 
denial or revocation briefly slating the reason or reasons therefor. 
Service may be made as provided for in section 210(a) of this act. The 
applicant or <!paler shall have fifteen days from the date of service 
in wliich to submit further evidence in support of the application or 
qualifications to continue to hold a dealer's license, as the case may be: 

Provided, That if the applicant or dealer does not make such a sub- 
mission witliin 15 days fiom the date of service, the applicant or dealer 
shall be deemed to have conceded the validity of the reason or reasons 
stated in the notice, and the denial or revocation shall become final. 

(b) Witliin 10 days of the date upon which the Chief receives such 
a submission, the Chief shall serve upon the applicant or registrant 
in the manner provide<l in section 210(a) of this act notice of liis 
final deci:>io:i. The Chief's decision shall become effective at the 
expiration of the time within which to hie a notice of appeal pursuant 
to the Disfciict of Columbia Administrative Procedure Act (D.C. 
Code, sec. 1-1501, et seq.) or, if such a notice of appeal is filed, at the 
time the final order or judgment of the District of Columbia Court 
of Appeals becomes eifective. 

(c) Within 45 days of a decision becoming effective, which is 
unfavorable to a licensee or to an applicant for a dealer's license, the 
licensee or applicant shall — 

(1) if he is eligible to register firearms pursuant to this act, 
register such fireainis in his inventory as are capable of registra- 
tion pursuant to this act; 

(2) peaceably surrender to the Chief any firearms in his inven- 
tory which he does not register, and all destructive devices in his 
inventory in the manner provided for in section 604; 

(3) lawfully remove from the District any firearm in his inven- 
tory which he does not register and all destructive devices and 
ammunition in his inventory for so long as he has an interest in 
them ; oi' 

(4) otherwise lawfully dispose of any firearms in his inventory 
which he does not register and all destructive devices and ammuni- 
tion in his inventory. 

Sec. 407. Displays, employees. 

(a) No licensed dealer shall display anv firearm or ammunition in 
windows visible from a street or sidewa&. All firearms, destructive 
devices, and ammunition shall be kept at all times in a securely locked 



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placp affixed to the premises except wlien being shown to a customer, 
Deing; repaired, or otherwise being worked on. 

(b) No licensee shall knowingiy employ any person in his estabii^h- 
ment if such per?.on would not be eligible to register a firearm under 
this act. 

Sec. 408. Firearm marking'^. 

No licensee shall sell or ofTer for sale any firearm which does not have 
imbedded into the metal portion of such fii-earm a unique manufac- 
turer's identification number or serial number, unless the licen>ee 
shall have imbedded into the metal porfioii of such firearm a unique 
dealer's idenlilicaliou number. 

t^Ec. 409. Ccrtniii inrnrmjilion not to b" used as evidence. 

Nc infonuaUDti obtained from o.- ruUiined by a licouniid dealer to 
comply with this title shall be used as evidence against such licensed 
dealer in any criminal proceeding with respect to a violation of this 
act occurring prior to or concurrently with the filing of such informa- 
tion; Provided, That this section shall not applv to any violation of 
section 858 of the Act of March 3, 1901 (D.C. Code, sec. 22-2601), or 
of section 703 of tliis act. 

TITLE V S.M.B AXD TRANSFER OF riHE.\RMS, DESTRUCTIVE DEVICES, 

AND AMMUNITION 

Sec. 501. Prohibition. 

No person or organization shall sell, transfer or otherwise dispose of 
ony fireann, destruclive device or ammunition in the District except 
as piovided in sections 502 or 604 of this act. 

Sec. 602. Permis-iible sales and transfers. 

(a) Any person or oi^anization eligible to register a firearm may sell 
or otherwise transfer ammunition or any firearm, except those which 
are iinregisterable under section 202 of this act, to a licensed dealer. 

(b) A;iA- licensed dealer may sell or otherwise transfer ammunition 
and any firearm or destructive device which is lawfully a part of such 
licensee's inventory to — 

(!) any nonresident person or business licensed under the Acts 
of Congress and the jurisdiction where such person resides or 
conducts such business; 

(2) any other licensed dealer; 

(3) any law enforcement ofiicer or agent of the District or the 
United States when such officer or ^ent is on duty, and acting 
within the scope of his duties when acquiring such firearm, 
ammunition, or destructive device, if the officer or agent has in 
his possession a statement from the head of his agency stating 
that the item is to be used in such officer's or agent's official duties. 

(c) Any licensed dealer may eel! or otherwise transfer a firearm 
except those which are unregisterable under section 202 of this act, to 
any person or organization possessing a registration certificate for such 
firearm; Provided, That if the Chief denies a registration certificate, 
he shall so advise the licensee who shall thereupon (1) withhold 
delivery until such time as a registration certificate is issued, or, Bt the 
option of the purchaser, (2) declare the contract null and Void, in 
which case consideration paid to the licensee shall be returned to the 
purchaser; Provided further that this subsection shall not apply to 
persons covered by subsection (b). 



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(d) Except as provided in subsections (b) and (f), no licensed dealer 
shall sell or otherwise transfer ammunition unless — 

(1) the sale or transfer is made in person; and 

(2) the purchaser exhibits, at the time of sale or other transfer, 
a valid registration certificate, or, in the case of a nonresident, 
proof that the weapon is lawfully possessed in the jurisdiction 
where such person resides; 

(3) the ammunition to be sold or transferred is of the same 
caliber or giiage as the firearm described in the registration 
certificate, or other proof in the case of nonresident; and 

(4) the purchaser signs a receipt for the ammunition which (in 
addition to the other records required under this act) shall be 
maintained by the licensed dealer for a period of one year from 
the date of sale. 

(e) Any licensed dealer may sell ammunition to any person holding 
an ammimition collector's certificate on the effective date of this act; 
Provided, That the collector's certificate shall be exhibited to the 
licensed dealer whenever the collector purchases ammunition for his 
collection; Provided further that the collector shall sign a receipt 
for the ammunition, which shall be treated in the same manner as 
that required under subsection (d)(4) of this section. 

TITLE VI — POSSESSION OF AMMUNITIOS 

Sec. 601. No person shall possess ammunition in the District ot 
Columbia unless : 

(a) He is a licensed dealer pursuant to Title IV of this act. 

(b) He is an officer, agent, or employee of the District of Columbia 
or the United States of America, on duty and acting within the scope 
of his duties when possessing such ammunition. 

(c) He is the holder of a valid registiatioo certificate for a firearm of 
the same guage or caliber as the ammunition he possesses, 

(d) He holds an ammunition collector's certificate on the effective 
date of this act. 

TITLE VII — GENERAL PEOVISIOMS 

Sec. 701. Pledges and loans. 

(a) No firearm, destructive device, or ammunition shall be security 
for, or be taken or received by way of any mortgage, deposit, pledge, 
or pawn. 

(b) No person may loan, borrow, give, or rent to or from another 
person, any firearm, destructive device, or ammunition. 

Sec. 702. Except for law enforcement persoimel described in section 
201(b)(1), each registrant shall keep any firearms in his possession 
unloaded and disassembled or bound oy a trigger lock or similar device 
unless such firearm is kept at his place of business, or while being used 
for lawful recreational purposes within the District of Columbia. 

Sec. 703. Firing ranges. 

Any person operating a firing range in the District, shall in addition 
to any other requirement imposed bv law, register with the Chief, on a 
form prescribed by him, which shall include the business name of the 
range, the location, the names and home addresses of the owners and 
principal officers, the types of weapons fired there, the number and 



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types of weapons normally stored there, the days and hours of opera- 
tion, and such other information as the Chief shall require. 
Sec. 704. False information, forgery, alteration. 

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person purchasing any firearm or 
ammunition, or applying for any registration certificate or dealer's 
license under this act, or in giving any information pursuant to the 
requirements of this act, to knowingly give false information or offer 
false evidence of identity. 

(b) It shall be unlawful for anyone to forge or alter any application, 
registration certificate, or dealer's license submitted, retained or 
issued under this act. 

Sec. 705. Voluntary surrender; immunity. 

(a) If a person or organization within the District voluntarily and 
peaceably delivers and abandons to the Chief any firearm, destructive 
device or ammunition at any time, such delivery shall preclude the 
arrest and prosecution of such person on a chaise of violating any 
provision of this act with respect to the firearm, destructive device, or 
ammunition voluntarilj' delivered. Delivery under this section may 
be made at any police district, station, or central headquarters, or by 
summoning a police officer to the person's residence or place of 
business. Every firearm and destructive device to be delivered and 
abandoned to the Chief under this section shall be unloaded and 
wrapped in a package, and, in the case of delivery to a police facility 
the package shall be carried in open view. No peison who delivers and 
abandons a firearm, destructive device, or ammunition under this 
section, shall be required to furnish identification, photographs, or 
fingerprints. No amount of money shall be paid for any firearm, de- 
structive devices, or ammunition delivered and abandoned under this 
section. 

(b) Whenever any firearm, destructive device, or any ammunition 
is surrendered under this section or pursuant to section 210(c)(1), 
the Chief shall inquire of the United States Attorney and the Corpora- 
tion Counsel for the District whether such firearm is needed as evi- 
dence; Provided, That if the same is not needed as evidence, it shall 
be destroyed. 

Sec. 706. Penalties. 

Any person who violates any provision of this act shall upon 
conviction for the first time be fined not more than $300 or be im- 
prisoned for not more than ten (10) days, or both. Any subsequent 
conviction for a violation of this act shall he punishable by a fi,ne of 
$300 and by imprisonment of not less than 10 days nor more than 90 
days. 

Sec 707. Public education program. 

The Chief shall carry on a suitable publicity program designed to 
inform the citizens of the District of the provisions of this act and the 
rights and obligations created by it. 

Sec. 708. Repealers. 

(a) District of Columbia Regulations Nos. 68-15 and 69-7 (Articles 
50 to 55 inclusive of the Police Regulations of the District of Columbia) 
are hereby repealed. 

(b) Regulation 74-33 approved December 1, 1974, (relating to 
bounty payments for the turning in of firearms) is repealed. 

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(c) Article 9 of the Police Regulations of the District of Columbia 
is repealed to the extent such article is in conflict with the provisions 
of this act. 

Sec. 709. Conflict with Federal law. 

Nothing in this act shall be construed, or applied to necessarily 
require, or excuse noncompliance with any provision of any Federal 
Law. This act and the penalties prescribed in section 605 of this act, 
and the penalties prescribed in section 605 of this act, for violations of 
this act, shall not supersede but shall supplement all statutes of the 
District and the United States in which similar conduct is prohibited 
or regulated. 

Sec. 710. Applicability of District of Columbia Administrative Pro- 
cedure Act. 

The provisions of the District of Columbia Administrative Pro- 
cedure Act (D.C. Code, sec. 1-1501 et seq.) shall apply to each pro- 
ceeding, decision, or other administrative action specified in this act, 
unless otherwise specifically provided. 

Sec. 711. Savings clause. 

If any provision of this act or the application thereof to any person 
or circumstances is held invalid, the remainder of this act and the 
application of such provision to other persons not similarly situated 
or to other circumstances shall not be affected thereby. 

Sec. 712. Effective date. 

This act shall take effect pursuant to the provisions of section 602(c) 
(1) of the District of Columbia Self- Government and Governmental 
Keoi^anization Act. 

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Council op the Distbict^of Columbia 

REPORT* 

To: Members of the Council. 

From: Committee on the Judiciary and Criminal Law, David A 

Clarke, Chairperson 
Date: April 21, 1976. 
Subject: Bill No. 1-164, the "Firearms Control act of 1975." 

The Committee on the Judiciary and Criminal Law, to which Bill 
No. 1-164 wa:s referred, having considered the same, reports favorably 
on the bill as amended. 

BACKQRODND OF THIsJlBOISLATION 

Bill No. 1-164, as amended, evolved from a series of '^n control" 
bills which have been introduced in this Council. On February 11, 
1975, CouQcilmember John Wilson introduced the first bill (Bill No. 
1-24) to amend the D.C. Police Regulations, Articles 50 through 55, 
dealing with comprehensive firearm bans, registration and licensing. 
On March 11, 1975, Councilmember Polly Shackleton introduced 
Bill No. 1-42, the "District of Columbia Handgun Control Act of 
1975", which would have defined new crimes in the D.C. Code involv- 
ing a comprehensive ban, except in certain circumstances, on handguns 
or handgun ammunition in the District of Columbia. On June 6 and 7, 
1975, your committee conducted extensive public hearings concerning 
the above-described bills and concerning the more general issue of 
firearm controls. A copy of the notice and the witness list for such 
public hearings is attached hereto as "Exhibit A". Councilmember 
Wilson, who participated in the conduct of the aforementioned hear- 
ings, on July 22, 1975, introduced Bill No. 1-] 64 in lieu of his previous 
bill, in order to amend the D.C. Police Regulations, Articles 50 through 
55. Your committee concentrated its attention to Bill No. 1-164 which 
basically was aimed at reforming the current, firearm registration and 
licensing regulations. In its major parts, original Bill No. 1-164 would 
have (1) expanded the registration and reporting requirements cur- 
rently placed on firearm owners and/or dealers, (2) substantially 
increased the fees for registering firearms and for obtaining a license to 
deal in firearms, (3) placed specific duties on personnel of the Office of 
Corporation Counsel to prosecute and to monitor the firearm regula- 
tions, (4) increased the penalties for violatii^ the police firearm 
regulations, (5) abolished judicial discretion in the process of meting out 
punishment for violation of the firearm regulations, and (6) mandated 
that the Chief of Police conduct an active campaign to seize all pro- 
hibited firearms. After lengthy research with regard to original Bill 
No. 1-164 and refinements of gun controls in the District of Cohtmbia. 
your committee conducted a roundtable discussion and preliminary 
mark-up on Tuesday, April 6, 1976 to consider an amendment in the 
nature of a substitute to Bill No. 1-164. On Thursday, April 15, 1975, 



s approved by the Council's Judiciary Committee »nd 
lereatter made some chnnges In the MU Itself before 



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your committee conducted a mark-up of such amendment. The 
reported Bill No. 1—164, as amended, is the product of the foregoing 
deUbera.tions by your committee. 

THE PDEPOSE OF THIS LEGISLATION 

The goals of this legislation are twofold: (1) to reduce the poten- 
tiality for gun-related crimes and gun-related deaths from occurring 
within the District of Columbia; and (2) to strengthen the capacity 
of the District of Columbia government to monitor the traffic in 
firearms and ammunition within this jurisdiction. Bill No. 1-164, as 
amended, would circumscribe the persons eligible to register firearms 
in the District of Columbia and would delineate the t\'pes of firearms 
which could not be registered within the District of Columbia. The 
bill sets forth new and stringent criteria in order to relegate guns 
with legitimate uses in an urban area to demonstrably responsible 
types of persons. This legislation would also place more expansive 
reporting duties upon all firearm owners and dealers. This increased 
accountability would fortify the government's abilitv to keep track of 
the guns which are within the District of Columbia. The increased 
penalties for violation of these new regulations are designed to deter 
avoidance of the new requirements. 

THE NEED FOR THIS LEGISLATION 

Tour committee finds that, with reference to the possession, sale, 

6iirchase and control of any firearm or destructive device in the 
listrict of Columbia, the design and scope of the current D.C. 
Police Regulations, Articles 50 through 55, have not been sufficiently 
effective in reducing the potentiaUty of gun-related deaths and gun- 
related crimes from occurring within the District of Columbia, and 
there is a need to significantly improve the capacity of the District 
government to monitor the traffic of firearms within this jurisdiction. 

The easy availability of firearms in the United States has been a 
major factor contributing to the drastic increase in gun-related violence 
and crime over the past 40 years. The number of deaths attributed to 
firearms grows each year. Since 1900, more people have been killed 
by private citizens using firearms than were killed in all our wars. 
One out of every 100 deaths in the United States is the result of a 
firearm. Guns are responsible for 69 deaths in this country each day. 
Approximately 25,000 gun-deaths occur each year and 200,000 
individuals are wounded Dy firearms during this same period. Close to 
3,000 accidential deaths are caused by firearms (V, of the victims are 
under 14 years of age). For every intruder stopped by a homeowner 
with a firearm, there are 4 gun-related accidents within the home. 

The nationwide statistics dealing with handguns are even more 
sta^ering. The number of handguns alone in the U.S. is estimated 
to be as high as 40 million. (Congressional findings in Proposed Federal 
Firearms Act of 1976— H.R. 1119S). That's approximately 1 handgun 
for every 5 citizens in this country. And the supply of handguns may 
be increasing by as much as 2% million each year. 

A crime committed with a pistol is 7 times more likely to be lethal 
than a crime committed with any other weapon. Over the last several 

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years, ^tati^tics have shown that handguns are used in roughly 54% 
of all murders, 60% of robberies, 26% of assaults and 87% of all 
murders of law enforcement officials. In 1973, the FBI reported 19,510 
murders in the United States, 53% of these homicides were committed 
with handguns. From 1964-1973 firearms were used to commit 95% 
of the slayings of police officers— 613 by handguns, 104 by rifles and 
101 with shotguns. {Statement of D.C. Delegate Walter E. Fauntroy). 

In 1973, Detroit police reported 751 deaths from all criminal homi- 
cides, 24 more than tlie total number of civilians killed in Northern 
Ireland during the entire 5>j years of their civil strife. The picture in 
the District of (Columbia is not bright either. The Metropolitan Police 
Department reported a record 285 murders in the District of Columbia 
during 1974. Handguns were responsible for 155 of these homicides. 
In other violent crimes in which firearms were used in 1974-1975, 
handguns accounted for 88% of the robberies and 91% of the assaults. 

Contrary to popular opinion on this subject, fireaims are more 
frequently involved in deaths and violence imiong relatives and friends 
than in premeditated criminal activities. Most murdei-s are committed 
by pieviously law-abiding citizens, in situations where spontaneous 
violence is generated by anger, passion or intoxication, and where 
the killer and victim are acquainted. (Murder and Gvn Control, 
AmerKan Journal of Psychiatry, 128 Jan. 1972:456 No. 7). Twenty-five 
percent of these murders occur within families. 

In addition to the inability of the present D.C. firearms law to reduce 
the potentiality for gun-related violence, the present regulations have 
not been sufficiently effective in efficiently monitoring the traffic of 
firearms and ammunition in the District. The Metropolitan Police 
Department reports that during the period of 1968-1975, 57,755 
firearms were registered in the District of Columbia.' Of this total, 
41,015 were handguns. However, in spite of the present regulations, 
less than % of 1% of the total number of firearms (1974) used in 
crimes and recovered by the police were registered in D.C. (Statement 
of Maurice J. CvUinane, Chiej oj Police, Metropolitan Police Department 
bejore Committee on Judiciary and Criminal Law — 1075). Ajiproxi- 
mately 12% of the firearms recovered from all ciimes in D.Ci arc then 
registered and only 1.7% of the above-mentioned firearms are regis- 
tered by the person from whom they were recovered. In addition, 
pistols have become easy for juveniles to obtain, although the existmg 
Filiations prohibit possession of pistols by juveniles. 

The startling statistics presented here emphasize the inability of 
the present law to cope with the problems of gun control in the 
District of Columbia. This bill, as amended, will strengthen the 
District Government's role in firearm control by: 

(1) making pistols and shotguns not registered according to the 
regulations in effect prior to the effective date of this bill unregisterable 
in a reasonable endeavor toward eventually freezing the pistol and 
shotgun population within the District of Columbia. 

(2) providing more appropriate penalties for violation of these 
K^ulations. 

(3) providing a more stringent pre-ciearance procedure to prevent 
the acquisition, possession and use of firearms by disqualified persons. 

< The total number at flrcanne reeittered In the District ol Columbia es ol 11 :00 >.m., 
Mtirch 26, 1976. wss 61,089. This Includea flreanns owned and used by the Metropolltai 
FoUce Department 



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(4) providing for annual registration, which will enable the District 
^ Government to better monitor the traffic in firearms and provide 
~ additional revenue (from annual license and permit fees) to implement 

tiiis comprehensive program of gun control. 

(5) providing for a program of education in the District of Columbia 
designed to inform the community of the provisions of this act. 

; Your committee realizes the most effective gun control must eventu- 
" ally be applied at the national level. In the absence of such national 

- action however, it becomes necessary for local governments to act to 

- protect their citizens, and certainly the District of Columbia as the 
•■ only totally urban stat«like jurisdiction should be strong in its 

approach. 

IMPACT ON EXISTING LEGISLATION 

A. Effect Upon Titk 33. D.C. Code and Related Authority Questions 
Bill No. 1-164 as amended, the "Firearms Control Regulations Act 
of 1975", is enacted for the purpose of amending the existing District 
of Cohimbia Police Regulations. Specifically affected are Articles 50 
throusrh 55 of those Regulations. Tnis bill does not amend or conflict 
with the provisions of Chapter 32 of Title 22 of the D.C. Code. It 
specifically provides as much in section 902. 

The authority for the Council of the District of Columbia to amend 
the aforementioned D.C. Police Regulations stems from not only the 
plenarj- delegation of section 302 of the D.C. Self-Govemment and 
Governmental Reorganization Act (hereinafter "Home Rule Act") (87 
Stat. 787, D.C. Code, sec. 1-124} but also from the second sentence of 
section 404(a) of that Act (D.C. Code, sec. l-444{a)), which vests the 
■Council of the District of Cohimbia with all functions granted to its 
predecessor District of Columbia Council, including but not limited to 
the police regulatory powers provided for in the Act of January 26, 
1887 (D.C. Code § 1-224), the health and welfare regulatory powers 

Provided for in the Act of February 26, 1892 (D.C. Code § 1-226), the 
rearm regulation powers provided for in the Act of June 30, 1906 
(D.C. Code § 1-227), and the penaltv-creating powers provided for in 
the Act of December 17, 1942 (D.C.'Code § l-224a). 

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia 
Circuit has rendered a lengthy opinion delineating the relationship 
between the plenar\' power of Congress over District affairs and 
delegated the local government's powers (based on the pre-Home- 
Kule Act delegations) in the area of firearm control. In Maryland and 
District of Columbia liifle and Pistol Association,, Inc. v. Washington, 
142 U.S. App. D.C. 375, 442 F.2d 123 (1971), the U.S. Court of 
Appeals upheld the authority of the former D.C. Council to promul- 
gate the current gun control regulations. 

Those seeking a declaration of invalidity in that case claimed that 
the Congress had pre-empted the area of gun control bv the passage 
of An Act to Control the Possession, Sale, Transfer and Use of Pistols 
and Other Dangerous Weapons in the District of Columbia (47 Stat. 
650) (codified in Chapter 32 of Title 22 of the District of Columbia 
Code), and that, in the passage of those Regulations the old Council 
was treading on ground the Congress had reserved for itself. The 
Court closely examined the legislative history of the various statutes 
noting that the J932 statute was a substantial re-enactment of an 
1892 statute (Act of July 13, 1892, 27 Stat. 1 16) predating the delega- 



26 



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tion of firearms regulatory powers. ' The Court went on to note liiat 
Congress failed to repeal the regulatorv powers when it passed the 
Ift:i2 Act (now codified in Title 22 of the"D.C. Code) finding therefrom 
and from the rest of its examination "a satisfj'ing assurance that 
Congress, having dealt with some aspects of weapons control, left 
others for regulation by the District. Indeed . . . [the Court couldj not 
fathom any other purpose to be achieved bv leaving Section 1—227 
in force." (442 F.2dat 131). The Court set forth the text as follows; 
The important cotuideration, we think, Ls not whether the 
legislature and municipabty have both entered the same field, 
but whether in doing so they have clashed. Statutory and local 
regulation may coexist in identical areas although the latter, not 
inconsistently with the former, exacts additional requirements, 
or imposes additional penalities. The test of concurrent au- 
thority, this court indicated many years ago, is the absence of 
conflict with the legislative will. As the court declared in French 
V. District of Columbia, where (t]he subject [is] peculiarly within 
the scope of the [expressly delegated) police powers of the mu- 
nicipality, the exercise of authority ought not to be questioned 
unless clearly inconsistent with the expressed will of Congress. 
Bill 1-164, as amended, would not clash at all with any provision 
of Chapter 32 (or any other part) of Title 22 of the Code. Chapter 32 
was not enacted to afford the right to possess or carry weapons. 
Absent some legislation to the contrary, one could possess and carry 
e gun. Rather Chapter 32 was enacted to restrict the ability to 
possess and carry a gun. 

Far from being in conflict with it, Bill 1-164 applies to present 
day conditions, the same approach the 72nd Congress tooK with 
respect to 1932 conditions. Bill 1-164, as amended, does not permit 
anything which Chapter 32 was desired to prohibit. 

The Corporation Counsel of the District of Columbia argued in 
his brief in Maryland and D.C. Rijie and Pistol Association, Inc. v. 
Washington. That "since neither the Act of July S, 1932 [codified in 
Chapter 32 of Title 22 of the Code], nor any other Act, desJs with the 
registration of pistols by private owners. Article 51, section 1 [of the 
Police Kegulations, prohibiting possession without registration), is 
not in confUct with any congressional enactment . . . Merely be- 
cause the District of Columbia Council has added to the very limited 
congressional enactments relating to possession and transfer of weap- 
ons in the District of Columbia, does not mean that the additions are 
in conflict with the original limited provisions of the 1932 Act." 
(Brief of Appellees, p. 14) 

Thus it is clear that Bill 1-164, as amended, was within the author- 
ity of the former D.C. Council to enact had it seen fit to do so. 

There is no "expressed will of Congress" in the Home Rule Act to 
repen! the earlier delegations of gun control authority to the city. 
Any repeal would have to be by implication, and it "is a well-settled 
rule of statutory construction that there is a presumption against 
repeals by implication. See, Sutherland, Statutory Construction, sec. 
2014 (3rd Ed., 1943).' 

' -Vil d[ June .10, 1000 (D.C. Code, sec. 1-227 (1973)). 

' arlrt tor Apiirllppii, MnrulanA and B.C. Rifle and Ftttol AiteelaUen, Ine. T. WatMnatan, 
VS M'O. V.C. No. 22.f>27 (1069). p. 17, dtluE United Btalet T. Oreathoutt, 168 U.S. SOI 
(IS97). 



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The legislative history of the Home Rule Act clearly iiidicates that 
it was the intent of Congress to transfer to the new Council the full 
and immediate power of the old Council in this area. Both section 
321 (b) of S. 1435, as reported by the Senate Committee on the District 
of Columbia, and the second sentence of section 404(a) of H.R, 9682, 
as reported by the House Committee on the District of Columbia, 
contain transfers of the authority of the old Council to the new. Both 
of the Reports indicate an intent to carry forth the old authority- 
Senate Report No. 93-219 says at p. 3: "The powers of the present 
Council and Mayor-Commissioner are transferred to the new Council 
and Mayor." House Report No. 93-482 says on p. 21 : "Section 
(sic] (a) [of section 404] provides that the powers and functions of the 
present Council and Commissioner are transferred to the new Council 
and Mayor." Neither of these bills included at the time of their report 
to their respective houses the contents of section G02(a)(9) of the 
Home Rule Act. That was added in conference, and thus the "except 
as otherwise provided in this Act" language of the second sentence of 
section 404(a) was not directed to section 602(a)(9). It was more 

Erobably directed to delegations by the Home Rule Act of authority 
eld by the old Council to other agencies [S. 1436, as reported, pro- 
vided m the very next section (sec. 322) for functions subdelegated by 
the old Council and Mayor-Commissiioner were not to be considered 
as transferred pursuant to section 321 of the bill but to be recoupable 
bv specific Council or Mavoral action]. The gun control powers 
delegated to the city bv D.'C. Code, sections 1-224, l-224a, 1-226, 
and 1-227 conferred on the old Council by section 401(1), 401(2), and 
401(4) of the Reorganization Plan Numbered 3 of 1967 were not 
subdel^ated by the old Council nor were they reassigned by the 
Home Rule Act. 

It would be absurd therefore to now counclude that the Home Rule 
Act, designed and understood by all to have expanded the authority 
of the local legislature, to have repealed the powers delegated earlier, 
"It is axiomatic that a statute must not be construed to produce an 
absurd result." See Lange v. United States, 143 U.S. App. D.C. 305, 
307-308, 443 F. 2d 720, 722-723 (1971).* 

Furthermore, Congressional Delegate Water E. Fauntroy, former 
Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Judiciary of the Committee 
on the District of Columbia of the United States House of Representa- 
tives, submitted for the record a legal memorandum (Exhibit B) sup- 
porting this Council's authoiity to pass Bill No. 1-42, which, as men- 
tioned earlier, would have amended the current firearms law in the 
District of Columbia by creating a statutory ban on handguns within the 
District of Columbia. And Attorney Harley Daniels, former Counsel 
to the Subcommittee on the Judiciary of the Committee on the Distiict 
of Columbia of the United States House of Representatives, also 
testified in support of this Council's authority to enact Bill 1-42. By 
contrast, Bill \o. 1-164 as reported herein, amends the current police 
regulations passed by the former D. C. Council. The scope of Bill No. 
1-164, as amended, is significantly more clearly within the ambit of 
authority of this Council than Bill 1-42. 

t o( Columbia, Diitrict ot Columbia r. Smith, et al.,. 



28 



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The following analysis of the major impact of this bill upon the cur- 
rent firearma regulations illustrates the point further. 
B. More Stringent Provisions Regarding Firearm Registration 

Bill No. 1-164, as amended, abolishes the dual system under the 
current r^ulations whereby persons who own rifles or shotguns must 
both register and get a license for such firearms. Under the bill, a 
uniform system of registration is lequired whereby the Chief obtains 
not only the same data about the firearms and their owners as he does 
under tne current regulations; but, in addition, the Chief is authorized 
to obtain information which supplements the current data w^hich he 
lawfully obtains. For example, under the bill, an applicant would have 
to inform the Chief as to purpose for which he or she intends to use the 
firearm. 

The bill would require annual registration of firearms as opposed to 
the current, one-time registration requirement. 

The bill would give the Chief 60 days within which to rule upon a 
registration application in contrast to 30 days under the current 
regulations. 

The new regulations formulated in this bill would expand the 
existing pre-requisites to be met by any person in order to register his 
firearm. For example, the class of convicted persons ineligible to 
register a firearm has been enlarged in this bill. The bill disqualifies 
anyone from registering who within the 5 years preceding the applica- 
tion for registration was convicted of any weapons offenses {as defined 
in the bill), violation of any narcotics or dangerous drug laws, or viola- 
tion of any laws regarding assaults or threats so as to indicate a likeh- 
hood to make unlawful use of a firearm. The current regulations have 
only a three-year disqualification period for persons convicted of 
offenses similar t« those listed above. Unlike any provisions in the 
existing regulations, the bill disqualifies anj' person from registering 
who was involuntarily committed to a mental hospital within the Jive 
years prior to the application or who was adjudicated by any court to 
be insane or to be a chronic alcoholic within the five years prior to the 
application. The bill requires a medical certification of cure of the 
foregoii^ maladies prior to a registration certificate ever being issued 
by the Chief to such persons. 

The bill changes the current fee schedule for registration certificates. 
The public record indicates that the $2.00 fee for a registration certifi- 
cate under the current regulations does not even approximate the cost 
to the District of Columbia to administer the existing gun control 
registration system. This bill directs that the Mayor set the fee for 
registration at whatever amount will meet the cost to the government 
for administering the registration system. 

Just as in the current gun regulations, the bill generally will not 
aJlow destiuctivo de\'ices, sawed-off shotguns, machine guns, or short- 
barreled rifles to be registered. Of course, the bill rect^:m2es that on- 
duty federal and local law enforcement officers axe permitted to 
possess the above noted weapons. Cf. D.C. Code §22-3214. 

The bill adds a new category of generally uiu-egisterable firearms in 
the District of Columbia, namely pistols not registered and shoteuns 
not re^stered and licensed pursuant to the relations ia effect 
immediately prior to the effective date of this bill. Such provitdon 

29 

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denotes a policy decision that handguns and shotguns have no legiti- 
mate use in the purely urban eni'ironnient of the District of Colom- 
bia while at the same time avoiding any conflict with constitutional 
doctrines which might require compensation for materials declared to 
be illegal but which were legally possessed prior to the declaration. 
Moreover, the bill reflects a legislative decision that, at this point in 
time and due to the gun-control tragedies and horrors enumerated 
previously in this report, pistols and shotguns are no longer justified 
in this jurisdiction. During the Congressional review period of thirty 
legislative days, there will oe adequate time for any current possessor 
of a pistol or shol^m, who is otherwise eligible, to register the same 
and uius be edible for registration under the new regulations. Under 
section 203(c) of the bill, and Article 52, section 414 of the current 
regulations, his or her application cannot be used to prosecute him or 
her for illegal possession. If there is any fear that possibly there will 
be a flurry of lirearm purchases or registrations of currently unregis- 
tered pistols and shotguns in the District of Columbia prior to this 
bill completing the full legislative process, it should be noted that the 
Police Department can provide the Council with daily statistics 
concerning recent registrations of firearms and with less frequent 
reports on the inventories of local firearm dealers. If the basis for the 
above-noted fears becomes a reality based on law enforcement reports, 
then this Council or the Congress can take further appropriate action 
prior to the bill being enacted. 

Another innovation of the re^stration provisions of this bill would 
bo the requirement in section 203(a)(10) whereby applicants would 
have to demonstiate to the Chief that they are knowledgeable of the 
District of Columbia firearms laws and that they can safely use the 
firearm which they seek to register. 
C, Expavded Licensure Provisions 

BiU No. 1-164, as amended, creates two classes of business licensees 
whereas only one class now exists. The impact of such classification is 
to freeze at the current level of fourteen the number of dealers who can 
seU r^sterable firearms to the public. 

The bill would extend from the current 30 days to 60 days the time 
allotted to the Chief to rule upon applications for licenses. 

The bill requires that applicants for licenses meet the same expanded 
eligibihty requirements as are placed on persons applying for a regis- 
tration certificate. 

A major revision contemplated in this bill is the establishment of a 
process whereby a licensed dealer can dispose of his inventory inthe 
event that he receives an unfavorable response to his application for 
renewal of his license. This is to avoid any constitutional problems of 
confiscation. The current regulations do not address the situation of 
what a dealer should do if his license is revoked. Under the provisions 
of this bill, if a denial or revocation becomes final, than the dealer 
would have to do any one of the following; register any r^sterable 
firearms in his possession, surrender to the Cmef those firearms not 
registered plus all destructive devices, or lawfully dispose of or reoiove 
from the District of Columbia any firearms in which he has an interest. 

Bill No. 1—164 as amended contemplates more accountability in the 
reporting requirements than are presently required of licensees under 



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Article 54, sec. 5(c) of the D.C. Police Ri^ulatioits. Whereas a licensed 
dealer is currently required to submit "periodic" reports, Bill No. 
1-164, as amended (sec. 410), would require the maintenance of very 
detailed monthly records by the licensee. The licensee would be 
required to keep the records curient and to open them to inspection 
upon demand by the Chief. 

D. Delineatitm of ScUe^ or Transfers of Firearms 

In both this bill and the current regulations, the rai^ of firearms 
which may be generally sold or transfened coincides with the range ol 
firearms which may be lawfully registered in the District of Columbia. 
However, Article 5 of Bill No. 1-164 provides that all sales and trans- 
fers of registerable firearms be accomplished only through a licensed 
dealer to a qualified purchaser. 

E. Ammunition Transfers 

Article 6 of Bill No. 1-164 substantially follows Article 53 of the 
current D.C. Police Regulations. Beyond this, section 602 of the bill 
sets out in detail the precise univeiso of lawfully possessors of firearms 
ammunition; namely, licenseeSj authorized government personnel, 
certified collectors, and registrants of firearms of the same caliber as 
the ammunition posscs,sed. 

F. Registration of Firing Range Operators 

Section 703 provides that for the first time in this jurisdiction that 
firing ranges shall be registered with the Chief. 

G. Expanded Enforeemeiit Provisions 

Under the present Regulations (Article 55, sec. 2) no penalty will 
befall a person who voluntarily surrenders to the Police a firearm 
which is not registered, so long as a proclaimed amnesty peiiod is in 
effect. This bill would abolish the cun-unt amnesty and redemption 
regulations and allow foi' sunender of firearms to the Chief at any 
police station and at any time. The same provision is made regarding 
the vohintarv surrender of ammunition. 

This bill also provides in section 80.3 that the Chief of Police publi- 
cize certain aspects of the Police regulations concerning firearms. 
These matters mclude: the elements of lawful possession, the limita- 
tions placed on holdei-s of permits, the provisions for enforcement of 
the regulations, the provisions for voluntary surrender, and the 
means oy which persons may aid the Police in enforcing the firearms 
regulations. 

The bill sets a new mandatory minimum penalty of 10 days im- 
prisonment and a $300 fine for violation of certain key sections of the 
bill (section 201 (re: prohibition of possession of a destructive device 
or unregistered firearm), section 401 (re: prohibition of engaging in 
firearms business without firearms business license), section 501 (re: 
limitations on sale or transfer of firearms), section 601 (re: Hmitations 
on the sale of ammunition), and section 602 (re: limitations on the 
possession of ammunition)). Under the current regulations there arc 
no such mandatory sentencing provisions. The Committee reluctantly 
rejected higher penalties in an effort to remain ^vithin the delegated 
powers of D.C. Code, sees. 1-224, l-224a, 1-226, and 1-227 so as to 
be certain of the Council's authority. 

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The foregoing conoid ered, it should be apparent that this bill 
would not cause a confiscation law, would not amend any existing 
gun laws beyond the current D.C. Police Regulations governing 
firearms, and would take nothing away from sportsmen and collectors. 

EXECUTIVE POSITION 

The Executive Branch position on Bill 1-164 is far from clear. 
From the time of its introduction on July 22, 1975 until March, 1976, 
there was no communication from the Branch on this particular bill. 

On March 17, 1976, the Chairperson of your Committee sent a 
copy of a working draft containing most of the provisions of this 
bill, as amended, to the then Acting Corporation Counsel and to the 
Chief of Police inviting general comments, criticisms, and recommenda- 
tions specifically requesting in each case certain infonnation (Exhibit 
C). Copies of the letters were sent to the Mayor's Special Assistant 
for Legislation. It was requested that any information be provided 
bj' March 23, 1976 at a roundtable discussion to be conducted by 
your committee. 

On March 23, 1976, a memorandum was received from the Acting 
Corporation Counsel the only critical comment of which was directed 
to a provision of the draft which would have limited prosecutorial 
plea bargaining (Exhibit D). That pi-ovision is not part of the bill 
as amended. 

On March 23, 1976, a memorandum was also received from the 
Chief of Police claiminginability to complete the statistical data and 
analysis by that time (Exhibit E). The March 23, 1976 meeting was 
cancelled. 

On March 30, 1976, a six page memorandum was received from the 
Chief of Police responding to so many of the specific requests cou- 
taine<l in the letter of March 17, 1976 as addressed themselves to 
standards and procedures used in the enforcement of current regula- 
tions and to statistics (Exhibit F). 

On April 6, 1976, when a mark-up session of your committee had 
been called, a memorandum was received from the Mayor's Special 
Assistant for Legislation indicating "a number of legally objectionable 
and administratively defective provisions" injthe working draft— a 
nearly identical version of which was moved at that meeting as an 
amendment in the nature of a substitute (Ehxibit G), The memoran- 
dum indicated that the Executive Branch was preparing a draft bill 
for the Coounittee's consideration "in the very near future". At the 
meeting, Mr. Chauncey Williams of the Office of Legislation declined 
to cite what the Executive Branch found to he legally objectionable 
and/or administratively deficient. The only "much needed change" 
in the existing law which Mr. Williams would identify was the require- 
ment that persons register their firearms within forty-eight hours of 
arrival in the city. That meeting was recessed to give Mr. Williams a 
chance to ascertain by what time the Executive Branch could produce 
its draft bill. When the meeting resumed, Mr. Williams was unable to 
state a time but responded to an inquiry as to the ability of being 
ready in a week by saying that it could be done if one person worked 
upon the matter full time. The Committee thereupon set the matter 
over to April 15, 1976 requesting that it be provided with the Execu- 



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live Branch's draft bill and other materials by the close of business on 
April 14, 1976. 

No draft bill or other response from the Executive Branch was 
received by or on April 15, 1976 other than further response from the 
Chief of Police addres^iii" the two sections of the Bill (203 and what 
is now 410) which had been specifically mentioned in the letter of 
March 17. 1976 (Exhibit H). Mr. Robert Greenberg of the Office of 
General Counsel of the Metropolitan Police Department appeared at 
the mark-up session on April 15, 1976 and was of great assistance. Of 
the 27 points in the Chief's memorandum, the Committee made 
amendments consistent with the Chief's comments to the amend- 
ment-iii-the-nature-of-a-svibstitute before it in all respects except the 
following five (in none of which are the Committee's positions any 
less stringent than the current regulations) : 

(1) The Committee rejected the su^estion that persons convicted 
of violation of provisions of the bill be later permitted to register fire- 
arms after a period of disqualification similar to that required of those 
convicted of narcotics offenses. Your committee felt that one violation 
of the provisions of the bill was so serious as to indicate a permanent 
disability to safely and lawfully handle firearms. 

(2) Your committee rejected the su^estion that persons voluntarily 
entiering mental hospitals should be as ineligible as those committed 
invol-antarily. Your committee feels that mere admission to a mental 
hospital does not indicate incapacity and that the fact of the volun- 
tariness may indicate more of a presence of mind than an involuntary 
commitment. 

(3) Your committee and the Executive Branch representatives 
present at the meeting were unable to formulate at the meeting Miy 
more specific standards for a disabling physical defect than are in the 
current regulations and which would be continued by the bill, 

(4) The committee declined to make production of the firearm at a 
station at the time of application mandatory but chose to vest the 
Chief with discretion as in the current regulations. The Committee did 
not want to encoiirage guns on the streets in any fashion and felt that, 
if law enfoicement needs dictated such production, the discretion af- 
forded the Chief enables it. 

(5) Your committee rejected the suggestion that one charged with a 
misdemeanor of assaidt or threats should, by virtue of being so chained, 
be ineligible to legister a firearm. Your committee accepted the idea of 
disquahfications upon indictment because there is a judicial finding of 
probable cause. Your committee was here concerned with the inter- 
dependent eligibility-to-register and revocation sections which, if the 
Chief's su^cstion were adopted, could unfairly result in a citizens' 
registration being revoked merely upon a charge of assault by another 
citizen. 

In the last footnote of the document, the Chief says: "These com- 
ments, as previously noted, were specifically requested. While we 
believe arinptioii of f he suggestions made would greatly improve §§ 203 
and 408, we continue to believe the bill to be similarly deficient else- 
where to preclude supporting its passage, (Memorandum of Judy 
Rogers to Councilman Clarke dated April 6, 1976)." 

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Nevertheless, after repeated invitation, no representative of the 
Kxccutive Branch would specify any objection or deficiency other 
than as hereinbefore mentioned.' 

FISCAL IMPACT 

The bill would permit the Mayor to set application fees for firearm 
registration and firearms business licenses at whatever is needed to pay 
costs of administering the provisions of the bill. Therefore its admin- 
istration would entail no cost except approximately $2,500 for publica- 
tion of information pursuant to the publicity program mandated by 
the bill. 

There would be a net savings, as the current registration fee is set at 
$2.00 by the current regulations. The Chief of Police estimated that 
cost at $20.00 to register a gun. At the current rate of about 4,000 
registrations per year, we are now sustaining a loss of about $72,000 
per year. Thus the fiscal efEect of passage of this bill over the next five 
years would be approximately a plus $357,500. 

($72,000 X 5 = $360,000 - $2,500 = $357,500). 

SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS 

Section 101 of the bill sets forth the definitions of essential terms 
used in the bill. 

Subsection (a) of section 201 provides for a general ban on destruc- 
tive devices and directs that no person shall own, possess, or have 
under his control a firearm in the District of Columbia without a valid 
lustration certificate beinj; issued therefor to such person. In the 
case of an organization which owns any firearm, section 201 directs 
that dual registration be obtained both in the name of the organiza- 
tion and in the name of the president or chief executive of such organi- 
zation. Thip provision is intended to establish personal responsibility 
at a h^h level within the organization for compliance with this Article. 
Subsection (b) of section 201 of the bill would provide an exception for 
licensees in that they would not be bound by the general registration 
requirements in subsection (a) with respect to firearms kept by them 
purely as inventory in their businesses. 

Section 202 describes certain firearms which are unregisterable. 
namely any sawed-off shotgun, machine gun, short-barreled rifle and 
pistol not regitteied, or shotgun not registered and licensed, to the 
applicant pursuant to the regulations in effect immediately prior to 
the effective date of this biil. 

Section 203 identifies the criteria and processes by which persons 
and chief executives in any organization owning firearms shall con- 
form in order to obtain a registration certificate. Subsection (a) of 
section 203 lists the criteria which must be met by applicants regis- 
tration certificate. The personal criteria set forth in subsection (a) of 
section 203 are designed to promote a situation in the District of 

> Tlie heaiiuss □□ BlUa 1-24 sad 1-42. the then Coi 
tlie Coimrirs authority to pees eithpr of those rne«siin 
tlona beTond the Kcope of Ihe old Cnimcirii luthnrlt; to 

Counwl hHS not addresned the authortt.v to ennet Bill 1 , 

nnthorltr to enact Bill 1-164. Bi amended. Ib treated In the section of this Report o 
"Impact OD EilHtlns Leglalatlon". Eupca. 



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Columbia wherein registerable firearms, being lethal by nature, can 
only be rogistered to peiNons whose pei^soiial and social histories do 

not indicate a susceptibility on their ports to use any firenrm in a 
manner wliieh would be dangerous to themselves or to other persons. 
Subsection (b) of section 203 specifies the data which each applicant 
must provide for the Chief prior to his issuing any registration certifi- 
cate. Tlie burden is upon the applicant to provide the factual data 
required by subsection (b) to the Chief in order that the Chief be able 
to pei'foriTi his duties under this bill. Subsection (c) of section 203 
proiiibits any information contained in an application from beii^ 
used as evidence in a crivinal pi-oceeding against the applicant, 
except for prosecutions for perjur}- in violation of D.C. Code §22- 
2501 or for violation of section 705 of this bill as amended. Subsection 
(c) of section 203 also provides that if a final determination has been 
made to deny the issuance of an application for a firearm, then the 
applicant shall have seven day.s within which to surrender the fire- 
arm, lawfully remove it from "the District of Columbia, or otherwise 
lawfully dispose of such firearm. Subsection (d) of section 203 affords 
the Chief the option of fingerprinting and taking a photograph of an 
applicant for a firearm registration certificate. Subsection (e) au- 
thorizes the Chief, whenever he deems it advisable, to require an 
applicant to appear in person and to bring the firearm in question 
to the police department prior to the Chief's ruling on the applica- 
tion. Subsection (f) of section 203 mandates that each application be 
executed in duplicate and that each application be attested to by 
the applicant. 

Section 204 provides that the registration certificate sheill have an 
effective life-span of one year, thus establishing a system of annual 
registration, 

-Section 205 authorizes and directs the Mayor to set the fee scale 
for any services rendered pursuant to sections 201 through 210 
of this bill in order to cover the cost to the District of Columbia 
government for providing such services such as the processing of 
i-egistration appUcations. Section 205 specifically makes fees for 
registration applications non-refundable. 

Section 206 establishes strict time frames within which applications 
must be filed. In particular, firearms registered or licensed under the 
Police Regulations in effect prior to the effective date of this bill 
must be registered within 60 days of the date upon which this bOI 
becomes law. Otherwise a firearm must be registered within 48 
hours after it is legally received or acquired or brought into the 
District of Columbia. Of course a firearm registered pursuant to this 
bill must be re-registered prior to the expiration of the registration 
certificate. 

Section 207 sets a sixty-day time frame within which the Chief 
shall make a ruling upon an application for a registration certificate. 
The Chief shall have 120 days to rule upon applications for a regis- 
tration certificate which have been filed within the first sixty days 
after the effective date of this bill. 

Section 208 prescribes the grounds upon which a registration 
certificate shall be revoked. Generally, revocation shall be caused 
by n firearm becoming un regis tern hie imder section 202, by the regis- 

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trant becoming ineligible for registration under section 203(a), by 
failure to perfonn tlie duties set forth in section 21(1. or by tlie inten- 
tional falsification of information given to the Chief by the registrant 

Subsection (a) of section 209 sets forth the procedures to^ be fol- 
lowed for tlie denial of a registration application or thr revocation of 
a registration certificate. Subsection (a) provides diiP process protec- 
tions to al! registrants or applicants affected by this Article. The pro- 
vision does not alter the doctrine that ownership of a fireann is a 
privilege and not a right. Subsection (b) of section 209 delineat<'s the 
legally permissible options available to an applicant or registrant after 
an order of denial or revocation has become final. Subsection (c) of 
section 209 requires the Chief to destroy all firearms which are not 
needed as evidence by any prosecutorial authorities of any jurisdic- 
tion or which cannot be lawfully returned to the rightful owner thereof. 

Subsection (a) of section 210 of the bill sets forth additional duties 
placed upon each person who has registered a firearm pursuant to 
these Regulations, Specifically', registrants shall report in writing to 
the Chief concerning the loss, theft, or destruction of the registration 
certificate or of the registered firearm within 48 hours of such event. 
Registrants shall also report within 48 hours any change of name or 
address from that recorded on the registration certificate. This latter 
duty is especially noteworthy for the president or chief executive of 
any oTOanizatioii which has registered its firearins. It is the intent of 
this subsection to insure that the Chief is kept well-informed of any 
change in the identity of the officer or an organination who is per- 
sonally responsible for the oversight of the use of such organization's 
firearm(s). Registrants must also inform the Chief in writing of the 
sale or transfer or other disposition of the firearm by the registrant. 
Simultaneous with the notice to the Chief of the loss, theft, or other 
disposition of a firearm, registrants must retuTti to the Chief the 
repstration certificate for any firearm which has been stolen, lost, 
destroyed, sold, or otherwise disposed of. Finally, a registrant must 
have in his posses.sion a valid registration certificate and an ai)plicant, 
whose application has not yet been acted upon pursuant to section 
207, must have in his possession his application for a registration 
certificate for each firearm possessed. Such registrants and applicants 
must exhibit the certificate or application, as the case may oe, upon 
the lawful demand of any law enforcement officer. Subsection (b) of 
section 210 directs the Chief to inform each applicant for a registra- 
tion certificate of the duties which flow from the provisions of this 
bill and which govern such applicant. 

Section 301 of the bill establishes the duties of executors and ad- 
ministrators of estates containing firearms. If the estate contains a 
validly registered firearm, the fiduciary has an obligation to report the 
death of the registrant to the Chief. If such report is timely, then the 
registration certificate remains valid until the lawful distribution or 
transfer of the firearm in question. In the case of an estate containing 
a validly regLstered firearm, the fiduciary is charged with all of the 
duties which this bill would have impoesd upon the decedent if he or 
she were still alive, for example, the duties listed in section 210 of the 
bill. In the case of an estate containing a firearm which is not validly 
registered, the fiduciar}- shall have the duty to surrender the firearm 



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or lawfully dispose of such firearm as provided in subsection (b) of 
section 209 or in section 801 of, the bill. However the executor or 
admiaistrator shall not be liable for the criminal penalties set forth in 
section 802 of the bill. 

Section 401 prohibits any person or organization fn>m engaging in 
the business of selling, purcha-^ing, or repairing tireanns, ammunitioD, 
or destructive devices without first obtaining a license and limits the 
lawful scope of such business according to the class of the license issued 
to the licensee. 

Section 402 defines the two classes of firearms business licenses; (1) 
a Class A license authorizes a business to engage in the. sale, transfer, 
repair, and purchajie of firearms and ammunition to any persons or 
organizations in accordance with the provisions of this biU, and (2) 
a Class B license authorizes a business to engage in the sale, transfer, 
repair, and purchase of firearms, ammunition and destructive devices 
only where the other party to the transaction is another licensee, as 
defi^ned in the bill, or specified agents of the District of Columbia or the 
federal governments. 

Section 403 specifies who is eligible to obtain each class of license 
described in section 402, above. Class B licenses inay be issued to 
persons who or to organizations whose oflicers meet the registration 
eligibility requirements and do not fail to perform any of the duties 
set forth in this bill. Class A licenses are "grandfather" licenses which 
can only be issued to firearms businesses which have been licensed 
pursuant to the D.C. regulations in effect prior to the effective date of 
this bill and which qualify for a Class A license in accordance with the 
provisions of this bill. 

Subsection (a) of section 404 regulates the contents of applications 
for firearms business licenses. Subsection (b) of section 404 provides a 
qualified evidentiary immunity for information elicited in applica- 
tions for licenses. 

Section 405 sets a sixty-day time frame within which tbe Chief 
shall make a ruling upon an application for a license. The Chief 
shall have one-hundred and twenty days to rule upon applications for 
a license which have been filed within the first sixty days after the 
effective date of this bill. 

Section 406 authorizes and directs the Mayor to set the fee scale for 
any services rendered pursuant to sections 401 through 413 of the bill 
in order to cover the cost to the District of Columbia government for 
providing such services such as the processing of applications for 
licenses. Section 406 specifically makes fees for license applications 
non-refundable. 

Section 407 provides that the license shall have an effective life span 
of one year. 

Section 408 prescribes the grounds upon which a registration 
certificate shall be revoked. 

Subsection (a) of section 409 sets forth the procedures to be followed 
with respect to denial of a license application or the revocation of a, 
license. Subsection (a) provides due process protections to all licensees 
and applicants affected by this Article. Such provision does not alter 
the patent reality that carrying on a firearms business is a privilege 
and not a right. Subsection (b) of section 408 delineates the legally 



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pennissib]e options available to an applicant or licensee after an order 
of denial or revocation has become final. Subsection (c) of section 409 
directs the Chief to inform each applicant for a license of the duties 
which flow from the provisions of this bill and which govern the 
applicant. 

Section 410 specifies the types of monthly records which must be 
maintained by each licensee concerning the nature of the inventories 
kept and the sales, transfers, and repairs conducted in the course of his, 
her or its business. The Chief is directed to monitor such records at 
reasonable regular intervals. Each record is to be kept for one year 
after the event recorded. 

Section 411 indicates the permissible manner for a licensee to keep 
or display his inventory. 

Section 412 provides that all firearms with which a licensee deals 
shall have identifying markings imbedded therein. 

Section 413 directs that licensees shall display their licenses in a 
prominent place where customers may easily see them. 

Section 501 of this bill specifically limits sales and transfers of 
firearms and destructive devices within the District of Columbia to the 
provisions contained in sections 209(b) (re: legal disposition of firearm 
after denial or revocation of registration), 502 (re: permissible sales 
and transfers), and 801 (re: voluntary surrender) of tliis bill. 

Section 502 defines the permissible sales or transfers within the 
District of Columbia under Uie bill. Permissible sales under section 502 
generally conform to the scope of the registration and licensing pro- 
visions of this bill. Subsection (a) of section 502 permits the sale or 
transfer of any registrable firearm to a Class B licensee Subsection (b) 
of section 502 respects licit sales of any registered rifle to any Class A 
licensee. Subsection (c) of section 502 allows any Class A licensee to 
sell or transfer any pistol or shotgun, which is lawfully part of his 
inventory on the effective date of tliis bill, to any firearms business 
licensed by a non-D.C. jurisdiction so long as the delivery of the pistol 
or shotgun to the purchaser or transferee is made outside the District 
of Columbia. Subsection (d) of section 502 allows any Class A licensee 
to sell or transfer any pistol or shotgun which is lawfully part of such 
licensee's inventory on the efl'ective date of this bill to any Class B 
licensee. Subsection (e) of section 502 warrants the sale or transfer of a 
rifle by any licensee to any person or organization provided that at 
least three days pass between the time the transaction is initiated by 
the prospective transferee's e.xhibition of an application (s) to register 
the subject rifle(s) to the transferor and the tune the transaction is 
finally consumated by delivery of the rifle(s). The three-daj- hold on the 
transaction affords the Chief the opportunity to review the registration 
application of the transferee and to stop or suspend the transaction in 
cases where the Chief finds cause to deny the registration application. 
Subsection (f) of section 502 generally permits any licensee to sell or 
transfer a firearm or destructive device to any on-duty agent or em- 
ployee of the federal or District of Columbia governments when such 
agent is acting within the scope of his duties in acquiring such firearm 
or destructive device. Thus the only firearm purchasable by the 
general public would be a rifle. 

Section 601 regulates the sale and transfer of firearm ammunition 
with the District of Columbia and provides generally that only 



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licensees can sell ammunition to non-licensees. The necessary condi- 
tions for any sale or transfer of ammunition by licensees are: (1) tie 
transaction must be made in a face-to-face transaction; (2) the 
purchaser or transferee must s^ a receipt for the ammunition and 
return such receipt for safe-keeping by the hcensee; (3) the purchaser 
or transferee must show a legally authorized registration certificate 
to the licensee for the firearm for which ammunition is being sought; 
and (4) the ammunition being sold or transferred must be of the 
same caliber or gauge as the firearm described in the registration 
certificate. The latter two conditions would not apply in two cases: 
(a) where the purchaser or transferee is an on-duty agent of the 
federal or District of Columbia governments who is acting within 
the ricope of his duties when acquiring such ammunition, or (b) when 
the purchaser or transferee is a certified ammunition collector who is 
purcnasing ammunition for his collection. 

Section 602 of this bill specifies the persons who may possess 
ammunition within the District of Columbia; namely, licensees, 
on-duty agents of the federal and District of Columbia govemmente, 
holders of valid registration certificates for firearms of the same gauge 
or caliber as the ammunition being possessed, and locally certified 
ammunition collectors. 

Section 701 provides that no firearm or ammunition may be used 
as security in a transaction and that no person may loan, borrow, 
give, or rent any firearm except to the person who is the registrant 
for such fireann. 

Section 702 specifies that all firearms shall be kept unloaded and 
disassembled in the District of Columbia except when such firearms 
are being used at registered firing ranges in D.C. and used at such 
ranges for recreational purposes. 

Section 703 requires that any person who operates a firing range 
in the District of Columbia shall register the same with the Chief. 

Section 704 discloses that the provisions of this bUl shall not apply 
to on-duty officers, agents, or employees of the federal or District 
of Columbia governments when such persons are acting within the 
scope of their emplovment. 

Section 705 prohibits the intentional giving of false information 
in course of applying for a registration certificate or license or in the 
course of supplj'ing any information pursuant to these regulations. 
Section 706 also makes it unla\vful to forge or alter any application, 
registration certificate, license, or temporary- evidence of registration 
generated pursuant to this bill. 

Section 801 provides a mechanism for the lawful surrender or 
abandoning of anv firearm or ammunition to the Chief or to a Metro- 
politan police officer. Section -301 provides immunity from arrest 
or prosecution for any person who delivers any firearm or ammunition 
pursuant to the provisions contained in such section, but section 801 
does not countenance the payment of any money to anyone in return 
for making such a delivery. 

Section 802 s^ets out two levols of penalties for violation of the 
provisions of this bill. Each violation of section 201 {re: prohibition 
of possession of a destructive device or unregistered firearm), section 
401 (re: prohibition of engaging in firearms business without fireai-ms 
business license), section 601 (re: limitations on sale or transfer of 



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firearms), section 601 (re: limitations on the sale of ammunitioD)^ 
or section 602 (re: limitations on the possession of ammunition) is 
subject to the strict mandatory penalty of ten days imprisonment 
and a $300 fine. Any other violation of the bill is subject to a penalty of 
imprisonment of up to ten days or a fine of up to $300 or both. 

Section 804 manciHtes a publicity program to be continuously con- 
ducted by the Chief in order to inform the citizens of the District of 
Columbia of the provisions of this bill and related matters. 

Section 901 repeals the current firearms regulations which are to be 
replaced by the provisions of this bill. This section also repeals the 
regulation authori7.iiig a bounty to be paid as a redemption for fire- 
arms turned in to the Chief by members of the public. 

Section 902 fixes the supplementary nature of the requirements and 
penalties of this bill in relation to the requirements and penalties con- 
tained in statutes of the District of Columbia and of the United States 
dealing with similar subject matter. 

Section 903 makes the individual sections or provisions of this bill 
severable from each other in terms of 3ur\'ival from any attack upon 
their validity. 

Section 904 provides the effective date for the enactment of this bilL 

COMMITTEE ACTION 

On April 15, 1975, your committee convened in order to mark-up 
Chaiiperfon Clarke's amendment in the nature of a substitute to Bill 
No. 1-164. On that date, your committee voted to report to the 
Council a bill which was basically comprised of the Clarke amendment- 
in-the-nature-of-a-substitute with the incorporation of many of the 
changes suggested by the Chief of Police (as discussed in the "Execu- 
tive Position" section of this report). The committee vote was as 
follows: two (2) in favor (Clarke and Di.xon), none opposed. The 
committee also unanimously voted to direct the staff to prepare a 
draft report on the reported bill for later consideration by the com- 
mittee. On Wednesday, April 21, 1976, your committee met to approve 
this report and to amrm certain amendments to the reported bill of 
April 15. The following amendments were approved: (1) provision in 
sec. 201(b) that licensees would not be required to register their 
inventories; (2) provision in sections 401 and 402(b) that destructive 
devices could be sold by Class B licensees; (3) allowance in section 
404(b) for evidentiary immunity for information contained on appli- 
cations for licenses; (4) provision in section 410(c) to require licenses 
to preserve their section 410 records for 1 year; and (5) expansion of 
the limitations on ammunition sales or transfers in section 601 to alt 
persons instead of merely to licensees. The foregoing amendments and 
this report were amjroved unanimously; the vote being: two (2) in. 
favor (Clarke and Dixon), none opposed. 

40 



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Committee on the Judiciary and Criminal Law 

Public Hearings on Bills 1-24 and 1-42 

(Bill 1-24) "To protect the citizens of the District, to the maximum 
extent possible by law, fiom losa of property, death, and injury, bv 
revising Articles 50-55 of the Police Regulation"; and (Bill 1-42) "To 
prohibit the manufacture, sale, purchase, transfer, receipt, tran-^porta- 
tion, poHSCHsion, and ownership of haudgiins in the District of Colum- 
bia, except in certain circumstances." 

Room 500, District Building 

Wa-shington, D.C. 20004 

June 6-7, 1975 

OPEXING STATEMENTS 

Chairperson David A Clarke, Councilmember Arlington Dixon, and 
iCouncilni ember Polly Shackleton. 

FRIDAY, JUNE fiTH— 10 A.M. SESSION 



ATume Organiiatlon 

1. Hon. Walter E. Fauntroy Memhcrof Congres.'s, Distript of Columbia. 

2. Council memlier John Wilson Citv Council of the District of Columbia. 

3. Chief Maurice CuUinane. Chief iif Police, Metropolitan Police Depart- 

4. Mr. John W. Ilechingor Former Chairman, City Council of the Dis- 

trict of Columbia, Member, Democrattc 
Central Committee. 

5. Ms. Kay McGrath Americans for Democratic Action, Women's 

National Democratic Club. 

6. Mr. Ed Volk. CitiKcii. 

7. C. Francis Murphy, Enquire Curpur.ation Counsel. 

FRIDAY, JUXE 6TH 7:30 P.M. SEasIOS 

ItfriBie Orgtniznlioti 

1. Mr. James Howard Pit.'it President, Deanwood Civic Associa- 

tion. 

2. Mr. Allen Esworthy Citizen. 

3. Mr. Idas Holmes.. (!itizcii. 

4. Rev, David Bava St. Francis DeSales Church Parit* and Co- 

ordinating Council, Public Safety Com- 

5. Mr. Gregory T. Dini Citizen. 

6. Rev. Stnndord Harris Capitol Hill Group Ministry. 

7. Mr. Absolum Jordan Black United Front. 

8. Mr. William P. Rich Citizen. 

9. Lawrence E. Smith, Esq Federal Civic Association. 

10. Mr. Frederick H. Mcintosh Citizen. 

11. Mrs. .Marion A. Mcintosh Citizen. 

12. Mr. George W. Brady Federation of the Citlzena Aasociation of 

D.C. 

13. Mrs. Ruth Webster 14th Street PAC 

(41) 



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SATURDAY, JUNE 7TH — 10 A.M. SESSION 

tiame Organisollon 

1. Mr. William Rollow D.C, Skeetshootiog Association Advisi>ry 

Panel Against Armed Violence. 

2. Mr, Jeas Johnson National Rifle Association. 

3. Mr. Albert T, Timentel,. Citizen. 

4. Mr. Richard S. Ware Citizen. 

5. Mr. Priestly Manoe Wa.ihington Outdoor Sportmen's Oub. 

6. Mr. Charles Hernandez Chairman, People Organized for Prugreas 

and Equality (POPE). 

7. Mr. William J, Saunders Principal, Eastern High School. 

8. Ma. Jennie Ross. Vice Chairperson, American Civil Liberties 

Union of National Capital Area. 

9. Mr. E. Wayles Browne, Jr National Rifle Association and Maryland 

and District of Columbia Rifle and tistol 
Clubs. 
10. Dr. Barbara Moulton Citizen. 

House of Representatives, 
Waskingtm, D.C, February IS, 1975. 
Hon. Sterling Tucker, 
Chairman, D.C. City Council, 
Washington, D.C. 

Dear Sterling: As you know, I have introduced iti the Con- 
gress national gun legislation. In the process of preparing my bill, it 
occurred to me that it might make .some sense for the Council to 
consider gun legislation on the local level. I understand that Council- 
man John Wilson has prepared and introduced legislation on the 
subject, and I have prepared a bill which runs parallel to my national 
legislation that you may wish to consider, together with Councilman 
Wilson's legislation. 

I also asked my staff to prepare a legal memorandum setting forth 
the authority of the Council to enact gun legislation in view of the 
limitations in the Home Rule Act. I hope that you will find this 
analysis useful. 

If the Council holds hearings on gun control, I should verj- much 
like the opportunity to express my views on the issue. 
Please let me know how I can be of help. 
Sincerely yours, 

Walter E. Fauntrov, 

Member oj Congress. 
Enclosure. 

memorandum 

February 13, 1975. 
Subject: Authority of District of Columbia Council to Enact Gun 
Control Legislation. 
A-s you requested, we have researched the question of whether the 
District of Columbia has the authority under its home rule charter 
and other applicable laws to enact the gun control legislation you 
have prepared for their consideration. It is our conclusion that the 
D.C. Council possess s.ich authority. 

In essence, your proposed legislation would ban the manufacture, 
sale, purchase, transfer, transportation or possession of any handgun 
or handgun ammunition within the District of Columbia. The 
District of Columbia Self-Govemment and Governmental Reorgani- 



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zation Act ("Home Rule Act") provides that "the legislative power 
of the District shall extend to all rightful subjects of legislation within 
the District . . ." It is generally agreed that this grant to authority 
is extremely broad, roughly comparable to the legislative power of a, 
state legislature, and in the absence of specific limitation, would 
include the authority to enact the proposed legislation. 

The Home Rule Act, however, does contain a hmitation that bears 
upon the Council's authority to enact a comprehensive gun control 
bill. Section 602(a)(9) states, in part, that the Council shall have no 
authority to "enact any act, resolution, or rule . . , with respect to 
any provision of any law codified in title 22 or 24 of the District of 
Columbia Code (relating to crimes and treatment of prisoners) during 
the twenty-four full calendar months immediately following the day 
on which the Members of the Council first elected pursuant to this 
Act take office." 

In our view, this provision does not preclude the Council from 
enacting the proposed gun control legislation. To begin with, the 
limitation is narrow in that it precludas Council enactment only with 
respect to specific provisions of title 22. It does not prevent the Coun- 
cil from acting with respect to criminal laws codified outside title 22. 
For example, the Uniform Narcotic Dnig Act, which contains substan- 
tial criminal penalties, can be found in title 33 of the D.C. Code. 
Other substantial statutes having criminal penalties are scattei'ed 
throughout the Code, beyond title 22 and the limitation set forth in 
Section 602 of the Home Rule Act. There should be little question that 
the title 22 limitation on Council authority would not apply to these 
criminal laws. 

The Council appears to possess authoiity independent of title 22 to 
enact gun control legislation. Section 1-227 authorizes the District of 
Columbia Council to make all such "unusual and reasonable police reg- 
ulations . , . as the Council may deem necessary for the regulation of 
firearms, projectiles, explosives or weapons of any kind in the District 
Columbia." This language is broad on its face, and would appear to 
give tlie Council ample authority to enact sweeping gun legislation. 
See Maryland and Di<itrict of Columbia Rifle and Pittol A<<<tociatitm, 
Ins. V. Washington, 442 F2d 123 (D.C. Cir. 1971). In the Rifle and 
Pistol Aiiociation case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of 
Columbia upheld an extensive system of gun registration promulgated 
by the D.C. Council, finding section 1-227 to be broad in scope. The 
reason for enactment of this provision in 1906 was based on much the 
same considerations that apply today in banning the sale and possess 
sion of handguns. The District Commissioners testifying on the bill 
underscored the undeilying basis for its enactment: 

The advantage to be gained is the freedom from accident from 
indiscriminate discharge of firearms within the territory of the 
District of Columbia [that] will safeguard human life and property 
to a lai^e degree, which is now impossible. H.R, Rep. No. 4207, 
59th Cong., 1st Sess. 4 (1906). 

While section 1-227 would itself support Council action, two addi- 
tional issues must be addressed in, determining the authority of the 
Council to enact comprehensive gun control legislation. The first is 
whether the limitation of the Home Rule Act with respect to title 22 

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supercedes the Council's authority to proceed under section 1-227, 
The Council probably could have enacted a handgun ban prior to the 
Home Rule Act. There is no indication in the Home Rule Act or its 
legislative history that Coi^ress intended to limit by implication 
authority possessed by the Council before the effective date of this 
Act. There is some evidence to the contrary. The delegation of author- 
ity to the Council was intended to be broad, an intention which must 
pervade interpretation of the Act. As a matter of construction, it is 
sound to assume that the Council posses.ses authority, unless a specific 
limitation circumscribes it. Further, Section 404(2) of the Home Rule 
Act seems to indicate that all powers possessed by the Council before 
January 2, 1975 would be carried forward. That section provides, 
in part : 

... all functions granted to or imposed upon or vested in or 

transferred to the District of Columbia Council, as established 

by Reoi^anization Plan Numbered 3 of 1967, shall be carried out 

by the Coimcil in accordance with provisions of this Act. 

The Council's authority under section 1-227 seems to survive the 

title 22 limitation under the Home Rule Act, 

The second question is whether the gim control provisions now con- 
tained in title 22 preempt the Council's acting under Section 1-227. 
Our conclusion is that that title 22 does not preclude Council initiative. 
Chapter 32 of title 22 (hereinafter the "1932 Act") contains several 
provisions regulating weapons in the District. In Maryland and 
District of Columbia Rifle and Pistol Association v. Waslungton, 442 
F 2d 123 (D.C. Cir. 1971), the pkintifT, who sought to overtuni the 
Council's gun registration regulations, ai^ued that the Congress 
foreclosed use of Section 1-227 by the enactment of its 1932 gun 
control law for the District contained in title 22. The Court ruled 
that the 1932 Act docs not preempt the Council from acting pursuant 
to Section 1-227. The Court explained its holding by observing: 

In 1932, Congress enacted a limited gun control law for the 
District, leaving Section 1-227 untouched. 
In Firemen's Irisvrance Co. of Washington v. Washington, 483 F 2d 
1323 (D.C. Cir. 1973), the Court upheld substantial portions of a 
Council regulation on insurance despite the existence of a comprehen- 
sive insurance code enacted by Congress. The Court said: 

But we cannot agree that mimicipal regulation is precluded 
simply because the legislature has taken some action in reference 
to the same subject. 
The Court further stated: 

Statutory and local regulation may co-exist in identical areas 
although the latter, not inconsistent with the former, exacts 
additional requirements, or imposes additional penalties. 
The question, then, is whether the proposed gun control measure 
directly conflicts with the provisions of^the 1932 Act. In broad terms, 
the proposed legislation would not alter the specific proscriptions con- 
tained m title 22. No action that would be subject to criminal penalty 
under the 1932 Act would be made lawful under the proposed gun law. 
It is significant to note that the 1932 Act nowhere expressly creates a 
right to own or pos.sess a weapon, and this is the matter directly dealt 
with by the proposed legislation. 

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The pui^pose of the Council act would be to "exact additional 
recniiremeiits, or to impose Additional penalties", which is an appro- 
pnate purpose under the Firemen's Insurance test. 

To avoid potential direct conflict, Section 11 of the proposed 
legislation states: 

No provision of this Act shall be construed as modifying or 

affecting any provision of any law codified in chapter 32 of title 22 

of the District of Columbia Code. 

Brtsed on the above considerations, it is our view that the Council 

possesses the authority to enact the proposed gun control le^latioa 

under section 1-227, 

Council of the District of Columbia, 

Washington, D.C., March 19, 1975. 
Hon. Walter E. Fauxtroy, 
Alfmber of Congress, House oj Re preset! fativcs, 
Waskiwjton, D.C. 

Dear Congressman' Faun'troy: You will be pleased to know that 
your Bill, the "District of Colunibin Handgun Control Act of 1975," 
was introduced by Councilnioniber I'lilly Sliacklelon and wa-; referred 
to the Committee on Ju<Iiciary, chaired bv Councilinember David A, 
Clarke. 

The subject is of such controversy that I know public hearings will 
be held and I know they will bo extensive. I am pleased that you are 
available to testify and we will advise your office as to dates so that 
appropriate arningoinent can be made for your appearance. 
Sincerely, 

Sterling Tucker, 

Chairman. 

March 17, 1976. 

Louis Robbins, Esquire 

Acting Corporation Counsel, D.C. The District Bvitdivg, Washington 
D.C. 

Dear Mr. Robbixs: Enclosed is a copy of a working draft of an 
amendment in the nature of a substitute to Councilmember John 
Wilson's Bill No. 1-164, the "Firearm Control Act of 1975". The bill 
amends the D.C. Police Regulation, Articles SO through 55. On 
June 6 and 7, 1975, public healings were held by the Committee on 
the Judiciary and Criminal J^nw concerning amendments to the cur- 
rent D.C. firearm control regulations. On Tuesday, March 23, 1976, 
the Committee on the Judiciiirj' anil Criminal Law will convene a 
public roundtable discussion in order to obtain public comments of 
certain governmental officials concerning the enclosed working draft. 
Comments, ciiticisms, and/or recommendations from your ofGce 
would be most welcome at the March 23 meeting. In particular, a 
response to the following questions would be most helpfid to the 
Committee on the Judiciary and Criminal Law in its deliberations. 

1. Under section 801 of the working draft, could a person arrested 
for a criminal offense wherein a gun is seized thereafter suiTender the 
gun and avoid prosecution? 

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2. Do statistics show a need for a limit upon proseciitioral discretion 
in plea bargaining a firearm charge? 

3. For the last 3 calendar years, how marry firearm prosecutions 
were instituted in the Distiict of Columbia? How manv of the above- 
de-^cribed prosecutions involved violation of tlie D.C. Police Regula- 
tions, Articles 50-55? In how many of the foregoing oases was there 
solely a prosecution for violation of the D.C. Police Regulations, 
Articles 50-55? 

4. Have the use-immunity provisions in the current Police Regula- 
tions, Article 51, sec. 7, created any significant problems for your 
office? The use-immunity provisions in the working <lr!ift, section 
203(c) basically tracks the current immunity provisions in the D.C. 
Police Regulations, Article 51, section 7, Do you foresee any significant 
problems with such provisions in the working draft? 

Thank you for j'our cooperation in this matter. 
Sincerely, 

David A. Clarke, 

Chairperson, 
Committee an the Jvdiciary and Criminal Law. 

March 17, 1976. 
Hon. Maurice J. Culi,inane, 

Chief, Metropolitan Police of the District of Columbia, 
Washington, D.C. 

Deah Chief Cullinane: Enclosed is a copj' of a working draft of 
an amendment in the nature of a substitute to Councilmember John 
Wilson's Bill No. 1-164, the "Firearms Control Act of 1975". The 
bill amends the D.C. Police Regulations, Articles 50 through 55. 
On June 6 and 7, 1975, as you may recall, public hearings were held 
by the Committee on the Judiciary and Criminal Law concerning 
amendment's to the current D.C. firearm control regulations. On 
Tuesday, March 2.1, 1976, the Committee on the Judiciary' and Crimi- 
nal Law will convene a public roundfable discussion in Ronm 501 of 
the District Building, m order to obtain comments from certain 
government officials concerning the enclosed working draft. The 
comments, criticisms, and/or recommendations of the Metropolitan 
Police Department woidd be most welcome at the March 23 meeting. 

I would be most appreciative of your examination of the eligibility 
standards for registration in section 203 and the reporting requiie- 
ments in section 408. With regard to the latter, we are concerned to 
require whatever the Department needs to be able to keep track of 
every ^n in the District. Also, I pose the following questions to your 
office m order to obtain answers and statistics which should greatly 
assist the Committee on the J\idiciary and Criminal Law in its de- 
liberations. 

1. How many ammunition collector's certificates have been issued 
to date by the M.P.D.C under Article 53, section 5 of the D.C. 
Police Regulations? How it is determined that a person is a "bona 
fide collector" as provided in Article 53, section 5? 

2. How many licensed firearm dealers currently operate in the 
District of Columbia? How many applications for new dealer licenses 

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hrtve been filed during each of the last three years? How many such 
applications have been approved? 

■i. Please clo-icribe the general procedures used by the M.P.D.C. 
for processing the following items: (1) collector's certificates, (2) 
dealers in dangerous weapons, (.1) licenses to carry a pistol, and (4) 
firearm registration cerlifitatcs. How long, on the average, does it 
take to process each type of certificate or license? How many per- 
sonnel are assigned to processing each item listed above? Do such 
pei'sonnel work on processing these items on a full-time basis? 

4. What is the number of firearms registered in the District of 
Columbia at this time? How many new registration applications have 
been filed during each of the la-^! o vt'ar-.? How many such applica- 
tions l.:tve been approved? 

5. How arejireantis used bv licensed special police officers registered? 
Is the icgistrant the S.P.O! ci^aniaatioii or the individual S.P.C? 

C. How does the M.P.D.C". determine "a physical defect which 
would make it unsafe" for aii applicam to u:-e a rifie or shotgun 
pnr-nant to Article 52. sec'ion 5(<0{6) of the D.C. Police Regulations? 

7. What does the M.P.D.C. do hi response to a notification sent 
by an administrator or executor nni-snant to seclion 3(c') of Article 51? 

S. Uiuler the cun'ent Police Keafulaliiuis, Articles 50-55, are all 
owners of riilps aiul shotguns required *o icgister such firearms 
puj'suaTi' to Article 51, section 1, in addition lo being required to 

fossess a license i-sued pui-suant to Article 52, sections 2(b) and 5? 
[ so, are there administrative difficulties in requiring both? 
9. Undej- the current Police Regulations, the term "destructive 
device'' includes U';ir ga-. and tear gas bombs. How does the M.P.D.C. 
enrrenllv monitor commcT'ce in tear gas ;ind tear gas bombs in the 
Di-;trict'of Cohimbia? Does the M.P.D.C. consider MACE to be a 
tear gas. a tear gas bomb, or another type of "destructive device"? 
Thank you for } our cooperation in thi> matter. 
Sincerely, 

David A. Clarke, 

Chairperson, 
Committee on the Judiciary and Criminal Law. 



Memoraxdum 

Government op the District of Columbia, 

March SS, 1976 

To: David A. Clarke, Chairperson, Committee on the Judiciary and 

Criminal Law, Council of the District of Columbia. 
From: Ijouis P. Robbins, Acting Corporation Counsel, District of 

Columbia. 
Subject: Firearms Control Act of 1975 Bill. 

By letter dated March 17, 1976, you requested the views of this' 
office concerning vour proposed substitute to Councilmember John 
Wilson's Bill No. i-164, the "Firearms Control Act of 1975." The bills 
would amend Articles 50 through S5 of the Police Regulations of the 



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District of Columbia. You have solicited our comments with respect 
to the following four queHtions: 

"1. Under section 801 of the working draft, could a person arrested 
for a criminal ofTense wherein a gun is seized thereafter surrender the 
gun and avoid prosecution?" 

No. If a person is legally arrested and charged and/or the immediate 
area is searched, anything seized could not then be surrendered. There- 
fore, it is our view that the defendant could not avoid prosecution 
by claiming to have surrendered the firearm subsequent to his arrest. 
Additionally, the provisions of section 801 clearly call for the voluntary 
surrender of the gun and cites Ihe specific place where the weapon must 
be surrendered. Additionally, there is the requirement that the weapon 
be securely wrapped and unloaded at the time of surrender. The latter 
elements would certainly not appertain at the time of an arrest. 

"2. Do statisficf: show a need for a limit upon prosecutorial discre- 
tion in plea bai^aining a firearm chaise?" 

No. A limit upon prosecutorial discretion in plea bargaining would 
not constitute a limit as we would understand it, but would merely 
result in a shift of prosecution discretion to the police. Such must be 
the indirect result since one the prosecutor papers a case, he would be 
forced to go forward with the case. It is our view that plea bai^aining 
is a usefuland necessary tool. 

"3, For the Ia.st three calendar years, how many firearm prosecu- 
tions were instituted in the District of Columbia? How many of the 
above-described prosecutions hivolved violation of the D.C. Police 
Regulations, Articles 50-55? In how many of the foregoing cases was 
there solely a prosecution for violation of the D.C. Police Regulations, 
Articles 50-55?" 

Your question is couched in terms of "firearm prosecutions" and 
thus would imply possible violations of laws enforced bj' the United 
States Attorney. If such be the intent of your question, it is suggested 
that such inquiry he more appropriately directed to the Office of the 
United States Attorney. With respect to prosecutions involving 
violations of Articles 50 through 55, our statistics indicate that during 
the period from July 1, 1973 through December 31, 1975, 2,472 
prosecutions were instituted for violations of Article 51-1 (unregis- 
tered firearms) and 2,411 prosecutions were instituted lor violations of 
Article 53-2 (ammunition violations). Due to the peculiar nature of 
available statistics, this office is unable to respond to the last portion 
of question 3. 

"4. Have the use-immunity jirovisions in the current Police Regula- 
tions, Articles 51, sec. 7, created any significant problems for your 
office? The use-immunity provisions in the working draft, section 
203(c) basically tracks the current immunity provisions in the D.C. 
Police Regulations, Article 51, section 7. Do you foresee any sig- 
nificant problems with such provisions in the working draft?" 

It is respectfully submitted that you intended to refer to Article 51, 
section 4 of the current Police Regulations. The use-immunity pro- 
visions of Article 51, section 4 of the Police Regulations have not 
created any significant problems for this office. We do not foresee any 
significant proolems with such provision in the working draft. 

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^[EJlOR\^■^>uu 

Government of the District of Columbia, 

Metiiopolitan Police Department, 

March 22, t976. 
To: Hon. David A. Clarke, 
D.C, City Council, 

Tlini: JiLiAV K. Dit.as. Cily Admini-^irator. 
From: MAVKrCE J. ('vlli.vane, ("iiief of Police. 
Subject : Request for statistics and analysis of amendment in the 

nature of a -.ubstiiule to bill l-lt>4. 

Please be advised that the statir^tiral data and analysis requested 
by you in yinir letter of Marcii 17, Mibject as above, and wbicb was 
i-eceived on Marcb IS, cannot be com|>!eted by March 23. 

The Office of General Counsel toeether with the Gun Control 
Section bc^an preparinc; the desired material immediately upon 
recei|)t, and will conipleic the request as expeditiously as possible. 



Memorandum 



March 29, 1976. 
To: Hon. David A. Clarke, District of Columbia City Council. 
Through: Juhan R. Dngas. City Administrator. 
From: Maurice J. Cuhinaue. Chief of Police. 

Subject: Substitute draft to bill No. 1-164, The Firearms Control 
Act of 1975. 

This is in further response to your letter dated March 17 and 
supplements my memorandum dated March 19, subject as above. In 
your letter you requested the Department's ". . , comments, criti- 
cisms, and or recommendations , . ." especially ". . . the eligibihty 
standards for registration in section 20o and the reporting require- 
ments in section 40S." You al~o requested technical and statistical 
<iata in an-wer to nine specific questions. That materia! is provided 
below. However, due to the length and complexity of the substitute 
bill, its purcnHfll operalinuiil and budget impact on the Department, 
and its efTcct on D.C. law, we have not completed the analytical review 
you de-ire. 

The questions posed and the Department's responses follow: 

I. '"I low many ammunition collector's certificates have been 
i-^sued to diite by the M.F.D.C. under Article 5-1, section 5 of the 
D.C. Pcli'C Regulations? How it is (sic) determined that a person is 
a 'bona fide collector' as provided in Article 5-1. section 5?" 

Answer. A- of March 25, 1976, there are four (4) Ammunition 
Collector's Certificates issued and outstanding. The procedure 
employed to determine bona fideness begins with the applicant's 
subnii-sion of a P.D. Fonn 221 (Ammunition Collector's Certificate), 
togcilicL- with two (2) full face photographs I'i by Vi inches taken 



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within thirty (30) daj's prior to the date of the application. The 
applicant is then fingerprinted and the fingei-prints are sent to the 
F.B.I, for a criminal history record check. The only "proof" required 
under § 5 is a notarized statement that the applicant is a bona tide 
collector. After the application is submitted, a police officer visits the 
premises to view the intended storage facility to determine whether 
it is "safe", applying tlie same standard that is applicable to dealere 
under Article 54, § 6. This same officer then makes an approval/ 
disapproval recommendation. The application t<^ther with the investi- 
gating officer's recommendation is reviewed by the supervisor of the 
Gun Control Section, and then forwarded to the Director, Identifica- 
tion and Records Division, who, as the Chief's detegatee, makes tlie 
final determination. 

2. "How many hcensed firearm dealers currently operate in the 
District of Columbia? How nianv applications for new dealer licenses 
have been filed during each of tlie last three years? How many such 
applications have been appi'oved?" 

Answer. There are fourteen (14) licensed deadly weapons dealers 
operating in the District of Columbia. The application/approval 
figures for each of the last three years are: 






















































3. "Please describe the general procedures used by the M.P.D.C. 
for processing the following items: (1) collector's certificates, (2) 
dealers in dangerous weapons, (3) licenses to carry a pistol, and (4) 
firearm registration certificates. How long, on the average, does it 
take to process each type of certificate or license? How man;- personnel 
are assigned to processing each item listed above? Do sucJi personnel 
work on processmg these items on a full-time basis?" 

Anvwer (I). See answer to question No. 1, supra; 

(2) Dealers in dangerous weapons must make application to the 
Department of Licenses and Inspection. That application is then 
forwarded via the Chief of Police to the Firearms Registration Section 
for investigation and recommendation. Each applicant fills out an 
investigative worksheet, and is fingerprinted. A local and F.B.I, 
criminal history check is made to determine eligibility i^-S-, convicted 
felon, prior violation of gun regulations) under the D.C Code and the 
Police Regulations. The premises to be used for the dealership are 
then inspected to determine whether there is compliance with Art. 54, 
§6. Upon completion of the above investigation the Director, Identifi- 
cation and Records Division, makes a recommendation to the Chief 
of Police. The Chief of Police makes a final determination and returns 
the application to Licensing and Inspections; 

(3) See D.C. Register, September 3, 1974, pp. 413-421. 

(4) Each person acquiring a pistol, rifle or shotgun must register it 
within 48 hours after taking possession of any such weapon. Regis- 
tration Is accomplished by filling out a P.D. 217 (Gun Registration 

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Certificate) and paying a $2.00 fee at the Gun Re^stration Section 
Office. An iiivestigatioii similar to that described in Answer #1, b 
then made to determine whether the applicant is eligible to possess a 
firearm. The applicant is then notified of the result of the investigation. 
The following figures represent the average processing time for the 
specified license or certificate: 



SumUr 



Ammunition citUoctor's certificate..- '30 

Dealer in deadly weapons ' 30 

Gun registration certificHte 5-7 

Rifle/shutgun license.. , '30 

Application to sell or transfer a pistol. ' 30 

License to carry a pistol ' 30 

• Diif to FBI criminal hlafory record eheck wbicli »TerB£eB 21 days. 

There are 6 full-time employees assigned to the Firearms Registra- 
tion Section, as follows: 

Serneant 1 

Officprs - 2 

GS-4 clerks _ 3 

The 2 officers conduct the investigations described above. 

4. "What is the number of firearms registered in the District of 
Columbia at this time? How many new registration applications have 
been filed during each of the last 3 years? How many such applications 
have been approved?" 

Ansu^er. Total firearms registered as of 11 a.m. March 26, 1976: 
61,089. 







AppnMd 


l»7J 


..lOJ 


^^ 















■ Include] MPDC Mviponi tntcrad into tht computtr iiin ttfiitar tor tha littini«ia 1375. 

5. "How are firearms used by licensed special police officers regis- 
tered? Is the registrant the S.P.O. organization or the individual 
S.P.O.?" 

Answer. Firearms used by commissioned special police officers are 
registered in the same manner as weapons registered by other b- 
dividuals. In the majoiity of cases the weapon is registered to the 
special officer, though either type of registration is currently permitted. 

6. "How does the M.P.D.C. determine a physical defect which 
would make it unsafe for an applicant to use a rifle or shotgun pur- 
suant to Article 52, section 5(c)(6) of the D.C. PoUce Regu^tions?" 

At the present time anyone physically capable of qualifying for, 
or cxhibitmg, a driver's permit is deemed eligible under the cited 
section. 

7. "What does the M.P.D.C. do in response to a notification sent 
by an administrator or executor pursuant to section 3(e) of Article 51." 

Answer. M.P.D.C. amends the "hard copy" and computer files to 
show the weapon as part of the registrant/ decedent's estate. 

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8. "Under the current Police Regulations, Articles 50-55, are all 
owners of rifles .and shotguns required to register such firearms 
pursuant to Article 51, section 1, in addition to being required to possess 
a license issued pursuant to Article 52, sections 2(b) and 5? If so, are 
there administrative difficulties in requiring both?" 

Asnwer. Yes. There are no administrative difficulties associated with 
dual requirement. 

9. "Under the current Police Regulations, tlie term 'destructive 
device' includes tear gas and tear gas bombs. How does the M.P.D.C 
currentiv monitor commerce in tear ^&a and tear gas bombs in the 
Distrct of Columbia? Does the M.P.^D.C. consider MACE to be a 
tear gas, a tear gas bomb, or another type of 'destructive device'?" 

Answer. The Firearms Registration Section makes unannounced 
periodic checks of all licensed deadly weapons dealers. These checks 
would include monitoring sales or stocks of destructive devices. In 
addition, they, together with other members of the force, investigate 
reports or indications of commence in destructive devices as they occur. 

The M.P.D.C. considers MACE to be a destructive device. In an 
opinion memorandum dated -lime 16, 1969 to then Chief of Police 
John B. Layton, Mr. Arthur L. Burnett, Legal Advisor to the Depart- 
ment, concluded the definitional language in Art. 50, §l(i) to be 
absolute, prohibiting all tear gas, regardless of the form it took or 
device used to deliver it to the target. ( )n June 17, 1970 the Corporation 
Counsel opined that "On-Guard", a pen-like aerosol instrument was 
not a destructive device because it contained neither tear gas nor 
mace, but rather "Oleoresin capsicum, suspended in mineral oil and 

firopelled by Freon 1 & 2." [Oleoresin capsicum is a derivative of the 
ruit of fastigiaum-cayenne or African pepper by acetone extraction 
and was considered by the Director of the D.C. Bureau of Laboratories 
to be no more damaging than red pepper.] Then on May 31, 1972, in 
another opinion, the Corporation Counsel concluded that a device 
called "1st Strike-CS-Aerosol Tear Gas" was a destructive device. 
The opinion did not discuss the competition of the compound, there- 
fore, it is felt that the name was both descriptive and dispositive. 
Thus, at the present time, all tear gas compounds including Mace 
{an adulterated form of tear gas) and compounds containing chloro- 
acetophenone (synonyms — phenacycholride, phenylchloromethyle ke- 
tone) are proscribed by the cited section. 



Memoraxdum 

Government of the District of Columbia, 

April 6, 1076. 
To: Hon. David A. Clarke. Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary and 

Criminal Law, D.C. Conucil. 
From: Judv Rogers, Jr., Special A-i>^istant for Legislation. 
Subject: Substitute draft to Bill No. 1-164, The Firearms Control Act 
of 1975. 
This memorandum is to advise you of Executive Branch views re- 
garding the subslitute draft to Bill No. 1—164, The Firearms Control 
Act of 1975. 



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We have reviewed the proposed substitute bill and find it to contain 
anumber of legally objectionable and administratively defective provi- 
sions which (line does not permit \is lo set forth here. Also, we think 
the proposed substitute bill extensively duplicates the existing Jaw 
without affecting much needed changes. 

Accordingly, we would like to nooperate with you in this matter and 
we propose to prepare a draft bill for your consideration in the near 
future. At that time, we would be liajjpy lo discuss our respective 
concerns. 

Memorandum 

Government of the District of Columbia, 

Metropoutax Police Department, 

April 15, 1076. 
To: Honorable David A. Clarke, D. C. City Council. 
From : Maurice J. Cullinaue. Chief of Poliw. 

Subject: Comments on Sections 20S and 408 of Substitute Draft to Bill 
No. 1-104, The Firearms Control Act of 1975. 

This siipplements my memoraiiduin to you dated March 29, and 
briefly presents the Department's views which you specifically re- 
quested ou the registration and reporting requirements in sections 203 
and 40S, respectively. The provisions are discussed seriatum, and the 
M.P.D.'s comments arc numbered for ease of reference. 
Seclion 20S — Jteqiriremenlsjor Ileglstration 

This section would appear to replace the contents of Article 51 §4 
and Article 52 §§ 4 and 5. By and large, it is a recapitulation of those 
sections.' But, because of the regulatory luethodology employed, the 
bill creates new problems not encouistered in the Police Reg;ulations. 
The bill seeks to create a single regulatory standard by which pistols, 
rifles, and shotguns would be certificated. While a single standard 
might nornialiy be an inipi'oveineut over ihe admittedly complicated 
arrangement found in Articles 50-55 of the Police Regulations, the 
District is confronted with Congre^siomilly created standards for pis- 
tols and an absence of standnrds for rilics and shotguns. Thus, by 
establishing a single standard the M.P.D., and protpecfive applicants 
for certilication of pistols inu>t pei'form a rather complicated exercise 
in mental gymnastics to iiscertain what llie bill requires over and 
above tlie Code and which portions of the bill conflict with the Code 
and are inapplicable. 

It is strongly su^ested that pistols be dealt with separately and 
rifles and shotguns be dealt with separately. 

Aside from this genera! view of the bill's approach, some of the 
particular changes pToposed would appear to have significant con- 
sequences. 

1. In § 203(a)(1) the minimum age requirement is lowered from 21 
to 18. While the Department fully realizes and believes that many 18 
year olds are mature, responsible and productive members of society, 
two problems with such a change are noted. First, the age of majority 



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in the District of Columbia is still 21. We believe there is no reason 
to carve out an exception to the 21 year age of majority rule. We are 
cognizant of pending legislation to effect such a change; but it is our 
view that there is no compelling reason (unlike voting) to treat fire- 
amis specially. If the age of majority is to be lowered to 18, then 
eligibility to register a firearm should await the enactment of such 
general legislation. 

2. Second, the draft offers less protection to the community-at- 
lai^e than the present provisions of the Police Regulations. Article 
52 § 5(f) provides that the Chief has discretionary authority to issue 
a rifle or shotgun license to a person in the 18-21 age group provided 
there is written proof that the appHcant's parent or guardian has given 
his or her permission, and more importantly, assumes responsibility 
for all damages connected to the applicant's use of the weapon.' As 
noted above, many 18 to 21 year ouls are capable of assuming finan- 
cial responsibility for their actions. On the other hand, many are not. 
It is unwise to strip from the regulatory scheme, in the absence of 
lowering the general age of majonty, the financial responsibihty pro- 
visions now part of the Police Regulations.' 

3. Section 201(a)(1) also employs the term "natural person". We 
a.ssume that the term natural person is meant to exclude business 
entities, and to require every gun to be registered to a named indi- 
viduaU* While we understand now it would be as.sumed that such a 
r^stration system would seeminglj' facilitate tracking weapons, the 
opposite would occur. 

Many weapcHis used by commissioned special police officers (SPO) 
are purchased and owned by the SPO's employer, whether it be in- 
house or rental guard arrangement. Assuming that the supervisor or 
chief of security for the employer registers the weapon, it would be- 
come difficult to administratively track the weapon by the registrant's 
name if the person registering the weapon were to leave. At the present 
time, the M.P.D. registers these weapons in the firm president's name, 
since there is less turnover in personnel at this level. Nevertheless, to 
a degree we do experience this very problem.* This iutuation is exac- 
erbated when a weapons violation occurs after the named registrant 
leaves the firm. Since the weapon is really the firm's and not the 
former employee's (but is registered in the latter's name) prosecution 
is virtually impossible. We believe that in situations where a business 
entity is going to employ armed guards or engage in a rental guard 
service, the firearms should be registered in the firm's name, or, in the 
firm's name and an individual's, thereby establishing dual responsi- 
bility for the weapon. Of course, where a shop owner (as opposed to 
a firm hiring its own SPO security force), seeks to register a weapon 
(that will not be carried by another on the employer's property), the 
re^stration should be in the name of the shopowner. 

> It mar well be prel^rmble to requfn all appllcmnta I< 
moeti as we ila for motor *«hlcle Ucensure. 

• Artlcl? 51 1 4 of the Police Retnilatlonir alwi useii the 
the nrotectlon •galDiit the u»e of required data to In 

*A relateil problem oeeara when the flrm mofea, whlcli In manf Brnn occurB quite fre- 
quenUy. It the rerlitratlon wai Id the Brm'ii uame an addreBK cbanse would be followed 
by an ameDdment (o our reglgtratlon flies. 



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4. In section 20^(a) (2) ineligibility to register a firearm is predicated 
upon a conviction for a crime of violence, as defined.' The Police 
Regulations presently renders a person ineligible if he has been con- 
victed in any jurisdiction of a felony involvir^ the use of force against 
another, or is under indictment for same.' The tlraft is deficient in two 
respects. First, it appears that a disabling conviction must occur in 
the District. Since the majority of states use similar definitioos for 
crimes of violence,' and more importantly, because the intent of the 
section is to keep weapons out of the hands of violent persons, the 
situs of the conviction should be irrelevant. The "any jurisdiction" 
iHiigutigc in the cited section of the Police Regulations should be in- 
cluded in the draft to eliminate any doubt as to the intent of the 
section. ' 

Second, wc believe the present r<^ulation is superior on this point 
in that it disables persons under indictment for violent crimes. If the 
indictment leads to conviction there is absolutely no justilication for 
a loophole allowing such persons to legally obtain a deadly weapon 
between the time they are chai^d and the time the judgment of 
conviction is entered.' Likewise, it is our view that the interest an 
indicted individual subsequently exonerated might have in registering 
a weapon durii^ the pendency of proceedings is far outweighed, on 
balance, by society's need to prevent violent criminals from easily 
obtaining weapons. In short, the hiatus between indictment and ac- 
quittal or dismissal is not too long a period to require a person to wait 
before being able to register and lawfully possess a weapon. 

5. Section 203(a)(2) also makes permanently ineligible persons con- 
victed of violations of the piovisions of the draft. Under the Police 
R^ulations, after 3 years the Chief has discretion to lift the disability 
for rifles and shotguns aft«r certain conditions ate met.'" While we 
believe violations of Articles 50 to 55 are serious, we do not believe 
such persons should be treated the same as persons convicted or 
indicted for felony crimes of violence, or treated more harshly tian 
convicted diug pushers." 

6. Section 203(a)(3) is defective for the reasons described in this 
paragraph and items 7 through 9, injra. First, it provides for a 5 year 
ineligibility for persons convicted of "weapons offenses" (except 
violations of the proposed regulation). "Weapons offenses" are nowhere 
defined. Other than 22 D.C. Code §§3201 et seq., and Articles 50-65, 
we can think of no other "weapons offenses". If a conviction under 22 
D.C- Code §§ 3201 et seq., is the intended scope of the provision, it 

n In 22 D.C. Code | 3^01 (1073 «<].), eimptlng tliercfrom lamnr. 

«BUlC or tbe F.B.I.'s Unlforni Crime It^porte Proeram, md certain 

nber of persons chnrged with violent crimes wb 

... . _ .ease, the elfett of sucli a loophole Is not Incoi 

....1M>. dr*s nut trnpk ppn-ons nrreBled for violent crimes with prloi „ 

beeniiHe of tinsnclal limitations, ntir recidivist xtuitlea are relevant, t'or eiample. In the t 
qiinrter of 1U7S. approximately ioVr of the penonH arrested lor atiEravatcd assault w< 
on release procrama for prior acts of aRinnvsted assaiilt. bnrclarv. homicide, rape, or r 
liery ; so were 4R% of thrise Hrrealed for burfitary : bo nere 44% of those arrested for hoi.. 
cide ; so were 78% of those arrested (or rape ; and so were 60% of those arrested for rob- 
berj-. ThUB. more than half the persons arrraled for Tlolent-type crimes had exhibited 
previous violent crime conduct warrantlne arrest. (ReclrtlTlst Report. Criminal Investlsa- 
thins nivlsluu. PebPiiary 10. 1B78). Under this draft, the 50+% of repeat violent crime 
nffendem (or the 4lh quarter of 1975 could legally register a gun. a clearly undesirable 



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would appear to amend $22-3203 of the Code. For example, it i^ a 
felony if a person convicted for maintaioinv a ban'dy house is subs^ 
quently twice convicted few p€>sr*s;siiig a pi:Jtol." If coii\"icted, a person 
is forever barred frwn keeping or p>o**s&ina: a piv^tol." However, under 
the draft bill, (if it is intended to effect an amendment in Title 22 of 
the D.C. Code) that pen«n would be eligible after five j-ears from the 
date of conviction. The provi-qon i< also amenable to an interpretation 
that would not amend the D.C. Code. For example, if a Person wiw 
Convicted of felony possession of a sand club," arguably a iveapons 
offense, the applicant after five years (assuming no other disabling 
events) would be able to register a rifle or shotjrun, but not a pistol 
because of § 3203. While this interpretive approach is logical, clarifica- 
tion as to the intended operation would be desirable. 

7. Second, there is no indication whether the weapons offense must 
have been committed in the District. It would be lo^cal to assume s*> 
since the language "in any jurisdiction" which appears in connection 
\\'ith the 5 year dis^ability for narcotics convictions is omitted in rela- 
tion to weapons offenses. Weapons offenses, if sufficiently serious to 
warrant excluding an applicant, is sufficiently serious wit^iout regard 
to the situs of the offense.'^ Indeed, there is as close if not a more 
concrete nexus with respect to weapons offenses than narcotics offenses. 
In our view, they are deservii^ of equal and lasting disqualification. 

8. Third, the provision is deficient because it does not exclude all 
convicted drug abusers from registering firearms, only those convicted 
of "narcotics" offenses. The D.C. Code denotes "narcotics" " and 
certain other "dangerous drugs" " in separate chapters of the D.C. 
Code. The language used could result m a serious regulatory gap. 
Indeed, the failure to make the class of disqualified drug abusers 
sufficiently expensive would also discriminate against narcotic abusers 
versus abusers of other drugs under the federal Controlled SubstaTices 
Act.'" Clearly, a convicted abuser of amphetamines is as dangerous to 
society as a convicted abuser of heroin. Their treatment under this 
bill should be the same. If the bill was intended to cover all drug-type 
offen-ses it should be made clearer. If it was intended- not to disqualify 
persons convicted under Chapter 7 of Title 33, such a policy decision 
would be an egregious mistake. 

9. Fourth, the Department opposes the attempt in this section to 
partially decriminalize marijuana. As proposed, persons convicted of 

fiossessing one ounce or less of marijuana would not be disquahfied 
rom registering and possessing firearms, if otherwise eligible. We shall 
not recapitulate our objections to decriminafization hero, but simply 
reaffirm and incorporate those objections.'* 

As otherwise pertinent, such an exclusion would be administratively 
unworkable. There would be no way, at the present time, without going 
through actual court records (and in some cases the triaJ tiansciipt) to 
determine whether the con\-iction was for simple possession of one 

u^SD.C. CndeH2T22and»Z03(3) (lOTSed.). 

<*/<f., I 3203(3). 

"M., i3214(L). 

•^Srf. 22 D.C. Code | 3Z0:ttB) (1973 ed.) which alao IgnoreB bltus In determining vlio 

■ilSD.C. Cmlf H01(n} (lB73ed.). 
"Id.. ITOl(l). 

" 31 tI,S.C.A. 801 et teg. Compare. J 802(18) with t S02I1). 

» Sep lettpr dal?d October 20, 1675 from Chief Cullloane to Councilman aark on BID 
1-44, and KcnerallT, the leglalatiTe record lor BUI 1-144. 



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ounce or less. Disposition records routinely forwarded to the Depart- 
ment by the U.S. Attornev. for example, would only reveal "CSA — 6 
mos,— suspended" or "UNA — 4 mos. — probation." Without a large 
infusion of manpower to make manual searches in cases where nar- 
cotics convictions are noted, the proposed scheme would be excessively 
burdensome and unreasonable.^" 

10. Section 203(a)(4) di^quahhos persons acquitted of a criminal 
chaise on groimds of insanity within five years preceding the applica- 
tion. Again, a c|uestion arises whether the situs of the ooense matters. 
Some states still adhere to the M'Nagkten ruie,^' while others have 
adopted more liberal positions." The Department beheves that situs 
should be irrelevant. Whatever the rule applied by the state in a partic- 
ular case, the M.P.D. would only be informed of the result, not the 
basis for the result. To i-equire anything beyond mere acceptance of the 
states' conclusions would impose a burden similar to that noted previ- 
ously with respect to decriminalization of marijuana. On the other 
hand, the proposed regidation could be read to be restricted to D.C. 
court determinations. However, we believe that result to be even less 
desirable. The M.P.D. has not encountered any difficulty implement- 
ing the insanity acquittal disqualification "by any court" under the 
Police Regulations.'^ We submit the present provision relating to 
acquittals by reason of insanity has not proven itself unworkable or in 
need of change and should be preserved. 

11. That same proviMion lengthens the period of disability from the 
3 >'ears provided tor by the Police Regulations to 5 years. The M.P.D. 
finds no fault with eitlier a 3-or-5 year hiatus. Rather, we believe the 
underlying philosophy to be deficient. Under the present provision the 
Chief may authorize pistol registration if he finds the person is, 
inter alia, mentally capable of safe and responsible possesaion and use 
of a pistol. Under the proposed version, qualification would become 
automatic after 5 years. In neither case is a qualified medical person 
required to first certify the person to be over trie "insanity" which up 
to that point has precluded registration. We believe that no person 
disqualified because of an insanity plea should be able to lawfully 
possess a weapon until the appropriate medical authorities are sure the 
condition is abated. Thus, in the absence of a medical determination 
the Chief should continue to be given discretionary authority to resist 
attempts to register weapons by persons whose very demeanor casts 
doubt on their recovery. 

12. Section 203(a)(5) disqualifies applicants who have been involun- 
tarily committed to a mental institution during the 5 years preceding 
the application. As noted in paragraph U, supra, we believe an appro- 
priate medical authority should be required to determine recovery 



n If the appllcaUDn requlnrd the appUcBnC to specify this data, the M.P.D, i 
. . d to rerWy It throimh ouurt recorda. 
nifSnghlen'aCait, in CiaitigcF. 200. 8 Enc Rep. 718. (1R43>. 
- ,. .. „ „-__- „„ ^... ^25. 15.1 P. 2d 758 ("•'•^' ■■'- 



...„., K.yon V. People, HO Cnlo. 425. 1S.1 P. Zd 758 (1915) (delusion) ; State v. Whilt. 
BS N.sr. ;ia4, Slly r. M 727 (10u4> (irreslutlble Impulse) ; Durham v. U.S., 94 U.S. App. 
II.C. 23R rl904). (Durham or prodiicl rule) (irhlle Dnrhatn Is no longer rolloivi-il In Ihe 
liixirlftt iif Coliimhia. U.S. v. Bi«ir»er. 153 U.S. App. D.C. 1 <1»73). the £>Hrhnni rnlp l» 
KtlH UKfA In some Stntes) ; People v. llemlerKOn, XS Cnl. Bptr. 77. -ISrt P. 2d n77 (l»e.l) 
IdliiilnlHbeH cnpaclty) ; Model Tonal Code | 4.01 (proposed official draft 1962) (aubstantld 

^.\rf, 52 15(e)(2)- 



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from the condition causing dLsqualificatioii. It is quite possible a person 
involuntarily committed would have been released 5 years prior to the 
application and still be .a danger to himwelt or others. Moreover, this 
very danger could be even more prevalent among voluntary patients, 
since they may leave medical facilities at will. We believe botli volun- 
tary and involuntary, patients should be disqualified, and for both 
categories medical certification of cure should be required prior to 
authorizing possession of deadly weapons. 

13. Section 203(a)(6) restates the language found in Art. 52 § 5(c)(6) 
of the Police Regulations, but extends it to include pistols as well as 
rifles and shotguns. At the present time, if the applicant appears 
phj-sically normal, the M.P.D. makes no further inquiry. The "physi- 
cal defect" test provides Httle guidance to police officers. For example, 
is a person without hands, but fitted with mechanical hands, suffering 
from a physical defect within the meaning of the draft language? 
Further, a physical defect connotes a permanently damaged or dis- 
abled body structure. Does this mean that persons suffering from 
temporary conditions, e.g., two broken hands, may still register u 
weapon even thongh he is physically incapable of using such a weapon, 
mncn less use it safely? 

Finally, under the Police Regulations the physical defect test goes 
to licensing of rifles and shotguns. We can think of many defects or 
conditions affecting the safe use of a rifle that would not interfere with 
use of a pistol. Is the same test to be applied without regard to the 
weapon involved. 

14. Section 203(a)(7) is patterned after Article 52 §S5(c)(5) and (7) 
and supplements the conviction disqualifications found in §g20:j("i)(2) 
and (3)." The main difference between the diaft and existing law is 
the increase in the disability period and elimination of the Chief's 
discretionary authority. Tfiis section should be combined witli 
§203(a)(3). "Convictions resulting in a 5 year disqualification should hv 
treated together for ease of reference. 

We also view these crimes to be serious enough to warrant ilis- 
qnaliflcation during the pen<lency of criminal charges.'- 

15. Section 203(a)(10) ^ is identical to Art. 52 §5(c)(9), with the 
exception of the proviso. Umlor the present regulatory scheme, one 
who violates the law bring 22 D.C. Code §3203 into play (relating to 
possession of a pistol) is ineligible to obtain a rilte or shotgun licence 
by operation of the cited section of the Police Regulations. The draft 
would permit a person disqualified from lawfully pos.sessing a pi^uA 
tinder §3203 to lawfully possess a rifle or shotgun. Such a result is, 
we believe, a weakening of the gun control laws in the District, and ii 
serious mistake. The same rationale leading Congress to coneludi' 
certain persons should not have pistols is applicable to denying such 
persons permission to possess a rifle or shotgun. We oppose any relnxii- 
tion of the rules prohibiting convicted persons from lawfully obtaining 
weapons." 

■' »«■ parainaplis *-!>. 'Hliia. 



.mltsj 21 
■II J kboteunit. 



_, , iHrllun Ih I^kbI KUrplURSw. Sin™ M i*t 

iiniler 22 D.C. Coilc i TilKt i-ollUI U"t luwrtilly iwskcbs i.u 
ilmft, tliP "Hlr wraiiaiiK ILul mulii iwnlHj fw finil"! 



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1 6. Scclion 203 (a) { 1 1 ) provides that tlie firearms knowledge standftrd 
need only be met once by eacli applicant. We disagree iri:?ofar a.s dif- 
ferent types of weapons are concerned. We believe that if a person 
first registers a pistol, the test provision may be waived for subsequent 
pistols. However, if that person subsequently seeks licensiu-e for ft 
shotgun, he should be required to meet the standard set by this section. 

17. The opening clause to §203(b) provides that the "Chief shall 
endeavor to obtain" certain infoimalion. Does this mean the M.P.D. 
can register a weapon after trying and failing to obtaui the enumerated 
information? Moreover, the burden appears to be placctt on the De- 
partment. We oppose a regulatory scheme placing such a burden on 
the M.P.D. Registration and licensing of a deadly weapon in tlie 
District is a privilege and it is the applicant's duty to meet the stand- 
nr<is established. Thus, the section shouhl be recast to place on the 
applicant the burden of furnishing the information required by the 
draft. 

18. Section 20:}(b)(:i) reduces the work history to be provided from 
5 years to 2 years preceding the application. Inasmuch as §203(ft} 
speaks in terms of 5 years for disqualification purposes, a 5 j'ear work 
history period is appropriate. Such data would assist the Department 
in leammg of or raise suspicions about out of state convictions, mental 
institutionalization, etc., during the 5 year period. 

19. Section 203(b)(6) restates the contents of Article 52 §4(b)(6). 
However, the former omits an important a-spect of the latter: the 
applicant is not required to provide any information concerning "any 
mishap involving [a firoarmj, including the date, place, and circum- 
stances and the names of persons injured or killed." Ina.smuch as 
mishaps such a.s here described are grounds for disqualification under 
§203(a}(8), such information should be required of each applicant. 
The M.P.D. opposes the omission. 

20. Section 20;i(b)(i0) asks whether the applicant is or is intending 
to be an SPO or private detective. The M.P.D. already a.sks for SPO 
coinmis.sion numbers and the description of intended use (e.g., geo- 
graphic, temporal) of the weapon is made a part of the commis.sion 
issued to the SPO. Similarly, if a private detective is going to carry a 
weapon while protecting the property of a client, he too, would be an 
SPO. It is our view that this section should be eliminated.*" 

21. Section 203(b) (11) asks whether the applicant has possessed the 
weapon since- the effective date of the bill, and if not, account for 
prior possessors. This section does not appear to be of any value to 
the Department.*' If the weapon had been previously registered, the 
Department could account for its whereabouts. If not, most applicants 
could only indicate who they purchased it from. The language in 
Art. 62 §4(b)(9) is preferable. 

22. The second proviso in § 203(c} should be deleted and inserted 
in a more appropriate section. Section 203(c) speaks to not using re- 
quired data as evidence in a criminal proceeding, with certain excep- 
tions. The secon<l proviso speaks to divestiture of weapons after 
denial of certification. While we agree this area is susceptible to abuse 

» It uilBht be aflvlBBblP to ndd a sprtloi 

rornmtlon an h» flwiiiK iie(<"8i'Bry to tarrj- ( 

™ThouKli not BxliPij (o mnijiirat im tl;. 

tloDu or tl>e t'litlre bUl." 



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under the present scheme, we are not convinced the three options 
provided for are viable either. For example, one of the 'i approved 
methods of divestiture appears to invite unsuccessful appHcants to 
violate federal law. The proviso states in part that an unsuccessful 
applicant may "remove the firearm in question from the District of 
Columbia for so long as he has an interest in . . . [it]." Suppose 
further that in accordance with this directive the person t^es a 
pistol to Vii^nia, leaves it with a friend, and thereafter sells it to his 
friend. It is a felony to sell, give, trade, transport or deliver any 
firearm to any person (except certain licensed individuals) who the 
transferor knows or has reason to believe is a lesident of a state otlier 
than that of the transferor.^" 

It is submitted that further study of this aspect of the gun control 
issue would be warranted prior to enacting any legislation. 

23. Section 203(d) should be left to the discretion of the Chief even 
if prints had been taken within the last 5 years. Some prints are 
destroyed inadvertently, or are not sufficiently clear. No one would 
be hurt by such a delegation of discretionary authority. 

24. Section 203(e) grants discretionary authority to require appli' 
cants to appear in person with the firearm to be registered. Thiii 
should be a mandator3' requirement. It would enable the personnel in 
the Firearms Registration bection the opportunity to inspect weapons 
for obvious defects. However, any such proWsion should explicitly 
protect the Department and its employees from liability for failure to 
discover any defect subsequently resulting in injury or death. 

SBCTIOM 408 — REPORTING " 

25. The M.P.D. opposes the monthly filing requirement imposed 
by § 408(a). The M.P.D. should not be made a storage facility for 
dealers' paperwork. Requiring a dealer to maintain at his place of 
business certain records, and to exhibit them upon demand to a police 
officer during business hours, would appear to serve the same purpose. 

26. Moreover, it is submitted that § 408(a) is too rigid in its ap- 
proach. A fiexible approach such as adopted by the Congress in the 
Gun Control Act of 1968 would be preferable.*' If a fle.vible approach 
were adopted the officials charged with enforcing the law would be 
able to determine the information necessary to accomplish their mis- 
sion and require same to be provided in a usable fashion. Congress 
adopted this approach in § 902(d) of the Gun Control Act of 1968.^ 
There, the Secretarj' of the Treasury was authorized to prescribe not 
only the types of records to be maintained by the licensee, but also 
the types and timing of reports to be filed based on the records. We 
believe such a framework would be more appropriate to achieve the 
desired result. 

27. In light of pari^raphs 25 and 26, § 408(b) should be deleted. 



CA. tt)S2(a)(5) (Supp. 19TS). 
~-ndlx B for fon.|iarlson In pilslli 

A. t 921 el lev. (Supr. 1976). 

A. I «(""-' "■ •»■">. T.h. 



■ Apppnillx B for 
L-.S.C.A. 



_. _._ , „, , 5"PP. 1978). These commenU. as prevloimly noted, were UpePifl- 

(TiU.v requested. While we believe adoption of the sucBestions made would preatlr laprove 
II 2o;i and 40l>, we continue to believe the bill to be similarly deficleat elaewhere to pte- 
Huile Hupportlne Its passa^-e. Oleniorandum ul Jud; Rogers to Councilman Clarke dated 
Aiirll 6, 10T6). 



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COMPMRISON OF SE 



s»c.?03(ixn Aft.w« 

SK.ni3<aXZ> AiI.S2h 

S«.M3(lX3) - at 52 11 

S«.»l3(iX*) — A>t52H 

S«.M3(iX5) Art52« 



■.5(tX«>.'(i)-V. 

.!<tX3).<5)- 

M.5(CX2> 

M.5<CX2)- 

«5<cX6)-. 
K. bCcXS), 
K. 5(cX!)- 
«c. McXW. 



(?)... 



SfcZOViXIl) *rt.Mw 

S«.203(iXlO Art 52 » 

SK.2ra(b»l)_ ArLMw 

StcarnXZ) _. AiLSZw 

S«e.Z0JtbK3) Art.6?n 



203(6X') Art. 52 1* 

203(liXB>-- A>t5ii» 

JOXtVS) AiLSZi* 

203(liXlO)— - 

i03(l>Xn> Art 52 I* 

aixbxii) 

203(li!(»S («)...._ 

203(0 ArLSI j» 

a.;:;;;;::;;.*"-"" 

203<t) Art.S2ift 



ami.- 



.. OiiabUity IncrwMd ham 3 tai 5 yi lor wuponi ind 
nctiom: miriliuKii and oulotStiWwMiion afl*i 

,. Dli*bllit)riiK(in«dltoin3to5vrlDriiiunity acquitl 
)i>iidElin piMt nudi (llBi bk, 

,. OiiabHitr iKiMiid from 3 Is 5 yr; tail chanittl In 



Mind panni" in rcgiitrttrH 



. Prior Hoik Miloiy praviovii In 



.- Omits itiMnwnl of nt 



. WhiViir waipan poiHiMd by applicant iIk» mactmait of 



.. Eipinds fittptiiMi ; raiiiiifn divntitur* si weapon H 
.. All applianb may b< pnotwaphsd. 



■A AND THE POLICE REUtLATIONS 



rc.408(>XI).-. 
ic408(aX2)... 



ic. 408(aXS). . . 
ic.4a8(aX6).-. 

K. 408(b) 



.- Monthly reiwrti, deal 

.. Ibiit.. tmpliiyae dala. 

.. Ibid., wupwis invenhMy data. 

.. Ibid., (esair data. 

._ Ibid.. uIh data. 



munition-ialei data. 



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House District Committee Staff Summary of the Council's 
Gun Control Act 



1-142, IN THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 



Be it enacted by the Council oj the District of Columbia, That this act 
may be cited as the "Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975". 

Section II defines the findings and purpose, including r^istration 
of all firearms, owned by private citizens, hereby makir^ it more 
difficult to obtain firearms. 

TITLE I — DEFINITIONS 
TITLE II DEALS WITH FIREARMS AND DESTRUCTIVE DEVICES 

Section SOI — Registration required. — Prohibits persons or organiza- 
tions from receiving, possessing or having under his control any 
firearm unless he hijids a valid registration certificate. Organizations 
may be registered if they employ persons Ucensed to carry firearms for 
use during duty hours. Law enforcement agencies or Federal, State 
and local governments are exempt while on duty as are persons holding 
a valid dealer's license. Nonresidents who are participating in any 
lawful recreational firearm activity are e-xempt, provided he keeps 
the weapon unloaded and securely wrapped and in open view. 

Section 202 — Unregiaterabie jirearms. — No registration certificate 
will be issued for sawed-off shotgun, machine guns, short^barreled 
rifles and pistols not previously registered. Pistols not possessed in 
conformity with the law prior to the effective date of this act are also 
unre^sterable. 

Section SOS — Application and prerequisites for registration.—Ko 
legistration certificate shall be issued to anyone under 21 (18 and 
above with parent or guardian). The parent or guardian must assume 
liabilities for damages for persons under 21. No registration will be 
is.sued if: 

(a) The applicant has been convicted of a crime of violence, weapons 
offense, or violation of this act. 

(b) The applicant is under indictment for weapon offense. 

(c) The applicant has been convicted within 5 years of a narcotics 
violation, physical threat, assault or use of a firearm. 

(d) The applicant has been adjudicated chronic alcoholic or insane. 

(e) The applicant has been involuntarily committed to a mental 
hospital. 

(;) The applicant has a phj-sical defect which would prohibit him 
from using tlie firearm safely. 

<88) 



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(g) The applicant has been adjudicated negligent in a firearm mishap. 

(A) The applicant does not have vision equal to that required for a 
driver's license. 

The applicant must demonstrate satisfactorily a knowledge of the 
laws of the District of Cohimbia pertaining to firearms and a knowledge 
of safe use of firearms under standards prescribed by the Chief of 
Police. Everyone applying for a registration certificate must provide a 
full background, including name, address, business, date of birth, sex, 
previous firearm record, intended use of firearm, description of firearm, 
where purchased, where it will be kept, and other information as the 
Chief of Police determines necessary. 

SecHon SO4— fingerprinting, pictures, personal appearances. — The 
applicant shall a[)pear in person and submit photographs of himself, 
and may he required to be fingerprinted and bring the firearm ^rith 
him. 

Section 205 — Application under oath; /ees.— Provides for an oath 
and fees. 

Section 206 — Filing times jor new purchase and firearm entering the 
District; previously registered firearma. — Application for registration 
shall take place prior to the taking possession of a firearm or inmiedi- 
ately after firearm has been brought into the District. Firearms regis- 
tered prior to the effective date of this act must be registered witnin 
60 days of the effective date of this act. 

Section 207 — Issuance of registration certificate. — The Chief of 
Police shall issue registration certificates upon the determination that 
the applicant is entitled. The Chief of Police shall approve or deny an 
application within 60 days except for previoiisly registered firearms in 
which he will have one year. The Chief of Police may correct all errors 
in applications. 

Section 20S — Duties of registrants. — Each registrajit must notify the 
Chief of Police in writing of the loss, theft, or tiestruction of certincate, 
the sale or transfer of the firearm, or change in any of the information 
appearing on the certificate. Information must be provided as to the 
transferee or purchaser of the firearms. The Chief of Police must also 
be notified of any transfer, theft, or loss of a firearm. The registrant is 
also required to keep the certificate with him whenever in possession of 
the firearm. 

Section 209-^Iievocali.on. — The certificate shall be revoked upon 
failure to comply with Section 203 regarding eligibility criteria or upon 
discovery of false information on the application. The certificate may 
also be revoked for failure to report to the Chief of Police loss, theft, or 
transfer of the certificate or the firearm. 

Section 210 — Procedures Jor denial or revocation. — E^tab)i5>hes pro- 
cedures for notification, service and time for applicant to be heard 
regarding revocation or denial of a certificate. Appeals may be made 
from the Chief of Police's decision pursuant to the Administrative 
Procedures Act. 

Section 211— Certain information not to be used as evidence. — Infor- 
mation obtained pursuant to this title shall not be used in criminal 
proceedings with respect to violation of this act. 

64 



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TITLE III — ESTATES CONTAINING FIREARMS 

Executors must notify the Chief of Police upon the death of a 
person who owns a firearm. The executor must comply with the act 
concerning registration, but shall not be liable for cruninal penalties. 

TITLE IV — LICENSING OF FIREARMS BUSINESSES 

Section 401 — Prokibitions, exceptioTis. — No person or organization 
i^hall manufacture a firearm, destructive device or ammunition within 
the District. No person or organization shall deal in flreanus without 
first obtaining a dealers license. No licensee shall deal in prohibited 
firearms except with a Government agency. 

Section ^02 — EHgibUity. — Anyone eligible to register a firearm and 
eligible under Acts of Congress to engage in such business, may register 
as a dealer. Each must fiJe ail application containing all the information 
required to register a firearm and the applicant's prior activity in the 
deadly weapons business and such other information as tjie Chief of 
Police may require. 

Section %03 — Issuance 0/ a Dealer's License Procedvre. — The Chief of 
Police shall, upon investigation, issue a dealer's license or deny it within 
a 60-day period. The Chief of Police may also correct errors in the 
license application. 

Section 4O4 — Duties of Dealers. — The dealer is required to: (1) dis- 

[tlay license ; (2) nptify the Chief of Police in writing of theft or loss of a 
icense; (3) notify the Chief of Police of change in the information on 
the registration form; (4) keep a record book containing information 
about each employee, each firearm registered and sold, name and ad- 
dress of persons from whom weapons were purchased, price paid, date 
and time of receipt of weapon for repair, date returned, complete in- 
formation on all firearms sales, and complete information on all am- 
munition sales. All of the above information must be made available 
to the Police Department during business hours. The Chief of Police 
may require any record information to be submitted. 

Section 405 — Revocation.^A dealer's license may be revoked for 
failure to keep proper records or for failure to provide adequate 
information on his application. 

Section 406—Procedure« for denial and revocation. — Establishes pro- 
cedures for notification, service and time for applicant to be heard re- 
garding revocation or denial of a certificate. Appeals may be made from 
the Chief of Police decision puivsuant to the Administrative Procedures 
Act. If there ia a revocation decision, he must register such firearms 
which are capable of registration and surrender the rest to the Chief of 
Police. 

Section 407 — Displays, employees. — Dealer shall not display firearms 
or ammunitions in windows. All firearms and ammunitions shall be 
kept locked, except when being shown, repaired or beii^ worked on. 
All dealer's employees mustibe eligible to register a firearm under this 
act. 

Section 408-~'Fvrearm markings. — Dealers may not sell firearms 
without an identification number on them. 

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Section 501 — Prohibition. — No transfer or sales of firearms shall be 
made except as provided in this act. 

Section 502 — Permissible sales and transfers. — Anyone may sell or 
transfer ammunition or firearms except as provided by this act to a 
licensed dealer. Any dealer may sell part of his inventory to a non- 
resident pursuant to acts of Congress, and the purchaser's jurisdiction 
or to any other licensed dealer. He may also sell to government agents 
within the scope of their duty. Dealers may not seU to persons whom 
the Chief of Folic* has denied a registration certificate. Anyone may 
dispose of a firearm or ammunition after the Chief of Police has hem 
notified and a registration certificate has been obtained. 

TITLE VI — POSSEaSION OF AHHUNITIOIV 

No one may possess ammunition unless he is a licensed dealer, 
government agent, holder of a government registration certificate for 
the weapon using that ammunition, or ammunition collector. 

TITLE VII — GENERAL PROVISIONS 

Section 701 — Pledges and Loans. — No firearm op ammunition may 
be used for a deposit, pledge, or pawn, and no person may loan, 
borrow, give or rent a firearm. 

Section 702 — Condition oj permitted firearms. Except for law enforce- 
ment officers, each registrant shall keep all firearms unloaded and 
disassembled or bound by a trigger lock, except when being used for 
recreation purposes or at a place of business. 

Section 70S — Firing ranges. Persons operating a range in the District 
shall register with the Ciiief of Police information concerning location, 
officers, type weapon fired, type of weapons stored, hours of operation 
and other information as the Chief of Police may require. 

Section 704— False information, Jorgery, alteration. False information 
may not be given and documents may not be foiged. 

Section 705 — Voluntary surrender; immunity. There shall be immu- 
nity from prosecution ifor persons who voluntarily imd peaceably 
surrender weapons and ammunitions. Such weapons shall be destroyed 
unless used for evidence. 

Section 706 — Penalties. Not more than $300.00 or not more tlian 10 
days for the first offense; subsequent offenses $300.00, and 10 to 90 
days or both. 

Section 707 — Public education program. The Chief of Police shall 
carry on a suitable public education program about this act. 

Section 708 — Repealers. Repeals regulations no longer necessary. 

Section 709^Confiict with Federal law. Compliance with this act 
does not excuse noncompliance with Federal laws. This act does not 
supersede existing statutes of the District and of the United States. 

Section 711 — Savings clause. — If any provision of this act or the 
application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the 
remainder of tiiis act and the application of such provision to other 
persons not similarly situated or to other circumstances shall not be 
effected thereby. 

Section 712 — Effective date. Thirty-day layover pursuant to Home 
Rule Act. 



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67 

The Ch aibma n. It is my hope that this committee acting on the 
resolution before us will acknowledge that the test of whether Con- 
gress should interfere with the will of the local council, is whether 
Uie legislation in question either exceeds the authority granted to 
the council or impinges upon the Federal interest. 

That is the question. The substantive issues have already been dis- 
cussed at the local level. We have on our witness list Mr. Paul, who 
will be accompanied by several people, and we also have on the witness 
list Mr, Ashbrook of Ohio. While we await the arrival of those witr 
nesses, the Chair intends to call upon the Corporation Counsel, Mr. 
John Risher, who is here. 

Mr. Whalen. Mr. Chairman, Congressman Paul is now here. 

The CiiAiRMAx, Will the gentleman step up then ? I am sorry. While 
Mr. Paul is taking his seat, I would like to yield to the gentleman 
from Maryland, Mr. Gude, for any statement he might have. 

STATEMENT OF BEFKESENTATIVE GUDE 

Mr. Gti»E. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I certainly 
want to thank you for calling the meeting so we can deliberate on a 
resolution introduced by our colleague, the gentleman from Texas. 
I am very interested in his statement and I think we should deliberate 
with care on it. It is a matter that should be considered by the entire 
District Committee, 

Without prejudging, I would state that to state that the subject * 
matter of our deliferations this morning, namely, gun control, evokes 
intense passion would be to indulge in understatement. Yet we all have 
to recognize that gun control does just that. If we proceed with this 
fact firmly in mind, I feel we will be better able to address ourselves 
objectively to the resolution of disapproval that has been introduced 
by our colleague. 

I think we are all aware that under the Constitution, the Congress 
has the responsibility of legislating for the District. We are equally 
aware that by virtue of the Home Rule Act we delegated that responsi- 
bility with certain limitations to a locally elected government. 

That government in an exercise of self-government and within the 
limitations of the Home Rule Act has enacted a measure regulating 
the use of weapons in the District. As an expression of the will of the 
people in the District of Columbia, this was passed. 

I feel we in the Congress should respect and not interfere with that 
expression. We must not, Mr. Chairman, allow passion to rule reason 
as we deliberate the matter before us. Certainly there have been and 
will continue to be sharp differences of opinion over the efficacies of 
any approach to gun control but we have before us a decision on the 
matter which was made by a duly elected local government, a decision 
with which some of us might not agree in every detail. 

But nevertheless it is a decision made on the local level after 
extensive debate and deliberations. I daresay that if a municipality 
back in our home districts enacted such leaislation, I don't believe 
that any one of us would try to introduce a bill in Consress to nullify 
that legislation made by a duly constituted municipality in our own 
district. 

So I don't think, Mr. Chairman, we should undo on the local level 
here "in the District what the Congress of the United States has really 



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failed to do on the national level, namely, begin the process of ctirtail- 
ine the availability of handguns. 

We have a long way to go if we are ever able to achieve that goal- 
Each step in this direction moves us closer to its achievement. Con- 
gress still wants to play the role of the city council for the District. 

We have delegated that function to the local government. IJet's 
permit that local government to exercise it. For us to do so in this 
mstancfl wonld not be an abdication of our constitutional 
responsibility. 

So I hope that the full committee will deliberate very carefully od 
this, Mr. Chairman. I think this is something for which every member 
of the District Committee has a responsibility. 

Thank you. 

The Chairman. Thank you. Mr. Fauntroy ? 

STATEMENT OF DELEGATE FAUBTKOT 

Mr. Fauntrot. Mr. Chairman, I want to associate my remarks with 
both tiiose of the chairman and of the ranking minority member, with 
the chairman in reference to the statement that the only issue here is 
whether the Federal interest is in any way infringed upon bv the 
action of the duly-elected local body, namely the mayor and cily 
council of the District of Columbia and whether that Federal interest 
is so endangered that it justifies denying self-determination to the 
750,000 people of the District of Columbia, 

I certainly want to associate myself with the ranking minority 
member as relates to the need for us to uphold the judgment of this 
duly elected body. I want to disassociate myself from his remarks by 
saymg that my statements hereafter are prejudgments. 

They are prejudiced. At this point, Mr. Chairman, I am very an- 
noyed at the situation in which the citizens of the Nation's Capital 
must have the judgments of their duly elected officials subject to the 
whim, political whims of the country. In recent days and certainly 
today, we see again the emotional question of gun control being used 
as it has been over the years and as other issues have been used over 
the years to deny the people of this city the basic right of self- 
determination. 

We in the District find ourselves the whipping boy on this question 
in two regards. The Members of this Congres, when convenient, decry 
the crime and violence on the streets of our Nation's Capital and ex- 
aggerate that situation. When the people are afforded an opportunity 
to elect public officials who, after well-considered judgment, s^k to 
take at least one of the deadly implements out of the hands of citizens, 
find tiiemselves being criticized and brutalized and denied self-deter- 
mination on the question of that effort to be responsive and responsible 
to the wishes and desires of the people of this city. 

So, Mr. Chairman, I do hope that reason will prevail in the delibera- 
tions which we have and in the response that we will now receive to 
this action on the part of the duly elected representatives of the people 
of this city. 

The Chairman. Anyone else seek recognition ! 
Mr. McKiNNET. ,Tust briefly, Mr. Chairman. 
The Chairman. Mr. McKinney. 



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SIATEHENT OF BEFBESEKTATITE HcEIinTET 

Mr. McKiNNET. It is verj seldom on this committee, since our 
present chairman became chairman, that I have disagreed with him. 
I tJiink I disagree, though, on the bill of the extension of prohibition 
of changing the criminal code because I felt it was an infringement on 
home rule. 

I was not here during the debate but I did write the President a 
letter suggesting very strongly, particularly after what happened to 
the bill, that he veto that particular piece of legislation. 

I lUSt have got to say once again that no matter how foolish our 435 
heads may assume a City Council action to be, the City Council, not 
Stewart McKinney, is the elected body to run the city of Washington. 
My efforts on this committee will be to hopefully get the city a decent 
fiscal base from which to opprate and several other things and hope- 
fully we can toss our expertise to other urban problems and let Ster- 
ling Tucker and the Mayor of Washington who were elected by the 
people of Washington run the city of Washington. 

The Chaisman. Any other comments ? 

fNo response.] 

The Chairman. Without objection, the statement from the gentle- 
man from Montana, Mr, Melcher, will be included in the record. 

We have a communication from the gentleman indicating a conflict 
this morning. Otherwise, he would be here. Without objection, the 
statement will be included in the record. 

Without objection also the District Council hearings on the resolu- 
tions will also bo included in the record. 

[The documents referred to follow :] 

Statement Of Corgbebsman Johb Melcheb of Montaaa 

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, the District of Columbia City 
Council's apparent effort to combat crime b; enacting the E'irearms Control 
Regulations Act In July Is ml^uided and unwise, and It should be defeated by 
Congress. I nt^e this Committee to recommend passage of a disapproving 
resolution by the House, as provided for under D.C.'s home rule charter. 

First, it appears the Council ma; have acted out of concert with the District 
of Columbia Self Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, which 
denies the Council authority to take any actions "with respect to any provision 
of any law codified in Title 22 or 24 of the District of Columbia Code" prior 
to January 1977. Thia firearms act clearly makes reference to and supplements 
Title 22. 

Second, this latest D.C. firearms action creates a series of ridiculous intru- 
sions on the basic rights of D.C. residents ; at the same time it does absolutely 
nothing to curb crime. Congress repeatedly has declined to enact harassing 
gun control legislation for the general populace of the United States because 
of constitutional qnestions and the obvious lacli of results in eUminating crime. 
How inappropriate it would be for Congress to stand by and allow a federal 
entity to force on a small part of American citizenry a block on new handgun 
possessions, registration for all legal guns, including sportsmen's rifles and 
shotguns, stringent personal owner demands, extensive record-keeping and 
manufacture bans. From my understanding of this act, It would be illegal tor 
you to own a shotgun without registering and telling police where you kept It. 
You could be fined $300 for loanli^ It or Its ammunition to a hunting partner 
or for having shells in your possession not fitting your registered gnu. The 
police also could have you fingerprinted. If we talked about legislation like 
that in HoDtana. my couatltaeut* wonld say the police state has arrived, and 
they'd be right. 



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70 

In addition, it should I>e obvloQa tliat dealing witli the crlmlnBls in om 

Boclety, those who will press their evil goals with or without guns, ^th what- 
ever weapon they have to intimidate, injure and murder their victims, never 
could be solved b; trying to ignore the criminale tliemseives and instead trying 
to manufacture a panacea throngh the ridicnloua meclianics ot gun controls. 
A recent study by Treasury Department's Bureau of Alcoliol, Tobacco and Fire- 
arms pretty well demonstrates that the only results of tlie D.C. la^v would be 
that the D.C. hoodlum would get his illegal gun from somewhere else but law 
abiding citizens would be re.-trlcted in owning a protective handgtm. 

Rather than engaging in this dangerous liind of law-maliing, the D.C. Council 
should be encouraged by us in Congress to strengthen its mandatory seutencing 
provisions for those using a gun in committing a crime. The punishment shonld 
be certain and swift for those guilty of using a gun in commission of a crime. 
A severe penalty for such a criminal would soon work as prevention of crimes 
involving guns. 

Once again, I urge the Committee's support of a disapproving resolntlos. 
We need to block this kind of precedent-setting legislation which only liaraBSeB 
law-abiding citizens. 

The Chairman. The Chair is delighted to welcome to the witness 
chair Hon. Ron Paul, U.S. Representative from the 22d District 
of Texas, The gentleman was elected in a special election and this 
may be his first appearance before any congressional committee. 

We are delighted to be a part of this historical event. If the gentle- 
man could identify his staff, we will proceed to receive his testimony. 

STATEMENT OF HON. EON PATTL, A EEPRESENTATIVE IK CONGEESS 
FEOM THE STATE OF TEXAS, ACCOMPANIEr BY EITFUS PECK- 
HAM, A CITIZEN OF THE BISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 

Mr. Paul. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I am delighted 
to be here. I have Mr. Rufus Peckham from the District of Columbia 
here, a citizen from the District of Columbia. 

The Chairman. I thank the gentleman. Mr. Paul, you have sub- 
mitted a statement to the committee. 

Mr. Paul. I have a rather long, written statement that I have 
submitted. I will try to summarize that in my own words. I am 
indeed grateful that you are holding the hearing and have invited 
me to testify on this resolution^House Concurrent Resolution 716 — 
of disapproval. 

This was introduced with eight cosponsors and it is an act with 
respect to title 19 of the District of Columbia Code which is pro- 
hibited by the Home Rule Charter. I feel as though I have received 
tremendous support this week for my endeavors. 

I think the mood of the Congress, both the House and the Senate, 
is with me in that this was enacted — ^this was an act that should not 
have been legislated by the D.C. Council. 

I certainly can interpret the support from the House and the Senate 
as saying that the bill should not have passed and also on my position 
of no strong gun control laws. 

OPPOSES OUN CONTROL ACT 

I feel as though there is no authority to pass such a law as the 
Firearms Control Act, I base this on three principles. I believe that 
law itself taken by itself is an unconstitutional law. I think it is a 
totally noneffective law. I do not think it can do what you would like 
it to do, tmfortimately. 



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71 

I would like to stop crime but this will not work. I believe — and 
this is the strongest position — that the procedure that was followed 
is illegal. First, 1 will take the unconstitutional pounds. I believe 
that the second amendment does protect the individual law abiding 
citizen's right to bear arms, to keep weapons for his protection. 

I dont think there is really any question about that, I believe that 
I get support for the right to bear arms and not be harrassed with a 
lot of regulations with the ninth amendment as well. 

If you would look on my testimony on pages 2 to 4, you can look 
at the tremendous list of requirements tlmt you as a Congressman 
or any citizen in District of Columbia must fulfill in order to own 
a weapon for his self-defense. 

If you are any way at all concerned about civil liberties I would 
think you would interpret this as an encroachment of your civil 
liberties. For a Congressman to be fingerprinted in order to own a 
defensive weapon and be living entirely within the law to me violates 
his civil liberties. 

I think it is rather ironic that we in the Congress when we pass laws 
with regard to welfare, we do all we can to uphold the respect and 
the dignity of that person who has applied. We try not to belittle 
him and make him reveal every thing about himself in order to 
qualify. We want to recognize his dignity. 

And yet when we look at what we do to the law abiding productive 
citizens of society, I think we have some serious questions to ask. If 
you take, for example, the Internal Revenue Service, what they do 
to the productive citizen versus what we fry to prevent — prevent the 
same thing to the person who is receiving welfare, I think these 
regulations demonstrate this, too. 

To put the regulations on the law abiding citizen, to me is unjust. 
In section 302 of the Home Rule Act, this guaranties that the law 
be consistent with the Constitution. This does obligate us. We cannot 
say this is a city responsibility. 

Some day that may come about. But you cannot dodge that question 
and say it is the City Council's responsibility. The Home Rule Act 
puts it on us. Historical precedent puts it on us. There is no way in 
the world that you can keep the argument that we don't have a re- 
sponsibility and an obligation to look at the laws that are passed there 
and rule on them, whether it is by negative and by inadvertent method 
of not looking at it and letting the law come into effect or by an active 
method. 

I think either wav, we do have a responsibility. In the introduction 
of the District of Columbia Firearms Control Act, it explicitly says 
it is to limit the types of weapons persons may lawfully possess. This is 
attacking the lawful, the legal, the rightful ownership of weapons and 
this is to limit it. 

To me that is limiting rights. I would like to address now the subject 
of whether or not a law like this can be effective. It is my personal 
opinion and conviction that the law causes more trouble. It is not effec- 
tive. It can even be compared to what happens when you prohibit 
alcohol or drugs. 

It makes them illegal. They become more expensive. Those who will 
break the law will certainly use them. We did learn a lesson with pro- 
hibition. We did not learn a lesson that illegal drugs make prices go 



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up very, very high and people commit many crimes in order to get 
money to buy high priced drugs. 

I would think the underworld who would make profit on black- 
market guns would welcome the illegality of owning guns. 

I think that the best example to demonstrate is the example of in 
the thirties when we had the prohibition of alcohol how it increased 
crime. I believe any gun law will increase crime and not reduce it. 

There are good statistics to back this up. Even in Washington, D.C.. 
less than one-half of 1 percent of crime committeed with weapons 
which are registered. 80 percent of the guns that they take from crimi- 
nals come from outside the District. So the registration laws have 
done no good at all. We cannot ignore that fact. 

I am convinced also that societies that have in the past, that have 
had strong gun control laws are always societies that have had less 
freedom. Usually it sets the trend. The stronger the gun control laws, 
in the future the less freedom we have down the road. 

This is backed up by iiistory. Recently there liave been more studies 
out. Many people have been converted from the idea that strong gun 
control laws do any good. There was one Franklin Zimmerink who 
was a well known gun control enthusiast. He has changed his opinion 
on this. 

He says it doesn't work after he has looked at the studies. There is a 
Center for Criminal Justice at the Harvard Law School that did study 
the Massachusetts Gun Law which is a tough gun law. Their conclu- 
sion is that it has done no good in Massachusetts. 

EXPERIENCES IN OTHER COUNTRIES 

Cambridge University in 1970 studied the 1920 gun law in England. 
They came to the conclusion that the gun law in England does not 
create less crime or less violence. New York City's gun law is tougher 
than the gun law in England and yet crime and the use of weapons in 
crime is much greater in New York City than in England, 

Switzerland, they have no strict gun control laws. There are more 
guns per capita in Switzerland than any other place in the world with 
a very low crime rate. Wo cannot ignore these statistics. The Uni- 
versity of Wisconsin made a comprehensive study tliroughout all our 
States. They agree that strong gun laws will not reduce crime. 

If there is the least chance that we are going to violate the rights 
and the civil liberties of the individual and it does not do any good, we 
should think seriously about the efficacy of gun laws. 

More specifically to this particular law we are talking about, and 
this is the one I think you must pay attention to because whether or 
not you would like to give the responsibility to the City Council, the 
truth of the matter is it is you, the District of Columbia committee, 
that still has a tremendous amount of responsibility for what is 
happening in the District of Columbia. 

LIBRARY OP CONGRESS OPINION 

This law is illegal. There is a statement now put out by the Library 
of Congress agreeing with this. There is no question. It is a flat state- 
ment that the law passed by the District of Columbia is illegal. I think 
the sentiment of both the House and the Senate indicates that not only 



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78 

ia the mood against it but agrees that the method is not a proper 
procedure. 

I don't think the law will hold up, I don't think, regardless of what 
you do, if it goes into effect, if it does not accomplish what some think 
it will, what is going to happen is this law is going to be challenged 
and it is going to be thrown out and then they are going to come back 
and say you know Confess is supposed to overlook tliis, the District 
of Columbia committee is supposed to overlook this. 

If the law has been written so poorly and they have violated so many 
things even I as a nonattorney can clearly see, they are going to come 
back and say who supervised this ? 

Who permitted this thing to go into law ! 

I think you have to look at this and consider the facts that I have 
outlined in my testimony. The outline occurs from page 7 to page 17 on 
the defense, my defense that this law is illegal. 

It is clear that there is exclusive authority in the same area of title 
22 of the District of Columbia Code found in 602(a) (9) of the Home 
Kule Act. This does rive Congress and the District of Columbia Com- 
mittee exclusive authority over this and the Council cannot change 
title 22 of the District of Columbia Code. There is no way you can read 
that into it. 

Now the Council, the City Council's defense is and through their 
committee on judicial and civil law, their defense is that it does not 
change title 22, We are not really dealing with title 22. But there is 
no argument there at all. They mention title 22 seven times in their 
description. 

They sent it to Congress for approval as if it were part of a change 
in the criminal code, I have a copy or part of a letter put into the record 
from the police chief and he makes the assumption that in there that 
we are changing the criminal code. 

For them to argue that we are changing police regulations and say- 
ing that this is not superseding the criminal code is just not so. You 
eimer have to change it or supersede it. The directions in the Home 
Rule Act says that they have no authority to enact any act. resolution 
or rule with respect to any provision of any law in title 22. 

It could not be more clear than that. Not only this, but if you go 
back — and I have substantiated this — if you look at the conference 
report in the discussion of the Home Kule act and if yon look at the 
floor debate when this was debated on the floor, it is explicit. 

They do not have the real legal right. You might argue on the moral 
justification that they should have and work for that, but that is a 
different story. Right now they do not have the legal right to change 
the code and there is no question in my mind that tliey have changed 
the code. 

If you read the bill carefully, they refer to different parts of the gun 
control bill, the act, and the numwrs they refer to don't even exist. 
There are three blatant errors in this law. If you want to go on record 
as accepting this either by ignoring this or not disapproving it, I think 
that it is a serious error because you are condoning some very, very 
poor legislation. 

I think it is very important to disallow this law. I think it is im- 
portant to remain legally consistent. I think it is important to remain 
constitutionally consistent. I think it is very important to consider tiie 
fact that the law won't do any good at all, anyway. 



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74 

I think the other concern that I have is the fact that this law, when 
it is on the books, you might argue that this city deserves the same 
treatment as any other city but it happens to be a very, very unique 
city. A gun control law like this on the books could be very detrimental 
to the constitutional rights of everybody else in this county. 

So I do think that it deserves serious consideration and I hope you 
will agree with me on this. 

Thank you. 

The Chairman. We thank the gentleman. Mr. Gude, do you have 



Mr. Gude. Xo questions, Mr. Chairman. 

The Chairman. Mr. Fauntroy? 

Mr. Fauntrot. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Congressman Paul, you 
make the point that the City Council's authority to pass this regulation 
is challenged by the Library of Congress ? 

Mr. Paul. Right; I have a copy of this I will submit with my re- 
port 

Mr. Fauntrot. I have a copy before me and that Library of Con- 
gress conclusion is that, as you see, and I quote it "An examination 
of the arguments suggests that the Firearms Control Regulation Act 
exceeds the authority." 

To suggest and to conclude are of course quite different. Secondly, 
if you read the report, earlier, in reviewing the history of the exer- 
cise of legislative authority by the appointed City Council in utilizing 
the police regulations as a vehicle the courts concluded that there was 
no validity to the challenge registered by the Maryland and District 
of Columbia Rifle & Pistol Association to the authority of the ap- 
pointed City Council to act under the police regulations, an authority 
which it had and which, God forbid, the President signed that bill 
passed by both Houses of this Congress, the Council will continue 
to have. 

I wondered if you care to comment on the facts of the court deci- 
sion clarifying the authority of the Council. 

Mr, Paul. I believe that court decision occurred prior to the D.C. 
Home Rule Act and therefore it would not have any effect. 

Mr. Fauntrot. The D.C. Home Rule Act did not change the author- 
ity of the Council to affect regulations. 

Mr. Paul. I think that pomt would be debatable. 

Mr. Fauntrot. It would be debatable if the President if he is un- 
wise, signs the bill. 

Mr. Paul. If you look at he introduction on the Library of Congress 
argument, in the first paragraph of it it says "the conclusion of this 
report is that this act is not valid." 

Again, "Enactment of the Firearms Act alters the law with respect 
to those areas which the Congress intended to examine in revising the 
D.C. Criminal Code law and therefore is beyond the legislative au- 
thority of the D.C. Council until January 2, 1977." 

My strongest statement is their statement on the front page, this 
act is not valid. 

Mr. Fauntroy. Mr, Paul, you say that the Congress has an obliga- 
tion to overturn this act. To whom does the Congress hold l£at 
obligation f 

Mr. Paul. Constitutional law 



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76 

Mr. FAnNTRor. So that you base that on the assumption that gun 
lobbyists are right when they interpret the second amendment to mean 
that it guarantees the right of individual citizens then to bear arms! 

Mr. Patjl. That plus the fact that the procedure that they went 
through is entirely illegal. These two would be the strongest argu- 
ments, both the fact that the law is an imconstitutional law but the 
obvious fact that we have a responsibility still with the D.C. legisla- 
tion is strongest. 

I don't think that is a debatable fact, that we have some responsi- 
bility for or I would not be here. Why can a Congressman from 
Texas come and even say anything unless he had scwie authority to 
say something} 

I can't go and talk to you about New York City. 

Mr. FAnNTROT. And I certainly can't go to where? 

Mr. Paul. Houston. The fact that we nave a District of Columbia 
Committee dramatizes that the District is different. If you want to 
change that that is another thing. 

Mr. Fauntsoy. The question is to whtun do you have an obligation 
to deny the citizens on a local question as to whether or not the citizens 
wlio live here 

Mr. Paul. I have an obligation to do what I think is right with 
respect to law and fulfill the Constitution. 

Mr. Fauntrot. You have indicated that you feel the law has been 
violated as suggested by the Library of Congress report and as refuted 
by the courts. I think this is something that can be decided in the 
courts. I am sure that if this bill becomesTaw. District of Columbia and 
Maryland and their rifle associations will go to court and probably 
receive the same answer that they received in 1968. 

You have based your other legal argument on the fact that you 
believe, contrary to two Supreme Court decisions, that the second 
amendment protects the rights of individuals to bear arms and that, 
contrary to the judgment of two supreme courts who have sat in judg- 
ment on this question, that it does not refer exclusively to the right 
of the colonies or the States to develop militias and maintain them. 

Mr. Paul. I would disagree with that. I think there is strong prece- 
dent that shows that the individual has the right to maintain arms. 

Mr. FAtmTROT. Maybe we will go to court and have the Supreme 
Court do — decide that. We better do that 

Mr. Paul. I am in good company for the last 200 years. 

Mr. Fauntrot. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land 
and it is an assumption that they have refuted explicitly. Finally, 
Mr. Paul, you mentioned that one of the problems with the efforts on 
the part ot people to withhold handguns from at least some segments 
of society that feels that the only access to manhood is through the 
barrel of a gun, that many of these efforts have been unsuccessful. 

You cited the New York law. You cited the law in Massachusetts. 
You cited the fact that in the District of Columbia, because there is 
not a national gun control measure that would prevent the manu- 
facture, sale and possession of gims outside the District of Columbia, 
that 80 percent of those used here in the commission of crimes come 
from outside the District of Columbia. 

You make the point and acknowledge the point, and I want to 
agree with you, that until we can do something nationally about the 



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76 

proliferation of guns in the country, we are going to have a difficult 
time allowing people in jurisdictions like the District of Columbia 
who want to control guns, who elect people whom they can judge every 
4 years and put out of office if they do not translate their beliefs into 
public policy, despite the fact that these people want this kind of 
legislation, they pass to protect at least 20 percent, that they will not 
be truly successful in exercising tbeir corrective will until we have ft 
national legislation. 

Mr. Paul, I think that you should at least consider giving some 
attention to my analogy with the strong national law enforcement 
against the use of the marihuana and the importation of illicit drugs. 
It does not do any good. You still have many, many more people 
(aking drugs. 

I am totally convinced that this is one of the most common causes 
of crime, because this drives the prices of drugs up so high and those 
people needing the drugs then must go out and rob and kill because 
of a national law, 

I think that you will create the same type of atmosphere of black- 
market in guns that you have in drugs and that you had in alcohol. 

It just does not work, 

Mr. Fatjntkot. I could not help but think as you made that point 
that you would be a strong advocate for the legalization of heroin 
and cocaine and the other drugs that are as you say responsible for 
the use of guns and make this eountiy the most dangerous country 
in the world in which to live. 

I happen not to agree with the legalization of hard drugs. I think 
we just don't agree on the question of home rule or gun control. 

Mr, Paul. How about alcohol ? 

Do we agree on that ? 

Mr. Fatjntroy. For my personal view, I think anybody who pickles 
his brains in alcohol or drugs is unwise. 

Mr. GuDE. If the gentleman will yield at that point, I think if a 
man had the foresight about 5,000 years ago when the first grapes 
were trodden and they developed wine to prohibit alcohol, that maybe 
we could have been successful. But it has become such a part of our 
social context that that isn't possible any more. 

But I don't know why we should do the same thing with marihuana 
and heroin and introduce these problems further now into society 
than they are already. 

I agree with the gentleman. 

Mr. FAnNTROT, Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and we end on a light 
note but the fact is that guns are the cause of a great deal of misery 
and death in this country. We are the most homicidal nation in the 
world. I take very seriously the effort on the part of this Congress 
to deny a freedom loving, nonviolent people who express their will 
through duly elected representatives the right to govern themselves 
on a simple matter of police regulations. 

I fail to see how they infringe or invoke the obligation of Congress- 
men to protect the Federal interests within this jurisdiction. 

The Chaibmax, Mr, McKinney, do you have any questions? 

Mr. McKinney. Not really. Mr. Chairman. T would say that I think 
that my colleague from Texas has probably done an exceedingly 
thorough job on the legal implications of the City Council's action. 



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77 

I would have to suggest that, though I totally disagree with inter- 
fering with the city's actions, I would have to agree that I think 
that tlie City Council, unfortunately due to the box we put them in 
in Congress, looked long and hard to find a vehicle, a pretty poor 
vehicle at that, to pass Uiis particular piece of legislation. 

It is my hope, as I said in my opening statement, that the President 
will veto what I consider our ridiculously rash actions in both the 
Senate and the House the other day and that then the City Council 
will have an even better vehicle with which to make changes. 

But I have to state again to the gentleman, and I know he may 
find it difficult to understand, but I joined this committee, which gives 
one a great deal of credit, 6 years ago to abolish it. I certainly would 
hope that my chairman would be head of an urban committee. 

But my entire intent before I leave this place is to have the word 
"D.C." taken off the front of the door. The only place that D.C. 
belongs in this city is down on the white building on Pennsylvania 
Avenue, or wherever it is placed. 

I will continue to work that vray. So, even though I have to admire 
your homework on some of the legal implications of the method used 
by the City Council, I would have to say that I would allow them that 
same mistake as I do all six of my mayors who make their same 
mistakes. 

The Chairman. Mr. Mann, do you have any questions ? 

Mr. Mann. Thank you very much. 

I am strongly supportive of the home rule concept as I would be 
strongly supportive of the mayors in my district who acted according 
to the law. You know, there has been much talk and much effort in 
the Congress recently with reference to the control of the exercise of 
regulatory power. 

Time and again we say that that regulatory power is a power that 
is delegated pursuant to statutory enactment and that it must be 
exercised in accordance with the intent of the Congress or the enact- 
ing body. Here is where we run into trouble on this action taken by 
the District of Columbia Council. The action on the floor of the House 
and the Senate yesterday- — regarding H.R. 12261 — is, in my judg- 
ment, regrettable from one rather unusual standpoint and that is 
that it will probably result in a complacency or a disinterest to the 
point that this committee may not get around to acting because of the 
problems of a quorum. 

The same problem could exist in the Senate. I think that the action 
of the House with reference to the amendment did not necessarilj' 
accomplish the purposes intended in that it was intended to be retro- 
active and in my judgment the validity of that may be questioned. 

It will be prospective in that if the President does sign the bill, it 
will clear up this question of whether or not the council can promul- 
gate regulations on this subject. 

COCNCn, ACT INVALID 

Can it promulgate such regulations now ? 

I think that the Library of Congress is eminently correct. A mere 
look at title 22 shows that the title deals witli the possession of fire- 
arms, firearms dealers, the traditional or ordered areas of firearms 



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78 

control. And yet the Council, through the regulatory power, has 
sought to amend that statute and they can't pass any regulations with 
reference to that statute because we deprived tliem of that privilege 
by reserving jurisdiction with reference to title 22. 

So they can say well, they did not try to do it by regulation. They 
did it bj a statutory enactment, with even less authority to do so, 
but not m the subject areas covered by titles 22, 23, and 24. So we here 
find ourselves confronted with an invalid act on the part of the Dis- 
trict of Columbia and regardless of our attitude toward home rule 
or gun control, we are dealing here with the preservation of orderly 
process, legal processes and we must support what the congressional 
intent was. 

The congressional intent cannot be, I submit, other than that 
title 22 dealt with the matter of guns, weapons, gun control and the 
authority with reference to those subjects was reserved by the 
Congress. 

The statement of the gentleman from Texas does credit to a doctor 
who qualifies for forensic law or whatever they call it. But he of course 
is strongly supported in language that frankly is unusual for lawyers, 
even with the congressional reference service. 

LIBRART OF GONORE8B OPINION 

My friend from the District of Columbia suggests that the word 
"suggests" is not strong enough hut I suggest that the other langua^ 
here is stronger than one usually finds on legal questions wherem 
it says: 

The fact that gun control legtxlBtion for the Wstrlct of Colnmbia was then 
contained In title 22 makes it Inconceivable that Congress did not Intend to 
preserve the status qno in the area of weapons control 

In the beginning they state "the conclusicm of this report is that 
the act is not valid." 

So, I appreciate the efforts being made by the gentleman. I share 
his objective in that I do not believe that this Congress, regardless 
to how we feel about the extension of authority over criminal laws, 
this Congress can sit here and permit a circumvention of its intent. 

We are not exercising our authority. We ai-e not assuming the 
responsibility that was given to us when we preserved the right of 
titles 22, 23, and 24. I can understand the efforts of the District of 
Columbia to want to exercise the powers that it is eager to exercise. 

But in this instance, they tiod on forbidden ground and I cannot 
sit here and permit the law to be so twisted. I hope that we do have 
an opportunity to specifically send that message by a disapproval 
resolution. 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

The Chairman. Mr. Biester? 

Mr. BiESTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I would like to follow up 
on what Mr. Mann had to say. I guess the most interesting part of 
your testimony bears upon the legal question and the Library of Con- 
gress memorandum. Is there a Library of Congress memorandum on 
the issue of firearms constitutionality? 

Mr. Paul. Not with regard to this law, I don't have one in my 



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79 

Mr. BiEBTER. You did not ask the Library of Congress about itt 

citizen's bights 

Mr. Pacl. No. 

Mr. BiEBTER. On that constitutional question that you did not ask 
the Library about, it is your opinion or your belief that no govern- 
ment in the United States has the power to control the right of a 
citizen to own any arms ? 

Mr. Paul. My personal opinion would be that if a law-abiding 
citizen is using a weapon where he never harms somebody else and 
causes violence, then no, thd government would not have the right to 
interfere. 

Mr. BiESTEH. He could own a machine gun, a howitzer, a mortar? 
As long as he never used them he could own them and no government 
could encroach on that? 

Mr. Pacl. According to the Constitution, my interpretation 

Mr. BiESTEB. With respect to the question of legality which I think 
is the key question here, to what extent is this a matter which ought 
to be resolved by this committee and the Congress and to what extent 
is this a matter which ought to be resolved by our court system ! 

Do you think we should decide exclusive of the courts? 

Mr. Paui_ I think that we have a responsibility to review the laws 
that are passed by the D.C. Council, that we have jurisdiction over, 
yes. This certainly falls into that category. 

Mr. B1E8TER. In your review of the legal aspects of this, have you 
come to any conclusions as to which step by the Congress would lead 
to the earliest resolution of the legal question by the courts? 

That is probably an unfair question. 

Mr. Paul. I am not even sure if I understand what you mean by 
your query. 

PROCEDURE QUESTION 

Mr. BiESTER. If we believe that the key question here is the legality 
of this process and if we agree that at least sranewhere along the way 
the best forum for making that determination lies in the courts, then 
it would be of interest to me to discover that would be the most 
efficient and most rapid way to set a case in which that judgment 
might be made. 

Mr. Paul. "Well, I would not concede the assumption that we should 
let it be determined in the courts. T would say that we have a re- 
sponsibility to look at it and decide whether it was created illegally 
or not. If it was, we should disallow it. 

If it is the opinion of the House that it was very proper and legal 
and had not violated the intent of Congress, then I would say vote 
on it and show that they want to permit this and then go ahead and 
test it in the courts. 

But I think our responsibility is very clear, that we should look at it. 
I would have to admit if I was just going at this strictly constitutitai- 
ally and strictly because I think it is totally ineffective, the Congress 
would not support me. 

But with the facts that we have here and with the votes that we 
have had so far, I think it is obvious that the intent was incorrect as 
far as the Council was concerned. 



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EFFECT OF LEGISLATION 

Mr. BiESTER. With rpspect to the legislation itself, I gather that 
there are a number of kinds of persons or classes of persons who are 
not permitted under this legislation to own or possess a firearm. 

Do you believe that a person who had been involuntarily committed 
to a mental institution for the previous 5 years should be allowed to buy 
as many firearms as he might wish ? 

Mr. Paul. I would be very careful with them because some of the 
involuntary admissions to mental institutions can occur very care- 
lessly. Sometimes eccentric individuals end up in mental institutions 
and they have never caused harm in society, never have done anything 
violent. I draw my line when that individual is either there threaten- 
ing violence or creating violence, yes, then it is the absolute obli^tion 
of the State, the government, local, Federal, what not, to restrain the 
violence. 

Mr. BosTER, That is often too late, though, is it not! 

Mr. Paul, Well, it is often too late if you destroy the Constitution 
and civil liberties of all individuals by taking away their right and 
you end up with a country that does not protect civil liberties. 

That is what I am concerned about. 

Mr. BiESTER. How about a person who has been acquitted of murder 
by reason of insanity within the last 5 years? Should that person be 
allowed to buy as many guns as he wants? 

Mr. Paul. If he committed violence such as murder, he certainly 
should have restrictions. 

Mr. BiESTER. So you would agree with the D.C. legislation with 
respect to that aspect? 

Mr. Paul. If he had been convicted of murder? 

Mr. BiESTER. No ; he was acquitted by reason of insanity. 

Mr. Paul. If he committed the violence, you got to restrain him. 
That is what the responsibility is. 

Mr, BiESTER, If he is committed — you would agree, then, with tlie 
D.C. legislation in that respect? 

Mr. Paul. In that one you mentioned or any other one that puts 
restraints on individuals who become criminals, whether it is a sane 
individual or insane individual? As soon as he creates the violence or 
threatens to — the violence, then there must be restraints. 

Mr, BiESTEB. Supposing he does not have sufficient vision to get a 
driver's license, should he be allowed to buy as many rifles as he 
wishes ? 

Mr. Paul. As long as he does not cause violence- 
Mr. BiESTER. How do you know ? 

Mr. Paul. How do you know you won't cause violence going dovm 
the streets ? 

Mr. BiESTER. That is why I don't own arms. 

Mr. Paul. What about your automobile, alcohol ? 

Mr. BiESTER, Let me come back to my question. Do you think that 
somebody who can't see well enough to drive ought to be able to buy 
as many rifles with a range of over a mile as he wants to? 

Mr. Paul. If he has not committed violence the same way he can 
buy a bottle of beer. You do not put everybody into pens because of the 
potential that they might do or you don't have a free society anymore. 



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Mr. BiESTER. The D.C. Code is not talking about putting them into 
puis. It is talkine about telling a person who can't see well enough to 
drive that he cairt own certain firearms. My question is whether you 
agree with that, and I take it you do not? 

Mr. Patil. I disagree with that. 

Mr. BiESTEB. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

The Chairman. Well, we 

Mr. pADL. May I have permission for Mr. Peckham to leave his 
testimony ? 

The Chairman. Without objection, I was going to include Mr. Peck- 
ham's testimony in the record following your testimony. 

Without objection it is so ordered. 

[The documents referred to follow :] 

Pbbpared Statement or Rbpeksbhtativb Rom Paul 

X. THE TUEASMB OOSTBOL ACT OF lOTG 18 ITtlOOITSTITnTIOnAL 

1. The second amendment to tbe United States Conatltution declares tbat "A 
well regulated Militia, being necessair to the security of a free State, the right 
of tbe people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Tbe ninth ameod- 
ment states tbat "Tbe enumeration In tbe Constitution, of certain rights, shall 
Dot be construed to den; or disparage others retained by the people." Aitide I, 
Section 8, Clause IT of the Constitution prorldea that the Congress shall have 
power "To exercise exclusive Lieglslatlon in all Cases whatsoever, over sucb 
District (not exceeding ten Miles sgoare) as may, bf Cession of Particular 
States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of Government of the 
United States. . . ." 

2. Let me begin by fllscnsaing the last provision first. This provision, granting 
exclusive authority over the District, was added to the Constitution because of 
tbe indignities and personal threats that Members of the Continoital Congress 
suffered In Philadelphia in 1783 at the hands of disgruntled soldiers. At that 
Mme, the local authorities could not come to the aid of Congress, and the Mem- 
Iters had to flee the city. In Federalist No. 43, James Madison wrote that "The 
indispensable necessity of complete authority at the seat of government carries 
its own evidence with it. . . . Wlthont it . . . tbe pnblic authority might be 
insulted and Its proceedings interrupted with impunity. . . ." 

3. I raise this lasne, not to attack home rule in the District of Columbia, but 
to call attention to the fact that the Firearms Control Act passed by the City 
Council contains no exemption for Members of Cuigress. Section 201(b) of the 
Act contains the list of persons exempted, and Memt>ers of Congress do not 
appear on that list. It would seem, then, that any Member elected for the first 
time after this law goes into effect, or any present member without a legally 
registered handgnn or pistol, would 1>e prohibited from bringing any pistol or 
handgun into the District of Columbia. 

4. Furthermore, the Act would subject a Member of Congress to the same 
complex registration process that the Act Imposes on all law-abiding residents of 
the District of Columbia, For the information of the Memtiers who are x»resent 
at this hearing, here is a list of the things a person is required to do In order 
to register a gun under this gun control law : 

Pertotu teeking to register a gun mu»t : 

(1) be 21 years of age. or 18 and have the permission of their parents, who 
most assume all civil liability ; 

(2) not have been convicted of a crime of violence, a weapons offense, or a 
TioIatlMi of this Act ; 

(3) not be under indictment for a crime of violence or a weapons offense; 
<4) be free of convictions for C years past of any drug law, or of any threat 

to do bodily harm, assault, ''or any similar provision of tbe law of any other 
jnrlsdlction so as to indicate a likelihood to make unlawful use of a firearm." 
(Section 203[a1 [4] [B]) ; 

(S) not have been acquitted of any criminal charge by reason of insanity for 
tbe previoua 5 years ; 



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(6) not bave been adjudicated a chronic alcobollc by any Court for tbe 
prevlona 5 years ; 

(7) not bave been voluntarily or involuntarily committed to any mental 
institution for the previous 5 years ; 

(8) not appear to eufCer from a handicap that would "tend to indicate that 
the applicant would not be able to possess and use a firearm safely and responsi- 
bly." (SecUon203(a)(7]); 

(9) not have been Judged negligent in a firearms accident causing death or 
serious Injury ; 

(10) be eligible under present law to passess a pistol; 

(11) pass a test on D.C. firearms laws devised by the Cliiet of Police; 

<12) have vision equal to that reuulred to obtain a valid driver's license In 
D.C; 

(13) provldehlsfullname to the Chief of Police; 

(14) provide his present address and each address for the previous 5 years; 

(15) provide tiis present business address and each business address for the 
previous G years ; 

(16) provide his date and place of birth ; 

(17) record his or her gender; 

(18) provide information concerning any denial or revocation of registration, 
permit, or license of a firearm ; 

(19) provide a description of any serious firearm accident involving the 
applicant ; 

(20) provide Information on the intended use of the firearm ; 

(21) provide the caliber, make, model, manufacturer's number, serial numbo', 
and identifying marks on the firearm ; 

(22) provide the name and address and other identification of the person from 
whom tbe gun was obtained ; 

(23) tell where the firearm will be kept; 

(24) tell whether the applicant has anilled for any other registration 
certificates ; 

(25) provide "such other information as the Chief determines is necessary"; 

(26) provide 2 "full face" photographs, 1%" by 1%", taken within the 30-day 
period preceding the date of application ; 

(27) appear in person when applying and, if required, to bring' the firearm 
being registered ; 

(28) sign an oath attesting to the truth of all information provided ; 

(29) pay a fee set by the Mayor, 

5. In addition to this comprehensive set of requirements, the Chief of Police 
may, at his discretion, require the fingerprinting of applicants. If this Is the tyi>e 
of harassment that this Committee wishes to Impose on Members of Congress, 
not to mention the people who live in the District of Columbia day In and day 
out, then I would suggest that this Committee and this Congress take no action 
to stop this law from becoming effective. If, however, the integrity of the Con- 
gress is to be preserved and Its Members are to be allowed freedom from such 
unnecessary and irresponsible harassment, then this law most be disapproved by 
the Congress within the thirty (30) legislative days provided by the Self- 
Government and Governmental Reorganization Act. If this Act Is not In actual 
ciHifllct with the Constitution on this point. It is at least in confilct with the 
spirit of the Constitution and the legislative history of the provision of the 
(^institution which retains exclusive authority over the Federal District to 
Congress. 

6. Let us now consider the second amendment to the Constitution which has 
been quoted above. 

7. According to Section 302 of the Self-Govern ment and Governmental Re- 
organization Act, the governing instrument of the District of Oolnmbia Council, 
the "legislative power of the District shall extend to all rightful subjects of 
legislation within the District consistent with the Constitution of the United 
States and provisions of this Act. . . ." Since the City Council acts only by 
the permission of this Congress, which has retained exclusive authority over the 
District, it Is Constitutionally barred from passing laws infringing upon the 
right to keep and bear arms. This amendment has been narrowly construed to 
mean that the Congress or its agents can take virtually any action to control 
private ownership of weapons, despite the plain meaning of the words. The 
Amendment says ; the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. 1>> 
"Infringe," according to the Oxford English Dictionary, which quotes from 
Jefferson and Blackstone to lUnstrate the usage of this word, is to "break In 



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tipon or encroach." It Is not neceasarr for a light to be totally destroyed or 

annihilated for It to be Infringed. A right can be Infringed by reetrlctlng It 
only a. little. The blBtory of gun control legislation in this coontry shows a 
gradually Increasing Infrlogement of the right to keep and bear arms. 

8. Any literate Individual who has any doubts that the Firearms Control Act 
would Infringe on the right to keep and bear arms has not read even thelntrodac- 
tion to the Act, in which the purposes of the Act are described as follows : to 
"limit" the tyxKS of weapons persons may lawfully possess" ; to "assure that 
only qualifled persons are allowed to possess firearms" ; and "to make it more 
difficult for Biearms, destructive devices, and ammunition to move In illicit 
commerce within the District of Columbia." The express purxK)se of this law is 
to infringe upon the right to keep and tiear arms. The issue is whether the City 
Council, acting pursuant to Section 302 of the Self-Qovernment and Govern- 
mental Reorganization Act, can legitimately pass this law. If the language of 
the Constitution means anything at all, the Council cannot pass it. It is the duty 
of this Congress, which is itself barred from enacting a piece Of legislation like 
this, to strike down this Act before the residents of the District of Columbia are 
subjected to its onerous provisions. 

9. The ninth amendment to the Constitution, quoted above, makes it abimdantly 
clear that unenumerated rights are retained by the people. It is not sufficient 
to argue, as many gim control advocates have argued, that the second amend- 
ment Is applicable only to the National Guard, an organization which was not 
created until the twentieth century. This delitierate misconstruction of the 
second amendment's meaning still faces the problem of what to do with the 
plain meaning of the ninth amendment. The federal government Is a government 
of delegated powers ; nowhere in the Constitution is the federal governm^it given 
the authority to pass gun control laws. Tbe speclflc Constitution limitations on 
the federal government are written into the Self -Government and Governmental 
Reorganization Act. 

n. TSB nBEABus coniitta. rcouiations act or i9tb is uxeoai. 

1. In section 601 of the Self-Go vemment and Governmental BeorganizaticHi 
Act, Congrese has retained plenary power over the Distriiit of Columbia to 
enact any legislation for the District on any subject, whether within or witboat 
tbe scope of the l^lslative power granted to the Council, including legislation 
to amend or repeal any law In force in the District 

2. In addition to this retention of plenary l^slative authority, Congress 
reserved to Itself exclusively many areas of law, including Title 22 of the District 
of Columbia Code. This specific denial of authority to the City Council is found 
in Section 602(a) (9), which states that: The Council shall have no authority 
to . . . enact any Act, resolution, or rule with respect to any provisi(m of TiUe 
23 of the District of Columbia Code (relating to criminal procedure), or with 
respect to any provision of any law codlited in Title 22 or 24 of the District of 
Golnmbia Code (relating to crimes and treatment of prisoners) during the 
twenty-fonr full calendar months immediately following the day on which the 
members of the Council first elected pursuant to this Act take office. 

3. The first elected City Council members took office on January 2. 1975. 
Obviously, the twenty-four month period had not expired when the District 
government passed this law in July, and it still has not expired. So tbere is no 
question that the exclusive authority which Congress retained over Title 22 still 
remains. The qnestion which now must be answered Is this : does the Firearms 
Control Regulations Act of 1975 constitute "any act, resolution, or rule with 
respect ... to any provision of any law codified in Title 22 or 24 of the District 
of Colnmbia Code"? Tbe City Council answers in the negative. Let us examine 
their argument. 

4. The Report of the Committee on the Judiciary and Criminal Law, a Com- 
mittee of the District of Columbia Council, maintains that "This bill does not 
amend or conflict with the provisions of Chapter 32 of Title 22 of the D.C. Code. 
It BpedflcaUy provides as much in Section 902." (For those who are not familiar 
with the D.C. Code, let me say that Chapter 32 of Title 22 U the Chapter that 
deals with weapons. ) 

5. Tbe first thing that should be pointed out is that the Self- Government and 
Governmental Reorganization Act does not use the language "amend or oonfiiet" 
when it denies authority to the City Council over criminal laws. The language of 
the Act is much broader — as broad as language can be. It says, and I repeat, that 
tbe City Council "shall have no authority to . . . enact any act, retotutUm, or 



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84 

rule toith respect to . . . any provUion of anj/ (ow codified in Title 22 . . ." 
(emphaBia added). I want to emphasize the fact that tbe words "no", "any", and 
"with respect to" are used, and not "amend or conflict," as the City Council ap- 
parently believes. The word "any" Is used Four times in subsection (9) and the 
words "with respect to" twice. It la difficult to conceive of a formulation that is 
more sweeping in its scope or broad in its meaning than the formulation that ap- 
pears in Section e02(a) (9). 

In the opinion hnnded down in the ci=e MarMland and B.C. Rifle and PUtol 
A»mciation,Itic.\. Wa«Ain(r(mt ef ol., 442 F. 2d 123 (February 24, 1071) the Conrt 
declared. The flmt and perhaps most Important indication of congressional intent 
springs from the words in which the statute Is cast . . . Absent strong reason for 
a contrary reading, our function is to lake this language for what It plainly says, 
for "(t)here ia . . . no more persuasive evidence of the purpose of a statute 
than the words by which the legislature undertook to give expression to its 
wishes." {U.S. v. American Trucking A»»ociatiiyns, 310 U.S. 334, 543 [1940].) 

6. The legislative history of this section In tbe Self -Government and Govern- 
mental Reorganization Act corroborates this understanding of the words in Sec- 
tion e02(a)(9). For example, in the Conference Report on tbe bill, S. 1435, 
Report Number 93-703, the I'onferees expl.iin that "The House Amendment 
[the "major provisions" of which were adopted by the Conference substitute] 
contained provisions, not in the Senate bill, providing . . . (3) the Council could 
not change building height timitattons nor change D.C. criminal laws or tbe 
organization and jurisdiction of the D.C. court." Any change at all in the crim- 
inal laws, it the language of the Conference Report means anything, is prohibited 
Changes that result in more severe laws or new penalties or the creation of new 
offenses are prescribed, just as are any changes that would meliorate tbe severity 
of the laws. 

7. If one wishes to trace the legislative history back farther, he will find that 
this particular restriction on the power of the District City Council was not a 
part of the bill (H.R. 9682) reported from the District of Columbia Committee. 
Rather, tbe restriction was added during debate on the Floor of the House, 
October 10, 1973. 

8. The restriction on the power of the City Council first appeared as part of 
an amendment in the nature of a substitute for H.R. 9682, the bill reported by 
the D.C. Committee. The snbstitute wjs >ponsored by Ifi members of the D.C. 
Committee, only eight of whom are still on tbe Committee. At the time there was 
a great deal of confusion about the Committee amendment, and serious questions 
were raised about the manner in which it was prepared and offered, but that is 
immaterial at this point. What are important are the descriptions given b; 
Brock Adams and Thomas Rees, sponsors of the amendment containing the pro- 
vision restricting the Council's "authority over criminal laws." Mr. Adams said, 
"it prohibits tbe Council from changing certain specific titles of the District of 
Columbia Code. These are the titles of the District of Columbia Code wbich deal 
with tbe District of Columbia criminal laws." (CongresHonal Record. October 10, 
1973, Page 3363S.) Thomas Rees, another sponsor of the Amendment had this to 
say ; "If individuals are worried about crime in the District, there is another 
Congressional reservation on Page 90, which is number (8) on line 5, which says 
that the City Council cannot enact any ordinance that affects In any way Titles 
22 or 24 of tbe District of Columbia Criminal Code." iCongregsional Record, 
October 10, 1973, Page 33647.) The language of the Self-Go vemment and Gov- 
ernmental Reorganization Act itself is plain enough, but there can be absolutely 
no doubt about its meaning when one considers the descriptions of the section in 
question made by sponsors of the section itself. These descriptions, let me point 
out, were made during debate in the House, and the House passed the bill with 
tbe understanding that the language ''with respect to" means exactly what It 
says 1 that the City Council cannot enact any ordinance that affects in any way 
Titles 22 or 24 of the District of Columbia Criminal Code." 

9. Therefore, the entire legislative history of this restriction on the authority 
of the City Council confirms the plain meaning of the words found in section 
602(a)(B), that the Council has no authority to enact any legislation whatso- 
ever with respect to Title 22 of the D.C. Code. The opinion of the present 
Committee of the District of Columbia, most of whose Members did not serve 
on the D.C. Committee in 1973, regarding the proper interpretation of the 
language of Section 602(a)(9) of the Self -Go vemment and Governmental Re- 
organization Act Is. I might add, totally irrelevant, whatever that opinion 
might be. If anyone cannot understand the plain meaning of the sectioa, let 
him examine its legislative history. It is improper and inadmissible for a Com- 



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86 

mittee uutlateraly to render an opinion on the meaning of language enacted by 
the entire Congress — language that is amtntakable In Its interpretation. 

10. The second point that ought to be made about the statement contained 
in the Report ot the Committee on the Juditlarj and Criminal Law Is tbla; 
Section T09 of the Gun Control Act, which provides that "This act and the 
penalties prescribed In Section 605 [Note: there is no section 605 In the Art] 
of this act, for violations of this act, sball not supersede bat shall supplement 
all statutes of Uie District and the United States in which similar conduct Is 
prohibited or regulated," renders the entire act an absurdity. How do two 
lilfferent laws supplement each other without one superseding tie other? If one 
law, for example, mandates one year imprisonment for an otCense, and another 
law mandates two years for the same offense, one must supersede the other. 
There is no possibility of supplementation in such a situation. 

11. To apply this principle to the instant case, Chapter 3201 of 'Htle 22 of 
the D,G, Code defines a "sawed-olf shotgun" as "any shotgun with a imrrel less 
than twenty Inches in length." The Firearms Control Regulations Act, how- 
ever, defines a "sawed-oR shotgun" as a "shotgun having a barrel of less than 
18 inches in length . . ." How, may T ask you, is this Firearms Act going to 
supplement Chapter 3201 of Title 22 on the matter of what constitutes a "sawed- 
off shotgun"? If the new Firearms Act is enforced at all in this regard, then 
it is superseding, not supplementing Title 22 of the District of Columbia Code. 

12. Lest anyone thinli that this is the only example that can be given in 
which the Firearms Act supersedes provisions of Title 22 of the D.C. Code, I 
hasten to cite several others. The definitions of "pistol" and "machine gun" are 
also different in the Firearms Act from Title 22 of the D.O. Code. The registra- 
tion requirements Imposed in the Firearms Act are far different from those 
provisions fonnd In Chapter 3206 of lltle 22 of the D.C. Code. The regulations 
and recordkeeping requirements imposed on gun dealers are far different in 
the Firearms Control Act from what they are in Chapters 3208, 3209, and 
3210, of Title 22 of the D.C, Code. Chapter 3215 of Title 22 describes the penalties 
for violations of the weapons laws of the District : up to 31,000 in fines and np to 
one year in jail, or both, unless specifically provided otherwise in Chnpter ^. 
The Firearms Control Act, on the other hand, contains penalties of up to $300 
In fines and up to 10 days in prison for the first offense, and mandates penalties 
of a $300 fine and at least 10 and no more than 90 days in prison for subsequent 
offenses. Now, if we are to understand that the Firearms Control Act does 
not supersede the D.C. Code, Title 22, Chapter 3215, then what are we to con- 
clude when a person, convicted of his second offense, may be sentenced to five 
days In prison under the Code, but must be sentenced to ten days in prison nnder 
the Firearms Control Act? Has the Firearms Act supplemented or snperseded 
the Code? I believe the answer is obvious. 

13. Chief of Police, Maurice J, Culllnane, displayed some awareness of the 
problem in his letter of April 15, 1978, to Councilman David A. Clarke. Chief 
Cnllinane pointed out : 

• • • because of the regulatory methodolt^y employed, the bill creates 
new problems not encountered in the Police RegnlatiMis. The bill seeks to 
create a single regulatory standard by which pistols, rifles, and shotguns 
would be certificated, while a single standard might normally be an Im- 
provement over the admittedly, complicated arrangement found in Articles 
80-55 of the Police Regulations, the District is confronted with Congres- 
slonally created standards for pistols and an absence of standards for rifles 
and shotguns. Thus, by establishing a single standard, the M.P.D., and 
pposi)ective applicants for certification of pistols must perform a rather 
complicated exercise in mental gymnastics to ascertain what the bill re- 
quires over and above the Code and which portions of the bill conflict with 
the Code and are Inapplicable. 
It ic obvions that Chief Culllnane recognizes the fact that this bill is, In fact. 

legislation "with respect to" Title 22 of the D.C. Code, and also In conflict with 

the Code. 

14. If the Firearms Act dianges the present provisions of the D.C. Code in 
any way — and I have jnst mentioned several ways In which it does — then It is 
in fact Bupersedln;; the D.C. Code. The section of the Firearms Act that seeks 
to allow the Act to run through a louphole by claiming that it supplements 
rather than supersedes present D.C. law is either h nullity or it makes the 
Firearms Act itself of no elTect. 

15. The third point that ought to be made about Section 709 of the Firearms 
Act. whi^ claims that the Act supplements rather than supersedes Federal 



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law and the D.C. Code, 1b tbat it, la iteelf, is an admiaston that the Firearms 
Act Is legislation enacted "with respect to" proviaiona of law In Title 22 of the 
D.C. Code, an action speciflcally prohibited by Section 602(a)(9) of the SeU- 
Govemment and Governmental Reorganization Act. By Including Section 709 
In the Wreanns Act, the City Council obviously Intended to make an end-run 
around the express intent of Oongress to reserve all authority over criminal 
laws in the District of Columbia for itself. However, not only does the end-run 
fail, it constitutes an explicit admission that the Firearms Act is in fact an act 
"with respect to" Title 22 of the D.C. Code. 

16. Let as continne with our examination of the argument for the legality 
of the Firearms Act. It is speciflcally argued that authority for enacting the 
Act may be found In Section 302 of the Self-Go vemment and Governmental 
Reorganization Act. However, we have already seen that Section 302 places an 
express Constitutional limitation on the authority of the City Council. It Is 
further argued that authority flows from the D.C. Cade, Title I, Chapters 224, 
226, and 227. However, if one esamiues those Chapters of the Code, one will 
And ttiat Chapter 224 deals with penalties for violations of building regula- 
tions, for violations of leashing regulations tor large dogs, and tor police regu- 
lations dealing with such things as pawnbrokers. Junk dealers, the storage of 
flammable substances, street vendors, fees for hackney carriages, herds of 
animals in the streets of the District, littering, fireworks and explosives, and 
loud noises suc^ aa horns and cries. 

17. Chapter 226 grants the Council authority to make "all sucii reasonable 
and usual police regulatlmis ... as the Council may deem necessary for the 
protection of lives, limbs, health, comfort, and quiet of all persons and the 
protection of all property within the District of Columbia." The question arises 
then, whether the Mrearms Act is such that it is, in fact, "necessary for the 
protection of lives, limbs, health, comfort and quiet of all persons ..." in the 
District of Columbia. Tbat question will be treated below, under the third 
heading. 

18. Chapter 227, the last of the Chapters cited in the argum^it for the 
legality of the Firearms Act. Is the only Chapter cited which speciflcally author- 
izes the Council to make "all such usual and reasonable police regulaUona . . . 
as the Council may deem necessary tor the regulation of flrearms, projectiles, 
explosives, or weapons of any kind in the District of Columbia." It is upon 
this Chapter in the D.C. Code that the argument for the legality of the Fire- 
arms Act primarily rests. However, no authority is given in this Chapter or 
in any other Chapter cited by the Committee for imposing penalties for viola- 
tions of these firearms regulations. The penalty- Imposing power cited by the 
Report of the Committee on the Judiciary and Criminal I.^w is found in Title 
I, Chapter 224(a). However, If one looks at that Chapter, one will Qnd that 
it grants authority "to prescribe reasonable penalties of fine not to exceed 
$300 or Imprisonments not to exceed ten days [the Firearms Act contemplates 
Imprisonments up to 90 days]. In lieu lOf or In addition to any fine, for the 
violation of any building regulation . , ., any regulation promulgated under 
authority of section 1-228, and any regulation promulgated under authority of 
section 1-22, and any regulation promulgated under authority of section 
1-226." There is no penalty-making power granted in l-224(a) for violations 
of Section 1-227, the section dealing specifically with flrearms regulations. 

19. The argument for legality. If valid, would result in anomalous and absurd 
conclusion. The anomaly lies in the fact that if this Chapter authorizing the 
Council to enact police regulations can be used to justify the Firearms Act, 
then a regulation made pursuant to one Chapter of the D.C. Code can over- 
turn, not another regulation, which would be entirely proper, but a Chapter of 
the Code. To use the analogy of Constitutional law and statutory law. It wonld 
be comparable to repealing or superseding part of the Constitntinn by passing 
a new statute. It is a well-established legal principle that laws can only be 
changed or superseded by laws of a similar nature. Regulations cannot super- 
sede statutes, and statutes cannot supersede constitutions. The argument that 
police regulations made pursuant to Title 1. Chfp'er 227 of the Code can change 
other provisions of the Code Is absurd. TTie City Council Is not comijetent to 
make any law "with respect to" Title 22 of the Code, and it Is doubly prevented 
from changing Title 22 by means of imposing new police regulations. As the 
Court in Maryland antf D.C. Rifle and Pistol A»60ciaiion, Inc. v. Waghinglon 
et al. declared, "To be sure, a municipal regulation camiot permit an act which 
the statute forbids, or forbids an act which the statute permits." (442 F.2d 123, 
130) [February 24, 1971]). 



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87 

ao. Those who argne for the lesalitf of the Firearme Act point ont tliat "In 
Slaruland and DUtrict of Cotumi/ia Rifle and tH»tut Association, Inc. v. Washing- 
ton, 142 U.S. App. D.C. 375, 442 F.2d 123 <1971), the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld 
the authority of tbe former D.C. Conncil to promnlfftte the current gun control 
regulations." The plaintlfTa argued in that case that in passage of those gun 
control regulations, the former Council was trpading on ground that the Congress 
had reserved to itself. They lost the case. What relevance this Court decision 
has to the question at band is not clear, for it was In reference to the former 
Council, not the present Council. The powers of the present Council have been 
explicitly circumscribed by Section 602(a) (9) which eipressly prohibits tamper- 
ing in any way with any provision of Title 22 of the D C Code. It would be 
perverse if a Court were to hold at this time 'subsequent to passage of the Self- 
Government and Governmental Reorganization Act that the Council could act 
in conflict with the eapress intention of Congress to reserve to itself control over 
the criminal laws of the District ot Columbia. The citation of this obsolete Court 
decision is, then, irrelevant. About t^e only statement that the Court made in 
that decision that is worth considering is that "the exercise of authority (by 
the Cit}' Conncil) ought not to be questioned unless clearl7 inconsistent with 
the expressed will of Congress." Sioce the Firearms Act is clearly inconsistent 
with the expressed will of Congress to retain exclusive authority over criminal 
laws, then the authority of the City Council to pass that act is void. 



1. Sixty rears ago the liberals, who by today's standards might be considered 
conservative, were leading a campaign to outlaw the manufacture, sale, and 
trauBportatlon of goods that they believed were responsible for an untold num- 
ber of deaths, broken homes, and a great deal of human misery in general. In 
1919 they succeeded, and added the 18th amendment to the Constitution, pro- 
hibiting the manufacture, sale, transportation, importation, and exportation of 
intoxicating liquors. The Prohibition lasted 15 years, until its repeal in 1933. 
During the 15-year period Prohibition was In effect, organized crime emerged In 
America as a force to be reckoned with. But the only reason organized crime 
became so powerful Is that the federal government created the conditions in 
which it could flourish. 

2. Gun control laws are the Prohibition laws of the latter half of the 20th 
century. They are aimed at controlling gnns, not beverages, but the mythology 
that surrounded the Uqnor control laws applies. In both cases, some inanimate 
objects (firearms or beverages) are regarded as the cause (not the instrument) 
of many evils. Hesponaibility is shifted from persons to objects, and laws are 
directed away from persons abusing or misusing firearms or beverages and 
toward the firearms or beverages themselves. In so prohibiting or curtailing traf- 
fic or commerce in goods that are desired by great numbers of people, the gov- 
ernment creates a situation in which the people who want guns or beverages 
must buy in black markets, that is, markets that have been outlawed. Because 
these markets and transactions are illegal, the people most likely to flourish in 
them are not the law-abiding citizens, but persons who have no compunction 
about operating outside the law, When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will sell 
guns. If the D.C. Police Department thinks it has a difficult time now coping with 
the gray market In gnns that already exists, they will have a much more difficult 
time If this law goes into effect. Instead of meliorating the crime problem, the 
Firearms Control Act would greatly aggravate it. Organized crime would flourish 
in the District, just as it did throughout the nation during the era of Prohibition. 
The only people who will abide by this law are those who are law-abiding any- 
way, those whom It Is allegedly designed to protect. It will not and cannot protect 
them, since it will result In their disarmament. It certainly will not result in the 
disarming of the criminal element. 

8. A new study by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms clearly indi- 
cates that the Firearms Control Act will not be able to achieve its stated pur- 
pose of "protect [ing] the citizens of the District from the loss of property, death, 
and injury by controlling the availability of firearms in the community." What 
will be controlled, of course, are legally registered firearms, but they are only 
a small fraction of the gun population of the city anyway. The A.T.F. study in- 
dicates that over 80% of the traceable hand guns seized in the District from mid- 
February through July originated outside the District of Columbia. The 
conclusion of the study is that tough local gun controls do not cut off the BU[4)ly 



of handgnns but alraplr increase the ntunber of nnregistered guns Imported from 
otber areas. 

4. What the Firearms Control Act will do, tJien, follows a pattern set by all 
legislation that interferes with the fnnctionlng of the market. By creating tbe 
black market conditions in which crime can flourish, the Act will actually exacer- 
bate the crime problem, not allegiate it. Then, in order to "correct" the new, en- 
larged crime problem, the District and/or Cou^resa will be pressured into still 
more restrictive measures, Including, perhaps, national legislation outlawing com- 
merce in or possession of flrearms. After all, in IH21 the U.S. Supreme Court de- 
clared that the Congress may enact nationwide legislation to the extent necessary 
to make local District laws effective. (Cohen* v. Virsinia 19 U.S. 264), I do not 
wish to imply, of course, that nationwide gun control would be any more effective 
than local gun control, because it would not. Effectiveness Is the excuse that 
would be used to Justify a nationwide law. Whether the law Is local or national 
in scope It would be equally Ineffective. One reason being, of course, that crim- 
inals are not legally required to register their guns. (Hoynes v, U.S. 390 U.S. 
85. ) And the other being that the laws of economics do not stop at the boundaries 
of the District of Columbia. 

5. Another indicattou of tlie Ineffectiveness of gun control laws, including laws 
such as the Firearms Control Act, which contains mandator; sentencing provi- 
sions, is the study recently conducted by the Center for Criminal Justice at 
Harvard Law School. On the question of whether or not a mandatory prison 
sentBiee for violations — which is more severe than the mandatory sentence 
in the Firearms Control Act — reduced the availability of flrearms, the study 
concluded : "There is no clear evidence that the general circulation of firearms 
in Massachusetts has declined." 

On the more important question of whether the crime rate was reduced by 
the stiff Massachusetts law, the Harvard stady has this to say : Crime data 
for early 1976 have reinforced this analysis ; there has been a visible break 
in the growth of robbery in Boston. While that reduction has extended to fire- 
arm robbery, the drop In firearm robbery has not been any more extensive than 
drops In other forms of robbery. Thus, the proportional role of firearms In 
robbery has shown greater stability, but no clear redaction. 

The Harvard study goes on to say: Within that broad framework, however, 
we must recognize a brief shift In weapon choice during the period around 
the time Bartley-Fox [the Massachusetts law] was taking effect. The use of the 
flrearms in robbery declined during the first six months of 1975. This did not 
produce any drop In total (or armed) robberies during that period — other 
weapons took up the slack and the proportional contribution of weapons to 
robbery actually increased slightly during the same period. 

The study concludes, however, that this shift has "dissipated" and that "no 
effect on the level of firearm use in robbery has occurred . . ." 

6. If one wonders about the effect of the Massachusetts law on assaults, the 
Harvard study points out ; "... the proportion of assaults which involved fire- 
arms dropped significantly In 1975, beginning In March ... A further reduction 
in this proportional figure has occurred In early 19TG. Firearm assaults showed 
a small Increase over 19T5 ; non-firearm assaults, however, Increased explosively 
over the same period." As for homicide, "no clear drop in firearm assanlt deaths 
tias been demonstrated to date." 

7. The Harvard study also points out that Franklin ZLoirlng, who has con- 
tributed so much to the mythology surrounding gun control laws by arguing 
that guns cause crime, has changed hla position to one emphasizing that It is 
not the guns but the criminals who cause crime. 

8. This revision of preconceived ideas is not limited to people in this country. 
In 1970, Cambridge University In England conducted a study of the 1920 BriUsh 
gun control laws banning private ownership of handguns and concluded that 
the law has had no effect on the level of violence in England. The authors of 
the Cambridge study point out that New York City has more restrictive gun 
laws than does England, but suffers from a far higher crime rate than England. 
Switzerland on the other hand, has the world's highest rate of per capita gun 
possession, bnt a minimal rate of violence. 

9. A third study that ought to be mentioned here is one conducted last year at 
the University of Wisconsin. The authors of the Wisconsin study scrutinized 
the gun laws of every State of the Union and compared them to all relevant 
demograiidiic, economic and other statistl-al data. They concluded that — and 
I quote — "gun contiol laws have no indlvldnal or collective effect In redncing 
the rates of violent crime." 



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The Wisconsin study goes on to refute the argimieat, which I mentioned above, 
that looal guD laws are ineftective only because adjacent jurisdictions have lax 
gun laws. The authors point out that for about fifty-flve yearB, New Torb State 
and Canada have had somewhat restrictive laws on handguns. Canada and 
New York border American States having lax gun laws, yeC the homicide rate in 
Canada is less than half New York State's and less than one-quarter New York 
City's. There Is a difference between the Canadian and New York State laws, 
however. In Canada, it is comparatively easy for a law-abiding citizen to get a 
Xtermit to keep a handgun in his home or business. 

10. One wonders how much argimient and evidence Is needed before the gun 
prohibitionists begin to realize that gun control cannot reduce the crime rate, 
but, in fact, may increase it. My own opinion is that some gun prohibitionists will 
never be convinced simply because Chey have developed a monomaniacal vendetta 
against firearms. I certainly hope that such is not the case in the present esample 
of a gun control law. I would remind everyone, however, that one of the predeces- 
sor bills to the Firearms Contol Act ol 1975 would have banned toy guns, too. 
In view of the fact that less than one-half of one percent of all the guns seized 
by the D.C. police last year in connection with crimes were legally registered, it 
seems both futile and absurd to imx>ose further registration requirements. Over 
99.6% of all the guns seized were not registered ; I fail to see how creating stlffer 
r^stration procedures Is going to lower that percentage any. I also cannot 
understand how making registration more difficult than It already is will reduce 
crtme, since the criminals obviously do not register their guns. The only sensible 
reason that one could favor gun control laws — and I hope this is not the reason 
the D.C. Council favors the Firearms Control Hegalations Act — would be to 
disarm the innocent population so that the criminals and the government conld 
prey on them at will. An article presenting this argument appeared In the June/ 
July Issue of The Civil Liberties Review. I have Included it as an appendix: to my 
teBtlmoay. 



I have argued for the uncontsitutlonallty, the Illegality and the futility of the 
Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1976. I believe that if any one of these 
arguments is valid, this Committee and this Congress ought to disapprove the 
E*irearms Act and prevent its provisions from becoming effective. Not only is the 
Integrity of the Constitution and the Home Rule Charter called into question by 
this Act, but the safety of the residents of the District of Colombia will be furtber 
endangered if it becomes law. I strongly urge you to act quickly to protect the 
Uvea, property and safety of the people of the District of Columbia by disapprov- 
ing this bill. 

Thank yon. 

The Libbabt of Congress, 

CONQBBSSIONAL RESEAKCH SERVICE. 

WasMnglon, D.C, AuguH 18, 1976. 

Fdeasmb Control Rboulations Act of 1979 : Is the Actt a Vaud Exeroibb or 
THE ArTBoBmr GaAnTED ar Sections 1-224, 1-226, 1-227 (Rbottlation or 

FiBEABMe, EXPtOBIVES AND WEAPONS) OF THE D.C. CODB. OB IS IT A VIOLATION 

OF Sectioh fl02(a)(9) or the District of Columbia Self-government anh 
GovEBNMENT Reorganization Act (87 Stat. 894-95(1973)) 

inteoddction 

The Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975. D.C. Act No. 1^142, approved 
July 23, 1976 raises questions as to whether the Act is the valid exercise of 
authority granted by D.C. Code Sec 1-227. 1-226, 1-224 or a violation of the 
limitation imposed on the legislative authority of the D.C. City Council by sec- 
tion 602(a) (9) of the District of Columbia Self- Government and Government 
Hcoreanliation Act, 87 Stat 894-95(1973), D.C. Code Sec. l-147(a) (9) (Supp. 
II). The conclusion of this report is that the Act Is not valid. 

Section 602(a) (9) provides: 

The Conndl ^lall have no authority . . . to — 

(9) enact any act, resolution, or rule with respect to any provision of title 2S 
(relatinc to criminal procedure), or with respect to any provision of any law 

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90 

codlfled In title 22 or 24 (relating to crimes and treatment of prisoners) during 
tbe twenty-four full calendar months immediately following Che daj on which 
the members of the Council first elected pursuant to this Act take office. 

Sections 1-227, 1-226 and 1-224 of the D.C. Code state : 
Section 1--327 Begulationt relative to firearms, expUttive*. and weapon*. 

Tbe District of Columbia Council is hereby authorized and empowered to 
make, and the CommlBsloner of the District of Columbia is hereby authorized 
and empowered to enforce, all such usual and reasonable police rpg^ulationg, in 
addition to those already made under sections 1-224, 1-225, and 1-226 as the 
Council may deem necessary for the regulation of firearms, projectiles, explo- 
sives, or weapons of any kind in the District of Columbia. 
Section 1S26 Regulations for protection of life, health, and property. 

The District of Columbia Council is hereby authorized and empowered to ■ 
make, and the Commissioner of the District of Columbia is hereby authorized 
and empowered to enforce, all such reasonable and usual police regulations in 
addition to those already made under sections 1-224, 1-225, as the Council may 
deem necessary for the protection of lives, limbs, health, comfort and quiet of 
all persons and the protection of all property within the District of Columbia. 
Section i^Zi Police reffulationi authoriged in certain cages. 

The District of Columbia Council is hereby authorized and empowered to 
make and modify, and the Commissioner of the District of Columbia is hereby 
authorized and empowered to enforce, usual and reasonable police regulations 
in and for said District as follows : 

First. For causing fnll inspection to be made, at any reasonable times, of tbe 
places where the business of pawnbroking, junk-deallng, or second-band clothing 
business may be carried on. 

Second. To r^ulate the storage of highly inflammable substances in the 
thickly populated portions of the District. 

Third. To locate the places where licensed vendors on streets and public places 
shall stand, and change them as often as the public interests requite, and to 
make all necessary regulations governing business. 

Ninth. To regulate or prohibit loud noises with boms, gongs, or other instru- 
ments, or loud cries, upon the streets or public places, and to prohibit the use 
of any fireworks or explosives within such portions of the District as it may 

think necessary to public safety. 

Eleventh. To prescribe reasonable penalties for tbe violation of any of the 
regulations in this section mentioned ; and said penalties may be enforced in 
any court of the District of Columbia having Jurisdiction over minor offenses, 
and in tbe same manner that such minor ofFeuses are now by law prosecuted 
and punished. 

BACKOBOUND 

Congress enacted legislation governing the carrying and selling of firearms 
In the District in 1892. 27 Stat. 116. Several years later it passed legislation 
governing the "killing of wild birds and wild animals in the District of Colum- 
bia," 34 Stat. 808(1906) which included language similar to that currently 
contained In D.C. Code Sec. 1-227. 

When the basic provisions of title 22. chapter 32 of the D.C. Code replaced 
the 1892 legislation, tbe District's regulatory authority under the 1906 Act was 
left unchanged, 47 Stat. 650(1932), as amended, D.C. Code sees. 22-3201 to 
22-3217. 

In 1968. the District promuigateii police regulations covering the possession, 
registration and sale of firearms and destructive devices. D.C. Police Regis. 
arts. 50-55. The Maryland and District of Columbia Rifie and Pistol Association 
challenged the validity of the '68 regulations on the ground that In enacting 
D.C. Code sees. 22-3201 to 22-3217 Congress had preempted the field and with- 
drawn the delegation of legislative authority granted by D.C. Code see. 1-227. 
They contended, alternatively, that tbe regulations exceeded the authority 
granted by the 1906 legislation which they argued should be read narrowly to 
permit only regulations associated with hunting of wild birds and animals. 

The United States Court of Appeals rejected both of these arguments, Mary- 
land and District of ColumUa Rifle and Pistol Association, Inc. v, WatMnston, 



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91 

442 F. 2d. 123 (D.O. Cir. 1S71). It noted that broad language contained in section 
1-227 does not suggest tlie narrow Interpretation otfered and that by subsequently 
repealing all of the 1006 statute except the firearm regulation provision Congress 
intended Bection 1-227 to be Interpreted as broadly as its language. The Court 
also observed with respect to the preemption issue : 

The Important conaideration, we think, la not whether the legislature and 
mimlclpalitr have both entered the same fleid, but whether in doing so they have 
clashed. Statutory and local regulation may coexist in identical areas although 
the latter, not inconsistently with the former, exacts additional requirements, 
or imposes additional penalties. The test of concurrent authority, this court 
indicated many years ago, is the absence of conflict with the legislative will .... 

We find, too, from the fact that section 1-224 was not repealed, either in 1932 
when tbe gun control law was passed or in 19SS when the 1906 wildlife legislation 
was repealed, a satisfying assurance that Congress, having dealt with some 
aspect* of weapons control, left others for regulation by the District. Indeed, as 
we have pointed out. we cannot fathom any other purpose to be achieved by 
leaving section 1-227 in force. We are aware of a brief observation In the legis- 
lative history of the 1932 act that It would effect a "comprehensive program of 
[gnn] control," but we cannot accept that as an expression of intent to preempt 
tbe entire field. Examination discloses that the 1982 act Is not comprehensive 
with respect to riSes and shotguns, and the regulations under review demonstrate 
i clear design to leave the areas preempted by the statute unaffected. Id. at 
130-32. 

When Congress delegated broad general legislative authority to the City 
Conncdl in the District of Columbia Self-Go vemment and Government Reorgani- 
zation Act, it restricted its grant by providing that : 

The Council shall have no authority . . . to — 

(8) enact any act, resolution, or rule with respect to any provision of title 23 
(relating to criminal procedure), or with respect to an; provision of any law 
codified in title 22 or 24 (relating to crimes and treatment of prisoners) during 
tbe twenty-four full calendar months immediately following the day on which 
th» members of the Council first elected pursuant to this Act take office, 87 Stat. 
894-95(1973. D.C. Code Sec. l-147(a) (9). 

TtilB subsection was added to the bill by House sponsors during debate. 119 
Cong. Bee. 33363(1973). Under its provisions, one at the sponsors noted, "the 
City Council is prohibited from making any changes in the criminal law appli- 
cable to the District. The conference committee, "agreed to transfer authority 
to the Council to make changes in Titles 22, 23 and 24 uf the District of Colombia 
Oxie, effective January 2, 1077. ... It Is the intention of the CouCerees that 
their respective legislative committees will seek to revise the District of Colum- 
bia Criminal Code prior to the effective date of the transfer of authority referred 
to." H.H. Rep. No. 93-702, 93d Cong., 1st Seas. 75(1973). We have been unable 
to locate any further express indication of Itgislative intent as to the meaning 
of aectinn 602(a)(9). Other than the language of section 404(a) there Is no 
express Indication as to whether the limitation applies to D.C. Code Sec. 1-227 ; 

Subject to the limitations specified in title VI of this Act [which Includes 
sec. 602(a)(9)], the legislative power granted to the District by this Act is 
vested in and shall be exercised by the Council in accordance with this Act. 
In addition, except as otherwise provided in this Act all functions granted to 
or Imposed upon, or vested in or transferred to the District of Columbia 
Council, as established by Reorganization Plan Number 3 of 1967, shall he 
carried out by the Council in accordance with the provisions of the Act. 87 
Stat 787(1978). 

ABGUUENTS THAT THE ACT IS BEYOND THE AUTHORITT OP THE council. 

Congress reserved to itself legislative jurisdiction over criminal law and 
procednre in the District of Columbia until January 2, 1077 by enactment of 
section 602(a)(9). This fact is established by the legislative history cited 
above and the statements contained in this year's House committee report on 
the MU to extend that date. H.R. Rep. No. 04-1418, 94th Cong., 2d Sess. (1976). 
Any act which prohibits under criminal penalty the control, transfer, offer 
for sale, sale, gift or deliver of destructive devices such as explosives, poison 
gas bombs, tear gas, and tasers; the manufacture of firearms within the District 
of Columbia 1 and the possession of pistols acquired after the effective of the 
Act Involves the exercise of criminal legislative Jurisdiction. 



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By enacting section 602(a) (ft) Congress imposed a moratorium over the 
Council's legislative authority over matters covered by tlties 22, 23 and 24 so 
that the Congress could revise the District's criminal law and procedure includ- 
ing especially those matters currently contained within the three titles. The 
District of Columbia weapons control statutes are currently all found within 
title 22 iucludine provisions for licensing weapons dealers, licensing those who 
carry pistols and prohibiting possession of certain firearms and weapons. 'Hiis 
is the law which Congress Intended to freeze by enacting section 602(a)(9). 
Enactment of the Firearms Control Act alters the law with respect to those 
areas which Congress Intended to examine in revising the D.C. criminal law 
and is therefore within the limitation of that sectiou and beyond the l^lslative 
authority of the D.C. City Council until January 2, 1977. 

Tlie Firearms Control Regulations Act Is an act with respect to title 22 because 
It is an act containing "general and permanent laws relating to the District 
of Columbia" which will have to be placed In the D.C. Code, 1 D.S.C. Sec. 203, 
and the most, in fact only, logical repository for those previous is chapter 32 
of title 22, 

The Firearms Control Regulations Act Is an act with respect to title 23 because 
it deals with many of the same subject matters contained in chapter 32 of title 
22 : circumstances under which a pistol may be lawfully possessed, compare 
D.C. Code sec. 22-3202 with D.C. Act No. 1-142, sec. 201, 202(d), 202(e), 706; 
licensing of those who deal in weapons, compare D.C. Code sees. 22-3200, 22-3210 
with D.C. Act No. 1-142 sees. 401-409; regulation of the transfer of firearms 
compare D.C. Code sees. 22-3208 with D.C. Act No. 1-142 sees. 501, 802 

The Firearms Control Regnlfltions Act is an act with respect to title 22 
because it replaces and repeals D.C. Police Regulaitlons Arts. 50-51 which deals 
with the same subject matter as chapter 32 of title 22. Maryland and DUtrict 
of Columbia Rifle and Piitol Agsociation, Znc. v. Washington, 442 F. 2d 123 
(D.C. Clr. 1971). 

The Firearms Control R^nlatione Act is an act with respect to title 22 
l)ecause the City Council intended it to supplement chapter S2 of title 22 as la 
evidenced by a comparison of the findings and purpose of the Act with the title 
of the 1932 Act whlc^ became chapter 82 of title 22 : compare, "An Act to control 
the possession, sale, transCer, and nse of pistols and other dangerous weapons 
in the District of Columbia. . ." 47 Stat. 650(1932) with D.C. Act No. 1-142, 
sec. 2. 

The Firearms Control Regulations Act is an act with respect to title 22 becanse 
even if the Council could have passed reflations containing the same provisions 
as an exercise of municipal i^siatlTe authority under D.C. Code sees. 1-224, 
1-226, 1-227 it Chose to enact a statute under legislative authoritj first delegated 
in the District of Columbia Self Government and Government Reorganization 
Act, 8T Stat. 774 (1973), D.C. Code sec. 1-124 (Supp. II). 

The Firearms Control Regulations Act is an act with respect to title 22 
because no argument to the contrary is tenable. As noted earlier, even If the Act 
coutd have been promulgated as police regulations under the authority of D.C. 
Code sees. 1-224, 1-226 and/or 1-227, the Council did not elect that approach. 
However, it seems more reasonable to conclude that section 802(a)(9) limits 
the authority granted by D.C. Code sees. 1-224, 1-226, 1-227. The legislative 
history indicates that section was Intended to freeze D.C. criminal law until 
Congress could work a general revision. Congress could not have therefore 
intended to prohibit amendments to titles 22, 23 and 24 covering things like 
firearms control, rape, assault etc. bnt permitting the identical provisions to be 
validly enacted under the authority of D.C. Code sees. 1-224, 1-226, 1-227. More- 
over, in spite of the fact that the lanenege used in the Act, "An Act to protect 
the citizens of the District from loss of property, death, and injury ... in order 
to promote the health, safety and welfare of the people of the District of 
Columbia. . , ." suggests that the authority of D.C. Code sec. 1-226, ". . . police 
regulations ... for the protection of lives, limbs, health, comfort and quiet of 
all persona and the protection of all property within the District of Columbia" 
was used, the Council's selection of penalties In excess of those permitted for 
regulations enacted tinder D.C. Code sees. 1-226, 1-224 negates any argument 
that the Act was passed pursuant to authority vested by those sections. (D.C. 
Code Sec. l-224a provides that the maximum penalties established for violation 
of D.C. Code sees. 1-224. 1-226 may exceed Imprisonment for 10 days ; second 
and subsequent offenders of D.C. Act No. 1-142 are punishable by Imprison- 
ment for not more than 90 days. D.C. Act No. 1-142, sec. 706) . 

The Act cannot be classified as primarily regulatory with only those criminal 
provisions which would be necessaiy to enforce any regulatory scheme because 
in Its regulatory aspects the Act by and large simply reproduces the Police 



R^tolatlons found in ArticleB 60-66 onto which new criminal prohibitions have 
been grafted, e.g., prohibitions against varions and snndTr destructive devices, 
against possession of pistols by D.C. residents acquired after the effective date 
of the Act, and against mannfacturlng firearms within the District. Finally, 
the validity of tl^e Act cannot ()e supported by reference to Maryland and 
Dittrict of Columbia Rifle and Pittol Association. Inc. v. WoihingtoK, 442 F. 
2d. 123 (D.C. Cir. 1971). That case arose prior to the Home Rule Act and dealt 
with the issue of whether in the absence of an express limitation Congress had 
preempted the District's municipal legislative atithoritr. The Firearms Control 
B«sulatlons Act's validity tums on the applicability of secUon 602(a)(9), an 
express reservation of the legislative anthority the District would otherwise 
have been delegated. 

ABODMENTB THAT THE ACT IB WITHin THE COXn<CII,'B ACTHOBFTZ 

The limitation of Becdon 602(a) (9) Is a restriction on the legislative autjior- 
ity, most comparable to ttiat exercised by a state legislature, which the Home 
Rale Act vested In the City Cooncil. It does not restrict the Council's authority 
to enact municipal ordinances. If it did, Ctmgress couW have and would have 
made that clear either in the Act or its legislative history. 

The Firearms Control Regulation Act is regulatory in natnre not criminal. 
Host regulatory schemes provide minor criminal penalties for violation. Two 
of the principal differences between regulatory and criminal provlsitms are the 
extent of noncriminal matter included and the severity of the penalties Imposed. 
The basic thrust of the Firearms Act is administrative, r^ulatory. Maximum 
penalties of 10 days and $300 are the kind of sanctions that support the adminis- 
trative dealings of municipality with its businessmen and citizens; they are not 
tlie liind of penalties one establishes as a crime control measure. 

Section 602(a) (9) restricts amendments to title 22, 23 and 24. The Firearms 
Act does not amend any of those sections. 

Finally, If Coi^ress fails to disallow the Act, it would serve as a further 
indication that section 602(a)(9) was not intended to restrict D.C. Code Sec. 
1-227 or even gun control regulation under Its general legislative powers. 

An examination of the arguments suggests that the Firearms Control Regula- 
tions Act exceeds the legislative authority delegated to the City Council. Con- 
gress in enacting section 602(a) (9) intended to freeze those areas of criminal 
law and procedure contained In titles 22, 23 and 24. "The fact that gun control 
l^lslation for the District of Columbia was then contained In title 22 makes 
It inconceivable that Congress did not intend to preserve the status quo in the 
area of weapons control. 

Of course, Congress could enact the provisions of the Firearms Control 
Regulations Act, or in the absence of federal le^iaiatlon the City Gotmdl coold 
enact them after January 2, 1977, 

Chableb Dotle, 
Legiilative Attorney, 
American Law Division. 

[From Tbe CIvU Ubarties Bsvlew] 

Why a Civil Usbbtabiah Opposes Ottit Contbol 

(By Don B. Kates, Jr.*) 

I am frequently asked: how can a civil libertarian oppose gun control? My 
reply is : bow can a civil libertarian trust the military and the police with a 
mcHiopoly on arms and with the power to determine which civilians may have 
them? I consider self-defense a human right— and one that is particnlarlj vital 
for women who choose to live without "male protectors" In an Increasingly vio- 
lent society. I also tear that enforcement of even a partial prohibition on hand- 
Louis UniTcralty School of Law and Ih In private 
'Rg B student be did dvll rl^bts work in tbe Soatb, 
nod Arthur KIdot, aud drafted dvll rights leglsla- 

— . .;e. He siibBequenllj was a member of the California 

AdTlaDi7 Cammtttee to the Civil Rights CommlBBiou. He bas acted aa a pollee lenl adviser 
and coiualtml on flrearma to California legtsJatlve committees. HU articles liave b««n 
pnbUshed In police and Drearmi technical Joumala. 



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94 

puis would take an immenBc tol! In human liberty and bring; abont a sharp In- 
crease In repugnant police practices as well aa bnndreds of thousands of jail 

sentences. 

If aa both British and American studies assure ns, gun prohibition has no as- 
certainable effect upon violence, then it seems that Its rationale Is revulsion 
against the handgun as a symbol and antagoiilsm toward the conservative but 
generally lawablding people who value that symbol. Such a rationale, however, 
is no more acceptable than the conservative's argument against homosexuality: 
"I don't do it and I don't like people who do— so It oi^ht to be Illegal." 

Advocacy of controversial political or social views frequently provokes violent 
antagonisms. Although they are usually unwilling or politically unable to overtly 
suppress these views, officials can covertly withdraw police protection, leaving 
the job to such gronps as the Ku SXai Klan, the White Citizens Council, the 
Storm Troopers, the Cherry Society, and the Black Hand. 

What might have happened to dvll rights workers if there had been strict 
gun control in the Sonth is exemplified In the 1969 machine-gunning of several 
hundred marchers by rtght-wlng extremists in Mexico City. Both the possession 
of automatic weapons and the act of murder are as strictly forbidden by law in 
Mexico as they are In the U.S. Nevertheless, the police made no arrests— either on 
the scene or wben the attackers later invaded hospitals to finish off the wounded. 

Bven assuming that gun prohibition would be enforced against right-wing ex- 
tremists also, tbe effect Is to render dissenters defenseless without meaningfully 
preventing lethal attacks upon them. A group of Klansmen or other neo-faaclsts 
will hesitate to attack someone they know to be armed or to fire-bomb hia house, 
because they don't want their members to risk injury or death. Even though they 
may be unarmed, they will not hesitate to attack If they know that their intended 
victim is also unarmed and that the police will not defend him. No one had guns 
In the hostile mob which bnmed the headquarters of the Marxist W. E. B. DnBolB 
Club In 1966 while New York City police looked on. But the DuBols Club mem- 
ber who had to pull a pistol on the mob in order to get out of the burning club- 
house was Immediately arrested for gun possession. Needless to say, no members 
of the mob were arrested. 

During the civil rights turmoil in the South, Klan violence was bad enough ; 
it might have been worse with gun control. It was only because black neighbor- 
hoods were full of people who had guns and could fight back that the Klan didn't 
shoot up civil rights meetings or terrorize blacks by shooting at random from 

Moreover, civil rights workers* access to firearms tor self-defense often caused 
southern p<^ce to preserve the peace as they would not have done if only the Ku 
Kluxers had been armed. I remember how Elansmen broke up a series of march- 
ers In a Louisiana town with hideous violence and head-bashing while the police 
looked on in benevolent neutrality. The unarmed marchers' appeals to the gover- 
nor for state police protection were in vain. After many weeks of heavy Injuries 
to the marchers a black man shot one of several Klansmen who attacked him 
vrith clubs. The state police arrived the next day, and there was no further 
violence. 

Contrast an Incident that occurred in Madrid on November 6, 1975. A meeting 
of opposition reform parties was broken up and Ita participants severely beaten 
by right-wing gunmen. The victims could offer no resistance, since Spanish law 
strictly forbids civilian possession of handguns {except by right-wing thugs with 
permits). Falangist policy follows the gun laws of Nazi Germany and fascist 
Italy, under which Jews and political oMwnents were disarmed and left helpless 
against mob violence in the early lfl30s. As Hermann GOring said In 1933, "Cer- 
tainly I shall use the police— and most ruthlessly— whenever the German people 
are hurt ; but I refuse the notion that the police are protective troops for Jewish 
stores. The police protect whoever comes into Germany legitimately, but not 
Jewish usurers." 

Not only political and racial minorities but also women would be handicapped 
by gun restrictions. Throughout history women's status has been fixed, and their 
self-determination curtailed, by male authority figures to whom they had to look 
for protection. Today, as women increasingly choose lifestyles Independent of 
male protection, their ability to protect themselves in a violent society becomes 
more Important. Obviously, in most situations It is futile and perhaps dangerous 
for a woman to resist a male attacker. Armed defence la even more dangerons, 
since a rapist will invariably get a gun away from a woman and use It on her — 
or so moat movie and television scripts tell us. It seems that a woman who 
doeen't have a male to protect her had better just "He back and enjoy it" and 
hope her attacker doesn't Intend to murder or mutilate her afterward. 



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Men — even police chiefs— who voice anch ojdnlons, however, are uanally sur- 
prisingly abort on specific eiamples. I have researched the subject in detail and 
iMve found no case in which a rapist was able to disarm bis victim. Those who 
are famtUar with the martial arts know liow extraordinary dangerous it is to at- 
tempt to disarm anyone — even an untrained person. Police training emphasizes 
that this maneuver should be avoided, unlesB the alternative Is immediate death. 

If women defend tliemselvea with firearms leas frequently than they could, it 
is only becauae they have been brainwashed by the steacly stream of propaganda 
generated by males. The Eisenhower Commission Firearms Taak Force Report, 
for example, contemptuously dismisses women in « single sentence : They are 
"less knowledgeable than men about guns and generally are less capable of self- 
defense." (To make certain they stay that way, the commission recommends ban- 
ning liandguns.) Having trained women to handle guns and liaving studied police 
training for women, I know that they are at least as capable of combat shooting 
as are men. In a met^ianlcal age which has largely rendered irrelevant male- 
female differences in strength, the concept that women are incapable of using 
firearms is an anachronism. I have investigated over 150 cases In which women 
rejected this notion. It is noteworthy that in 80% of the cases studied, women 
chose to defend themselves with liandguns. Such weapons are infinitely preferable 
to long guns becauae they are more portable and maneuverable and far less 
letbaL Here are some abbreviated example : 

California, 1968: A Loe Angeles woman shot and seriously vrounded an at- 
tempted rapist who broke into her house. Police later charged him with two other 
rapes. 

California, 1S70; An armed Modesto woman storekeeper who had wonnded 
armed robbers on two other occasions captured a third. 

Maryland, 1970: Knocked to the street by punches in the face and stomach by 
a mugger who told her, "You know what I want," a Baltimore woman drew her 
pistol and gave him a bullet In the neck instead. 

Maryland, 1971 : A Baltimore woman shot to death a man who bad raped her 
and threatened to kill her children if she called the police. 

Tennessee, 1972 : When a Chattanooga woman drew a pistol, the man who was 
preparing to rape her left In too great a hurry to collect the clothes he had Just 
taken off. He was later traced and apprehended through identification found in 
bis abandoned clothing. 

Florida, 1073 : Although she was seriously wounded by a burglar who stabbed 
her several times, a Barstow woman ahot him to death. 

Kansas. 1974: Commenting, "I don't think you want to do that," a Wichita 
storcowner's wife drew a pistol on two armed robbers. They departed In haste. 

West Virginia, 197B : A retired schoolteacher awakened to find an armed burglar 
in her bedroom. Knocking his gun away. She seized her own pistol and shot him 
to death. 

Oun prohibitionists deny the value of civilian posseBsion of firearms In com- 
batting crime. They cite the Elsenhower Commission's conclusion that "the gun 
is rarely an effective means of protecting the home against either the burglar or 
the robber : the former avoids confrontation, the latter confronts too swiftly." But 
the report, unlike many people who cite it, makes clear that this conclusion aHtllea 
only to householders, and specifically to those householders who do not have fire- 
arms immediately at hand because a criminal attack is completely unexpected. 
Robbers do not "confront too swiftly" for armed storekeepers, who, the report 
admits, foil appreciable numbers of them each year. And, although it offers no 
figures on the success rate of citizens who carry arms for self-defense, the report 
admits that this practice (which it deplores) does allow for some resistance to 

Like much gnn control propaganda, the report does not discuss the utility 
of guns In defending houaeholders against political or other criminal attacks 
which they have reason to expect. But among over one hundred people murdered 
by Ku Kluxers in the 19S0-6G era, I can recall only one who was armed. While 
his gun did not prevent that civil righta worker's death. It lay down covering fire 
which allowed his wife and children to escape the Klansmen who surrounded their 
their burning house. The shots also disabled a Klan car through which the FBI 
was able to trace, catch, and convict the murderera. 

The Elsenhower Commission report admits that there are no comprehensive 
Statistics on the number of lives saved by armed citizens. Its negative conclusioa 
on the ability of armed householders to defend themselves Is based on a limited 
study, conducted in only two cities and over two short periods of time, of the 



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number of criminals killed by armed honaebolders. M7 own study, which ia na- 
tional in scope and covers hundreds of incidents, shows that bonseholders and 
others against whom crimes fire attempted Injure far more criminals than tbej 
kill, and capture without shooting far more criminals than tbey wonnd. Hote- 
over, at least balf of th« Incidents I studied were not cases of self-defense bnt a 
householders coming to tbe aid of their aeigbbors — an issne which the Biseobower 
Commission report ignores. 

The hundreds of Incidents reported by the national gun magazines, culled bf 
readers from their local newspapers, repreisent only the tip of an Immense Ice- 
berg. The local newspapers do not publish every case of dvHian self-defense re- 
ported to police, and certainly the gun magazines' readers do not dieck every 
newspaper or clip every item they see. Far more Importantly, the vast majority 
of such instances are never reported to the police — because the near Wctim cannot 
proTlde an adequate description of the criminal and/or because tbe citizen pos- 
sessed or carried bis gnn illegally. 

One rougb indication of the frequency of such Incidents ia the fact that hundreds 
of thoosands of felony arrests are made eacb year by ofF-duty police. A trained 
officer doubtlessly is more capable of pursuing and arresting a robber or a rapist 
than is an ordinary [terson who is armed. Bnt an off-duty officer is no more likely 
to encounter such a situation. Perhaps a better Indicator Is the apparent success 
of civilian firearms defense training. In 1968, after Orlando, Florida conducted 
a highly publicized shooting course for over 6,000 women, it became the only dty 
with a population over 100,000 which showed a decrease In crime. Rape, a^^gra- 
vated assault, and burglary were reduced by 90%, 25%, and 24% respectively. 
After a slmillarly publicized program for retail merchants in Highland Park, 
Uicbtgau, armed robberies dropped from a total of 80 in a four-month period to 
zero In the succeeding four months. Ia Detroit, after grocers received flrearms 
training and shot seven robbers, the number of armed robberies dnvpeA by 
almost 90%. 

The Eisenhower Commission's view that crime will cease when Its Tictlms are 
deprived of the means of self-defense reflects the commission's privileged white 
intellectual membership and their elitist disregard for those who cannot afford 
to move to "safe" neighborhoods or the high-security apartment buildings. lUs 
constitntes the easy pacifism of those who may never need a gou for self-defense 
because they can obtain armed security services or special police protection 
whenever they need it. 

A very different view is taken by nnderprivlleged and/or minority people who 
lack the wealth to flee the areas in which the police have given up on crime con- 
trol. They know that the only real protection they have Is that which they provide 
themselves. Studies and surreys have repeated^ established that blacks are the 
most frequent victims of crime, are most afraid of crime, and are most likely to 
keep and carry guns for self-defense regardless of the law. Indeed, the only in- 
depth study of the question concludes tiat even the high rate of firearms prosecn- 
tlon against blacks will not stop them from carrying guns for self-defense so long 
as ghetto areas continue to be plagued by violence. 

Selectively misleading American statistics and mlsrepresentationB of British 
experience have led many people in this country to believe that banning handguns 
would reduce violence. Guns make an easy scapegoat for problems which would 
othervrise be Insoluble short of radically reshaping the mores and Institutions 
which produce violent people. Demands for gun prohibition allow ns to Ignore oup 
own unwillingness either to make the necessary fundamental changes or to accept 
and live with a violent society. Criminological studies both In the U.S. and in 
England overwhelmingly demonstrate that peaceful societies do not need handgun 
prohibition and violent societies will not benefit from it. 

Handguns were banned In England In 1B20. The only Indepth study of that 
prohibition, conducted at Cambridge University in 1970, concluded that it has had 
no ascertainable effect on violence. The prohibition was obeyed only because 
England was so peaceful In the 1920s that firearms were not necessary for aell- 
defense. The Cambridge study reports that Britain has remained peaceful despite 
the fact "that 50 years of very strict controls on pistols baa left a vast pool of 
tll^al weapons." The study notes that although New York City's firearms controls 
are more stringent than England's, New York has far more violence. On the other 
hand. Switzerland's firearms violence rate Is negligible even though it has the 
world's highest rate of gun possession among civilians. 

A 1975 study at the University of Wisconsin concluded that "gun control laws 
have no Individual or collective effect in reducing the rate of violent crime." Tb\B 



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87 

study involred a compnteriMd comparlsoo between each state's gna control laws 
and Its crime data. It took Into account demographic, economic, radal, and other 
Tariables relatli^ to gait control effectlTeneas which could be quantified 
statlsticBllT- 

Qnn control propagandists have evaded the same conclusions of many prevlons 
Btudies by arguing that violence persists onlf because ezietlng state prohibitions 
JuHt bave not been able to get rid of enough pistols. To test this theory, the 
Wisconsin study examined handgun ownership statistics and fonnd no correlation 
between bigh civilian pistol ownership and violence. 

Without the societal changes necessary to diminish violence, an effective hand- 
gun ban woDld drive people to the far more lethal long guns for wlf-defense or 
for criminal purposes, liioee who wish to carry their weapons could, working 
for a few minntea with a hacksaw, reduce long guns to handgun slee. Tbns a 
iiandgnn ban would make the shootings In onr Tl<dent society as deadly as th^ 
are in England without reducing their incidence. 

However erroneously, millions of Americans teei that th^ have the constltn- 
tional right to own gons or tliat guns are necessary for their perstmal secniity. 
The sign freijuentlj dil^pia^ed in their homes and stores. "They'll get my gna 
when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers," undoulitedly exaggerates the 
degree of their resistance to gnn prohibition. But experience with the far more 
enforceable prohibitions on liquor and marijuana indicates that millions of 
people would be alienated by what they deem a tyrannical law, and that those 
who believe they can get away with it will disobey the law. British police, nn- 
hampered by the Fourth Amendment, have nevertheless been nnable to stem 
illegal arms traffic — even with the special search and other powers which anc- 
ce»slve gon prohlblticsi bills have gtvoi them. The British army has t>een unable 
to enforce gtm laws in Northern Ireland, even with mass street searches and 
random raids in homes. 

In this connby, even partial enforcement of a handgun probibiUon wonld 
result In lai^e ntunbers of snoopers and Informers, "stop and frisk" laws, no 
knock" searches, and other repugnant [tollce practices. The result of aacti in- 
vasioni of privacy would probably be the jailing of hundreds of thousands of 
otherwise law-abiding citizens who wonld react to gun prohibition with the same 
self-rigbteoua spirit against tyranny tltat greeted liquor and marijuana pro- 
hibitions. In a free society, Hiose who wonld restrict the peoide bear the burden 
of proving probable benefit Hie proof would not need to be great in order to 
ban that whicli few people value ileeply. But mere specnlatlon — against the 
weight of the evidence — cannot justify banning that which is valued as deeJAy 
aa SMne 40 mlllian Americans value their handguns. 

Such a band is not desirable in itself. It would be virtually unenforceable, and 
would not be worth the enormous costs In dvil liberties of even partial enforce- 
ment As the Wisconsin study concludes ; "If the law cannot control such highly 
visible criminal activity as drug trafOc, gambling, and prostitution, with their 
continuing sales of CMnmodlties and services to the general public, then it seems 
unlikely that it could control the one^me sale of an item that can last for 
geaerationa. The basic question la, then, are we willing to make sociological 
and economic Investments of nuA a tremendous nature In a social experiment 
for wMcA there is no empirical support 7" 



Statkuknt or Hcrus W. Pkoehaic, Jb. 

My name is Rufus W. Feckham, Jr. I am a tiUrd generation native Washing- 
tonian and I have resided in the District of Columbia all of my adult Ufe. I am 
an attorney by profeasion and I am one of those who derive much pleasure 
from the recreational and sporting use of firearms. I own a modest collection 
of contemporary firearms and I Iiave berai Issued a federal fire arms license as 
a collector of curios and relics by the U.S. Treasury Department 

OPPOSES omnrcn. act 

I ai^>ear here today to urge you most respectfully to disapprove the D.O. City 
Council's Art No. 1-142, cited as the Firearms Control Begidationa Act of 1975. 

In my humble opinion, and conceded even by some of the proponents, this act 
will do absolutely nothing to curi) vi<dence in onr city much less remove firearms 



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bxttu the bands of the criminal elemoit It will only haraBS and eventuany 
disarm honest citiiena and lecitimate sportamen. 

However, what I believe should l>e of even more concern to yon, the GonKress, 
Is the fact that the City Council has apparently acted in complete defiance of 
yonr statutory mandate! Section 602(a)(9) of the District of Colombia Self- 
Government and Governmental Reorganization Act enacted by the Congress 
specifically mandates inter alia that the City Council shall have no authority to 
"enact any act, resolution, or rule . . . with respect to any provision of any law 
codified in title 22 ... of the District of Columbia Code . . ." for at least two years 
following the Council's first taking office. Title 22 Section 3208 of the District of 
Columbia Code (1973 Edition) provides a procedure which a resident mnst follow 
If be wishes to acquire a pistol. The City Council, however, In complete disregard 
of this Congressional direction has now flatly prohibited the ownership of pistols 
to everyone — including members of Congress — not already in lawful possession 
of them on the eifeetive date of its Act. Gentlemen, was it really yonr Intent to 
allow the local City Coundl to prohibit you and your sooa-to-be-elected colleagnes 
from keeping a pistol In your Washington homes if you so desired? 

To summarize the legal arguments; I respectfully suggest that the City Coun- 
cil's action was flagrantly in excess of its Jurisdictional anthorlty as limited by 
Section 602 (a) (9) of the aforesaid Self-Government Act. 

Now let me outline some of the more highly objectionable features of the 
Council's Act 

OBJEcnon TO codkcil act ho. 1-142 

Section 201 (a) would prohibit the possession of tear gas or similar irritants as 
they are destructive devices as defined under Section 101(T)(C). Many other- 
wise defenseless women and elderly people own these devices for tbeir self pro- 
tection and many have saved themselves from grave bodily harm and possibly 
death by their timely defensive use. Why should these devices be outlawed? 
They rarely, if ever, have lasting ill effects and far more dangerous substances 
are sold openly in hardware stores and super marhets, e.g. concentrated lye and 
other highly toxic substances packaged in aerosol canisters and used to clean 
atoTes, ovens and oUier bousehold appliances. 

jSeclion 202 of the Council's Act would prohibit any further owuereblp of pis- 
tols and I have already referred to its questionable legality. 

Section 203 and 20i provide for firearms registration procedures which are un- 
necessarily burdensome, complicated and Involved. The District of Columbia 
already has a firearms registration procedure and It certainly seems to be ac- 
complishing its Intended purpose quite adequately. What need is there to change 
the present system? 

Section 205 requires a fee to be Imposed on all applications for firearms regis- 
tration certlflcates. But no where is an amount spedfled except that it shall 
"reimburse the District for the cost of the services provided." This section opens 
the door to a veritable host of [>ossible excesses. Is a whole new and costly 
bureaucracy to be established to supervise lawfnl firearms owners? If so the cost 
could well be staggering and it would all fall on the hacks of legitimate firearms 
owners: S^ per certificate, $10, fSO, $100 or even higher, who knows? "The word- 
ing is certainly vagnie. 

Also, it is by no means clear just when or bow often firearms mnst be rer^is- 
tered. Is an initial registration certificate valid until the firearm is transferred 
or otherwise disposed of or must all firearms be reregistered periodically? Some 
City Council sources are reputed to have stated that this act requires annual 
reregistration of all firearms. If this is to be the case then a truly crippling fi- 
nancial blow will be struck at collectors, hunters and other sportsmen such as 
skeet shooters and competition rifie or pistol shooters to whom multiple fire- 
arms ownership is quite commonplace. Not only is reregistration (absent a 
change in ownership) unnecessary and time consuming for the police department 
(which surely has more important things to do) it is blatantly and shocUngly dis- 
criminatory against those of modest means. 

Section SOS provides for the reregistration of flrearms already r^stered. Can 
the City Council otter any possible reason for this duplication of effort and 
expense? 

Section 301 pertains to estates containing firearms. But there is no provision 
for estates containing pistols. What happens to them? Are they to be forfeited or 
confiscated? Many District of Columbia collectors have valuable pistol collec- 
tions. What happens to this property when tbey die? Are their estates and their 
legatees to be denied this valuable property by legislative whim and caprice? 



90 

Wbat aboat tlie estate and inhetitance taxes on tUa iHwrtyl b tte pddic 
treasmy to be dHiied this lawful reroiiK? I have no anawer and ntithex, 
apparmtlj, did the Oty CooncU. 

T^tle IV, Seelion iOI et teq of a» CfXOKil'a Act pertalna to locallT licensed 
dealers, wtii<!h I am not. so I will refrain from conuneat i^an It. 

Section 502 tontrols sales and dranafera. Subpart (a), however, iHtihlldtB any 
sale or transfer of pistols. Is a collector or otlier owner of a Taloable plat<d or 
pistols to be forcrer probibited from realising bis profit on his sound inTcatmeDt? 
Also, this sectioo prohibits any sale of firearms or ammimifion between private 
parties despite their being lawfully entitled to acquire them. ThlB OMaaa that 
a flrearms owner wishing to sell or otherwise dispoae of tbem can s^ them tnlr 
to a licensed dealer and at the dealer's price. This seems a grosslr unfair restraint 
on a firearms owner's ri^I to sell his property if he choeea. 

SecttoM 701(b) piotiibits the loan ot fireanns or anunnnltlrai reg^i^Icss of Qie 
qnalification and etigitriJity of the borrowo-. Thus a fliQier conld not loan hia 
qualified son a bunting rifie to go on his first hunting trip. Nor could I loan my 
fellow Bkeet shooting ndghbor a box of skotgnn ahdis to take to the nungc U Ite 
should have the misfortune to be tonporaril; out ot than. Surdy audi a Itaiah 
restiictlmi serres no mefnl purpose. 

Section 702 tequlres that firearms be kept disassembled or bound by tria;er 
lo<^B. In the first place, reTolvers and lever action rifies Aould not be diaaaaeiu- 
bled except by qualified gunsmiths. Trigger locks will not deter a tUd am^ are 
they even available for all makes of fiiearma. Note, taowevw, that this require- 
ment is inaivlicable to firearms kept in one's place of budneaa. Can it be that the 
City CouDdl places more value on commerce than It does on Hie sanctity of one's 
borne and bmilyT Apparently so because this sectton dearly impUes that It to 
permiasable to use a firearm to protect and defend your commercial inteieata 
but not your home or your wife or your cbildr«) I Surely merchants in ttadr 
stores are not entitled to a hi^er d^ree of self-ivoteclion than families in Ottir 
homes '. This is unconscionable to say nothing of a denial of the equal protectlcm 
of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to our Constitution! 

In the interest of conserving your valuable time I have only referred to tlte 
more repressive, onjnst. unnecessary and In my view illegal features at thto 
poorly conceived and ill advised City Council action. Other witnesses will no 
doubt call other objectionable points to your attention. 

In its statement of purpose the City CooncU stated that its intent was to pro- 
tect the dtiaens of the District. I believe the tme intent of this Act was more 
accurately stated In an editorial in the tFaaAtafftoK Pott of August 30, 1978, 
which stated in part that ". . . gnns (are) a dangerous and nnw(dc4Kae force 
in the commnoity." If this [a the true state of affairs thm It is aziontatic that 
gun owners are also unwelcfane and that if this repressive act is permitted to 
become law then a great many ^w abiding District of Columbia gun ownen wfll 
have no (dioice but to make tbeii homes elsewhere and thweby e^eu furOier 
erode this dty's shrinking tax base . 

In the name of common sense and on behalf of all legitimate firearms owners 
in Washington I urge the GcHtgress to disawirove the City Cooadl's unwise 



Rdfcs W. Pecksak, Jr. 

The CoAHOtAx, We want to thank the gentleman for articulating 
his position on this matter. I am sure tiiat me dialogue today has beoa 
educational to the members of the committee on the substantive issaes 
and also it has afforded an opportunity to discuss some of the legal 
dilemmas and even some of the procedural aspects of this matter that 
will have a bearing on the ultimate decision of the committee. 

I hope that the gentleman is able to remain to hear the testimony 
of our colleague, Mr. Ashbrook, and also the testimony of the Corpo- 
ration Counsel, who has a different view with respect to the legal 
interpretation. 

Mr. GcDE. Despite what differences we may have, I think there is a 
difference of opinion in the committee as to whether these matters 
should be decided by the courts or decided by Congress. 



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100 

But our colleague is not even a bona fide freshman. He took his 
se^ by a special election and yet he is working hard to represent his 
constituents. I see that he campaigned on a tJieme of putting big 
government on a diet. I hope he is successful in the right places in that 
effort. 

I want to thank the gentleman for representing his constituency. 

The Chairman. The Chair now calls the gentleman from Ohio, Mr. 
Ashbrook, to the witness chair. The gentleman has prepared a state- 
ment, a rather short statement and he may proceed as he wishes. 

stateheut of hoh. john h. ashbrook, a befbesentativx 
is conoeess from the otate of ohio 

Mr. AsHBBOOK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I listened to my col- 
leagues' testimony and the questions of the members of this able com- 
mittee and I guess I feel a little bit like the fifth husband of Zaza 
Gabon I know what I have to do but I am not sure how to make it 
interesting. 

[Ijaughter.] 

Mr. Ashbrook. I introduced House Eesolution 1474 to disapprove 
the Firearms Control B^:ulations Act of 1975 enacted by the District 
of Columbia Council on July 23, 1976. 

I'm opposed to that enactment because I regard it as a monstrous 
imposition on the law-abiding citizens of the District of Columbia, and 
because these regulations were adopted illegally by the City Council 
in complete and flagrant disregard of the congressional injunction 
against amendments to the D.C. Criminal Code. 

HOHE RULE ACT PROHIBITION 

That prohibition is very clear. It forbids the Council from enacting 
any law or regulation, "with respect to any provision of any law 
coaified in title 22 of the D.C. Code," which pertains to criminal 
offenses, including firearms laws. The language "with respect to" is 
not limited to enactments which repeal, or conflict with title 22. The 
lagnuage states broadly the intention of Congress to prevent any 
amendments, that is to say, any provisions which change or add to tm 
congressionally-enacted criminal laws relating to fireanna. 

The fact is that no resolution of disapproval should be needed 
against a law passed by the Council illegally, exceeding its jurisdic- 
tion. Such a law is null and void to begin with. 

The Council, however, tried to circumvent that restriction by assert- 
ing that its regulations somehow were not related to the criminal 
code. The Council made various self-serving declarations that its bill 
was "not to be construed as amending title 22," that it was only amend- 
ing the police regulations, and so forth. That position was and is 
transparently abrord. 

COUNCIL ACT NO. 1-142 

Among other things, the Council banned the future possession of 
handguns except by those persons now in the District who already 
were registered owners, and made it a crime for a person to loan any 
firearm in his own home to protect himself against a brealan. 



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101 

In so doing the Council effectively amended numerous provisions of 
title 22. It B.mended section 3203, which defines when possession of a 
handgun is unlawful, section 3204, which defines unlawful carrying of 
a handgun — and specifically excludes carrying in one's home, as well 
as section 3214, which enumerates weapons prohibited from private 



The Council can call these police regulations, or an^hing they like. 
Those are distinctions without a difference; they stUl are de facto 
amendments to title 22. And that is not within the Council's statutory 
power. 

HJI. 12261 

For tiiat reason I was pleased to see that the House last Monday 
adopted an amendment to H.R. 12261, a bill to extend the duration of 
this jurisdictional limitation, which made it absolutely clear that the 
language of section 602(a)(9) of the D.C. Home Rule Act means 
precisely what it says. 

When the Congress said that the City Council could pass no law, 
"with respect to," any provision of the criminal code, that is what 
it meant. It is ridiculous to suppose that the Congress intended to 
give the City Council a free ticket to evade that restriction by calling 
something a "police regulation." 

It is unfortunate that Monday's corrective action by the House 
should even have been necessa^. The language of the D.C. Home 
Sule Act is plain enough. But I think it is well that the House has 
spoken so that there can De not even a possibility of misunderstanding. 

UBBARY OF CONQRESS OPINION 

On this point in particular I would like to offer for the record a 
legal opinion which I have received from the American Law Division 
01 the Congressional Research Service regarding the validity of the 
Council's new gun regulation. The opinion concludes that the Coun- 
cil's action is in fact an amendment to title 22, and is therefore in 
violation of section 602(a)(9). [The opinion appear heretofore on 
pp. 89.] 

The CRS research further makes it clear that a 1971 court case 
upholding the authority of the previous City Council to enact gun 
control regulations dealt with an entirely different situation. 

That City Council, appointed by the President, was authorized by 
Congress to enact any police regulations that did not "clash" or "cmi- 
flict" with the congressionally-enacted criminal laws. 

That is no longer the case. The District of Columbia Home Rule 
Act, passed in 1974, sought to maintain the status quo with regard to 
criminal laws in the District, and the City Council elected under the 
provisions of the Act is proscribed from making any kind of changes — 
even non-conflicting ones— with respect to matters covered in title 22. 

I think our colleague, Mr. Fauntroy, pointed out that it was a sug- 
gestion and not a conclusion, but I think any other opinion would 
hold it up and it would be supported by a court. 

In view of that opinion I would respectfully suggest to this com- 
mittee that its consideration of any concurrent resolution under sec- 
tion 602(c) of the Home Rule Act is not appropriate, since that 



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102 

section relates only to Council enactments "with respect to" provi- 
sions of law codified in titles other than 22, 23 or 24. 

Since the Senate yesterday passed H.K. 12261, it appears that fur- 
ther action by the. House may not be necessary. If this bill is signed 
by the President, it would automatically nullify the regulations whidi 
the Council passed on July 23. 

This is because the prohibition in section 602(a) (9) of the District 
of Columbia Home Rule Act is explicitly referenced to the first 48 
months immediately following the Council's election to office, a time 
period which began in January 1975. 

I thank the committee for its time. 

The Chairman. I thank the gentleman. Since the gentleman is a 
distinguished member of the bar, I wondered if he had the time to 
remain while we ask the corporation counsel to deliver his testimony 
which is essentially on the legal point. 

Mr. AsHBROOK. I certainly will, Mr. Chairman. 

The Chairman. Then both of you could be subject to questions 
from the panel. 

Mr. AsHBROOE. I would be glad to defer to whatever format the 
chairman would like. To answer your question, yes, I will remain and 
I will be available. 

The Chairman. Thank you very much. Mr. Risher, if you will take 
a witness chair, please render your testimony, Mr. John R. Risher, 
Corporation Counsel, District of Columbia Government. 

He is accompanied by Mr. George W. Porter, Assistant Corpora- 
tion Counsel, District of Columbia Government. 

Mr. Risher, you have a statement. Without objection, the entire 
statement will be placed in the record at this point, Mr, Risher. 

Mr. Risher. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

[The document referred to follows :] 

Pbbpabed Stateueht of John B. Bibhix, Jb., Corporation Coxjv^el, D.C. 

Hr. Chairman and members of the committee, I ai^reciate this opportunity 
to appear before this Committee to dlscnss the legal analysis which led me to 
advise the Mayor that there "is no vompelling reason to find [act 1-142] legally 
objectionable." (Statement of The Hon. Walter E. Washington, Mayor of the 
District of Columbia, upon approving Bill 1-164, . . . July 23, 1976, p. 3.) As of 
thlH date, I have not received — and therefore have not had an opportunity to 
review — any detaOed presentation that argues in support of a contrary conclu- 
sion. Accordingly, the views which I present today do not serve as a substitute 
for a rebuttal. 

It is my understanding that there is but a single issne before the Committee, 
today, namely the legal one of whether, because of section 602(a)(9) of F.L. 
93-196, the Coundl was prohibited from enacting tbe subject measure. Secti<m 
602(a) (9) 1b but one of the many esplicit limitations imposed by the (!k>ngress 
in its grant of "Home Rule" to the citizens of the District of ColumMa. It explic- 
itly prohibits the City's legislature from : 

,"enact[ing] any act, resolution, or rule with respect to any provision of 
title 23 of the District of Columbia Code (relating to criminal procedure), or 
with respect to any provision of any law codified In title 22 or 24 of the District 
of Columbia Code (relating to Crimes and treatment of prisoners [prior to 
January 3, 1977] ) .■' 87 Stat. 81.1. 

The legislative history of this provision Is quite scanty: Indeed, the provision 
was not contained In H.R, 9056 when that Bill was reported out of this Com- 
mittee. Thereafter, the provision was inserted (along with others) in this 
Committee's "substitute print". See Newman & Depuy, "Bringing Democracy 
to the Nation's I^st Colony: The District of Columbia Self-Govemment Act." 
24 Amer. D.L. Rev. 537. 649-00 (1975), hereinafter "Newman ft Dq)uy". Yet, 



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lOS 

despite itB mMser leglslatlTe hlstwy. it does appear that the ptirpon of Ota 
meaBDre was to asanage tbose who apprehended that the District's new le^ila- 
tore might "mak{e] the code and sancUms more lenleot." Background and 
LeglalatiTe Hiatorr of U.R. 11286, aud Related Bills Culminating hi the EHstrlet 
of Colomhla Beif-Goremmait . . . Act, Wd Coog., 2d Bess. (Honse Committee 
on the District of Columbia C«Hnmittee Print), p. 1779 (19Te), herelnaAer 
'■Committee Print". See, aim, ibid., pp. 1703, 2171. It therefore Is perhaps Ironical 
that the argnment against the subject measure Is that It seeks to make the laws 
pertaining to the poesesaioiL of weapons more stringent, rather than lenient. 
In other words the argumrat against the measure concedes the measure cannot 
be said to be prohibited by the ^Irit of section 602(a} (&). 

Nox, as I eball demtntstrate, can It be said that eiactment runs counter to the 
letter of secUim 602(a)<S). However, before addressing that Issue directly, 
I should refer to the letter of June 29, 1OT6, whicli I, as Acting Mayor, trans- 
mitted to this Committee, and a copy uf which is attached. There. In objecting 
to an extension of the period during whld) the Coimidl would be pndiitrited 
from addressing the provisions of title 22, I oMnmented t]iat although section 
602(a) <9) explicitly motions only titles 22, 23, and 24, it Is my c^tnl«i that 
the legislative hlBtory of the Act indicates this proMbltliHi was Intended to 
apply to all criminal provMona in the Code. lUd, pl 2. (Emphasis added.) 

My oidnlon that the provision is to be broadly CMistraed, of course, is not 
onlversally held; Indeed, It Is rejected by two of the principal legal advisors 
who aided in the drafting of the "Home Role" Charter. Newman & Depuy, »«pra, 
n>> 649-00. Moreover, as I noted in my letter, my view serves to exacerbate 
many of the problems confronting the District, as certain new criminal laws 
are vital, in any event, It therefore cannot be said that— although I, as a 
matter of policy, favor a narrow construcHwi of section 902(a) <9) — I have 
allowed my policy desires to obscure what my legal training dictates. 

It Is against this background-^-and the fact that during fiscal year 197S there 
were 69S cases of aggravated assault, 3,406 cases of robbery and 183 homicides 
committed in the District by use of revolvers and pistols — that I turn to the 
sole Issue I am addressing. My analysis rests upon the reasoned premise that 
In granting the District "Home Rule" the Congress did not diminish the District's ' 
police power. In other words, my anaiysiB does not rest, to any extent, upon any 
concept of an increase in police power atithority under "Home Rule". 

Since 1887, the District has been "authorized and empowered to make and 
modi^ . . . and enforce [certain] uaiial and reasonable police regulations . . ." 
D.C. Code, g 1-224; see also D.C. Code, |J1-224b, b, 1-226. And, In 1906, Con- 
gress amplified this grant of authority when It explicitly authorised the local 
government to regulate firearms by enacting the followliig provisions, codified 
since then as D.C. Code, 1 1-227 : 

"The District of Colnmbia Council Is hereby authorized and empowered to 
make, and the CommisBloner of the Dfetrict of Columbia Is hereby anthorieed 
and empowered to enforce, all such usual and reasonable police regulations. In 
addition to tbose already made under H 1-224, 1-226, and 1-226 as the Council 
may deem necessary for the regulation of firearms, projectilee. exploslvefl, or 
weapons of any kind in the District of Columbia." (Emphasis added.) 

Therefore, acting pnrauant to this eiiiicit authority, on July 19, 1968, the 
existing firearms regulations (D.C. Police Regs., Articles 60-66) were adopted, 
(l^ese regulations were amended into their present form on January 30, 1909.) 
Soon thereafter a nonprofit corporation, suing oi) behalf of Its members, sought 
from the United States District Court a judgment that the regulations were 
wUro virvt, i.e. beyond the authority of the City to enact. However, the regula- 
tions were sustained in the District Conrt for the District of C!oiumbla In 
Maryland and Diatriet of Oohimtiia Rifle ond Pittal Attooiatiim* v. WatMngton, 
294 P. Supp. 1166 (D.D.C. 1069) ; that ruling rested on the above-quoted pro- 
visions of D.C. Code, section 1-227. 

In an opinion affirming the District Court, the United States Court of Appeals, 
EHstrict of Columbia Circuit, concluded ; "Section 1-227 authorized passage of 
the regnlationa under attack. We discern no exertion of Congressional preroga- 
Hvee disabling the District of Colnmbia Council from adopting them." 142 U.S. 
App. D.C. 375; 442 F. 2a 123, 182 (1971). 

The rtiallenge to the regulations in that case was rested npon essentially the 
same objections that have been advanced with respect to the Firearms Control 
Regulations Act of 1975. Therefore, it is appropriate to repeat some of the reason- 
ing employed by the Court o< A^teals, whldi it acknowledged included many of 



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tlie ewme consideratlDiiB resolTed by Dittrict of Columbia t. John R. Thompton 
Co.. 846 U.S. 100 (19S3). Ibid. 442 F. 2d at 126. n. 14. 
After redtlng the history of the relevant legislation, the Court of Appeals 



". . . appellant's ar^ment that even if Section 1-227 origltially empowered 
the District to promulgate the regulationa under scrutiny, Congress foreclosed 
further exercise of the power by the enactment of its 1932 gun control law for 
the District [D.C. Code, 88 22-3201-22-3217.1 That law requires, among other 
things, the iicenaing of persona carrying pistola and of dealers in certain types 
of weapons, and makes possession of pistols by certain classes of persons a crime. 
The regulation before us go further, in the main by adding rifles and shotguns 
to the licensing requirement, by exacting firearms registration, and by restricting 
tbe sale of amiannltlon. Appellees claim that the regulations legitimately supple- 
ment the statute in areas Congress left untouched. 

"While the District is invested with broad authority to prescribe local regula- 
tions, the ultimate power to legislate for the District resides solely In Congress. 
Many years ago, Congress granted the District relative autonomy, but briefly 
thereafter constituted it a municipal corporation, and established a relationship 
with It comparable to that commonly existing between municipalities without 
home rule and their parent states. So It Is that principles analogous to those well 
established in the law governing municipal corporations come into operation in 
this case. 

"Congressional enactments prevail over local regulations in conflict with them, 
of course, and Congress may at any time withdraw authority previously delegated 
to tbe District, and any regulations dependent on the delegation then lapse. But, 
Just as clearly. Congress may indulge the District in the exercise of regulatory 
powers, enabling It to provide for Its needs as deemed necessary or desirable. 
Section 1-227 is such a grant, as we have held, and tbe remaining Inquiry Is 
whether Congress, by enacting the 1032 gun control law preempted tbe field so 
as to thereafter preclude the regulation of firearms by the District. 

"Appellant contends that it did, arguing that congressional legislation on a 
partlcnlar subject thwarts additional regnaltion of that subject by tbe District. 
In our view, however, appellant's thesis suggests far too much. To be sure, a 
municipal regulation cannot permit an act which the statute forbids, or forbid 
an act which the statute permits. Nor Is there room for local regulation where the 
legislature has dealt with the subject In such manner as to indicate plainly that 
no further action respecting it is tolerable. But we cannot agree that municipal 
regulation is precluded simply becanse the legislature has taken some action in 
reference to tbe same subject. 

"The important consideration, we think, U not whelker the legislature and 
municipality have both entered the name field, hut whether in doing go they ha-ve 
etashed. Statutory and local regvlation may coexist in identical areas although 
the tatter wit inconHstently with the former, exacts additional requirements, or 
imposes additional penalties. Tbe test of concurrent authority, this court indicated 
many years ago. Is the absence of conflict with the legislative will. As the court 
declared in French v. District of Columbia, where It]he subject flsl peculiarly 
within the scope of the [expressly del^ated] police powers of the municipality, 
the exercise of authority ought not to be questioned unless clearly inconsistent 
with the expressed will of Congress." 

"We are aware of a brief observation in the legislative history of the 1932 act 
that it would effect a 'comprehensive program of (gun] control', but we cannot 
accept that as an expression of Intent to preempt the entire field. Examination 
discloses that the 1932 act is not comprehensive with respect to rifles and shot- 
guns, and the regulations under review demonstrate a clear design to leave the 
areas preempted by the statute unaffected." (Emphasis added and footnotes 
omitted. ) Ibid., 442 F.2d at 129-32. 

A Himilar principle has been enunciated by the Supreme Court of Texas In 
Otty of Sweetwater V. Geron, 380 8.W. 2d550 (1964). In that case the court added 
futher emphasis to the last point in concluding: "Although broad powers 
granted to home role cities by the Constitution, Article XI, Section 6, Vernon's 
Ann. St., may be limited by acts of the Legislature, it seems that should the 
Legislature decide to exercise that authority, its intention to do so should appear 
with unmistakable claritv." Ibid, at 562. 

I therefore respectfully submit tliat the flrearms regulations that are now 
before you for approval or disapproval "legitimately supplement the statute in 
areas Congress lett untouched", (to quote the language of the United States 



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105 

Court of ifpeals In Man/land and DUtriot of CoUimiia Rifie AsaooititUm, 4ti 
r. 2d at 130) . In otlier words, as waa true of the regnlations considered there by 
the coorts. the subject provtsions do not "permit an act which the stattrte for- 
bids, or forbid an act which the statute permits." They do no depend tor their 
authority upon any provision of title 22, nor do they modify or affect any of the 
felony proviBions of any portitKi of the D.C. Code. 

In closing, I stat« but the obvious : It is not to be presumed that Congress — 
in granting "Uoine Rule" — Intended to restrict the ability of the people of tbis 
City to provide for their safety. Yet, it is encb an Inconsistent syllo^m whi<A 
must be fasbloned to support the argument that section 602(a) (&) [ovAIblted 
enactment of the subject measure. Clearly, the measure does not fall within 
tbe prohibition of section 6Q2(a) (9). 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

Statbuekt or Hon. Waltes B. Wabhinoton, &Utob of the Dibtmct of 

Coi-uuBiA, Upon Approving Bill 1-164, the Fibeabus Contbol Bkotjlatiokb 

Act July 23. 1976 

Today I bare approved Bill 1-164, tbe "Firearms Control Begulatlons Act" 
The bin Is an effort by tbe Oovemment of the District of Columbia — within the 
limitations of the Charter — to meet the need to protect Its residents and its 
visitors from both the anguish and fear that firearms produce. It Is an important 
step in the right direction. It represents a step taken with the understanding 
that no system of firearms control can be fully effective without appropriate 
controls at the regional and national levels. However, the fact that others must 
also assist obviously does not serve as a valid reason why the City Oovernment 
should not do its part to reduce the human misery and toll caused by tbe pos- 
sion of handguns by certain persons in our community. 

The bill will ban possession of handguns by anyone except police officers 
and special police, tmless the weapons are registered with the City when the 
law takes effect ; new bandguns may not thereafter be registered. Possession of 
sawed-off shotguns, short-barreled rlfies and machine guns will continue to be 
lUegaL 

It should be noted that the measure does not bar ownership or possession of 
shotgtms and rifles, Hovev-v. ft dnoB renulre that any firearm validly registered 
under prior regulations must be registered pursuant to the new law ; an appli- 
cation for re-registration is to be filed within sixty days. 

Measures such as this one raise Issues concerning the rights and prlvll^es of 
private Individuals in onr society. Our mall has been particularly heavy on 
tbe gun control Issue in the past weeks. The letters have ranged from those who 
want no controls to those who want outright confiscation of all firearms. The 
majority of letters have stressed Individual concern for personal safety. I 
understand these concerns. But, as law enforcement officers have stressed, a 
gun in the hands of anyone other than a law enforcement officer or the mili- 
tary does not provide genuine protection for any of us. 

I have considered all of the substantial arguments raised against gun control, 
and I'm not tndl'^pr- nt tn any. But. the Hme has come when it must be con- 
cluded that the lessons of recent history demonstrate that this government 
must provide the best program of gun control within the limits of its powers. 

In short, we regard this measure as a sound att^npt to curtail the source 
of weapons In the City. Tbe City Council has worked closely with my staff in an 
effort to pass a bill which addresses these concerns and many of the argu- 
ments of those who oppose gun controL The measure which It passed, this 
Bill — is administratively acceptable. I appreciate tbis effort by the CoundL 
And althonght there la same concern about tbe administrative costs and incon- 
venience of the re-registration provisions of this measure, these concerns are 
not, in my opinion, of so serious a nature as to warrant disapproval of the Bill. 

Finally. I would add a word to those who disagree with the action the City 
Government has taken. I ask your cooperation and support of our efforts to do 
what we can to assure the safety and protection of the residents of this com- 
munity and tbe many visitors to the nation's capital. We know this Bill is not 
a panacea ; it Is Just a beginning of a long process in this nation. In the opinion of 
the Chief of Police the BlH represents, on l)alance, a clear improvement over 
current law and would foster public safety. In the opinion of the Corporation 
Counsel there Is no compelling reason to find the Bill legally objectionable. As 
the Chief Executive of the District of Columbia, I think It Is my duty t< 



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dre Bill and I ask the commnnity to support the City Ooremment In tta action 
tcMlay wtilch bas but one purpose, tbat is the protection of the safety and welfare 
of Its dtlzens and visitors. 

Thb District or Colcmbia, 
Washtngtm, D.C., June 29, 1976. 
Hon. Cbablbb C. Dioos, 

Chairman, Committee on the Dittriel of Columbia, V.8. Bou»e of Repretenta- 
tives, Washington, B.C. 

DuR Mk. Chaibuan: The Government of the District of Columbia has for re- 
port H.R. 12261, a bin "To extend the period during which the Council of the 
District of Columbia is prohibited from reyising the criminal laws of the District." 

The blU would amend section 602(a)(9) of the District of Columbia Self- 
Oovernment and Governmental Reorganization Act [D.C. Code, Sl-147(a)(9) 
(Snpp. II, 197S) ] by extending by two years the period during which the Council 
U prohibited from taking any action with respect to the provisions In titles 22, 
23, and 24 of the D.C. Code (relating to criminal offenses, criminal procedure, 
and prisoners). Under current law, the Council would assume such authority on 
January 3, 1977. This bill would postpone the Council's assumption of this au- 
thority to January 3, 1979. 

The IMstrlct Is strongly opposed to this hill. The right of the people, acting 
through their elected representatives, to determine the laws which govern them 
Is a fundamental principle of democracy. This right Is presently denied to the 
cltliens of the District with respect to the enactment of criminal laws and pro- 
cedures — matters which are of paramount concern to the people of a city faced 
with the increasing incidence of crime that has plagued all urban areas. Further 
postponement of this right would be inconsistent with the concept of self- 
government. 

The District of Columbia I<aw Bevlalon Commission has begnn the compre- 
hensive task of modernizing the criminal laws of the District and has made 
dgnlflcant progress with a limited staff. The District thoroughly agrees that such 
a major revision should not be undertaken without the benefit of the Commis- 
sion's recommendations. However, there are a numtwr of additions to the criminal 
lawB which are urgently needed to enable the District to meet the challenge of a 
changing society. A number of such provision^ proposed by the District have been 
pending before this Committee — for example, proopsals to prohibit the unauthor- 
ized use of credit cards, to include mobile homes within the scope of the bur- 
glary statutes, and to make it unlawful to obtain telecommunication services 
through misrepresentation. The enactment by the Council of provisions similar to 
these would not interfere with the work of the Commission. Nor can It be pre- 
sumed that the Council requles the result of the Commission's study before it 
should be permitted to enact anch legislation. 

In addition, the prohibition in section 602(a)(9) of Qm Self-Qovemment Act 
raises doobts as to the Council's authority to amend criminal provisions located 
in titles of the D.C. Code other than those specifically mentioned. The Corpora- 
tion Council is of the opinion that the legislative history of the Act indicates 
this prohibition was intended to apply to all criminal provisions in the Code. To 
avoid the danger of subsequent Judicial invalidation of legislative enactments 
containing criminal sanctions, the District has postponed consideration of a 
number of important proposals. For example, the enactment of an occupational 
safety and health act In the District, to fulfill the requirements of the Occupa- 
tional Safety and Health Act of 1970, P.L. 91-596, 84 Stat. 1690, has been delayed 
to 1977, because the Act requires such a local law to include criminal sanctions 
at least as effective as those In the Federal law. A further delay of two years 
would jeopardize the District's implementation of a State Occupational Safety 
and Health Act Plan under that Act. Moreover, this bill would delay the enact- 
ment of laws urgently needed to strengthen the tax avoidance provisions in title 
47 of the D.C. Code, to reduce this source of revenue loss by the District. 

In conclusion, the continuation of this prohibition on the people of the Dis- 
trict to govern themselves In this most important area would be contrary to the 
spirit of the Self-Govern ment Act and the principle of self-determination, and 
would be detrimental to the urgent needs of the District to respond to the chal- 
lenges of crime. Therefore, the District Government is opposed to the enactment 
of B.B. 12261. 

Sincerely yours, 

JoHir R. RiSHBS, Jr., 
Corporation Countel, D.O. 
(For Mayor Walter B. Washington). 



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STATEHEITT OF TOEIT B. BISHEIt, JR., COBFOSATION COTTM EL, 
DISTKICT or C0L1THBIA GOVEBJTHEFT, ACCOMPANIED BT 
OEOROE W. FOETEK, ASSISTANT COBFORATION COIINSSL 

Mr, BiSHBB. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I might state my appreci- 
ation to you and the other members of this committee for tMs oppor- 
tmiity to appear before you to discuss the legal analysis which led 
me to advise the Mayor of the District of Columbia that there is no 
compelling reason to find the subject piece of legislation legally 
objectionable. 

As of this date, I have not received and have not had on opportu- 
nity to review any detailed presentation that argues for a conclu- 
sion contrary to that which I have given. I however will try in a very 
few brief statements throughout the course of my presentation thas 
morning to answer some of what I consider to be the more significant 
arguments which may suggest that a different conclusion is valid. 
In any event, my written statement which has been submitted to you 
cannot be considered as a substantive rebuttal. 

COUNCIL PROHIBrnON IN HOME RUtB ACT 

It is my imderstanding that there is but a single issue before this 
conunitt«e today ; namely, the legal one of whether because of sec- 
tion 602(a) (9) of Public Law 93-198, which is often referred to as 
the home rule bill, the Council of the District of Columbia was pro- 
hibited from enacting the subject measure. 

Section 602 (a) (d) is one of the many explicit limitations contained 
in the Home Eule Act imposed by Congress. It explicitly prohibits the 
City Council or the city's legislature, if you will, from enacting "any 
act, resolution, or rule with respect to any provwion of title 23 of 
the District of Columbia Code (relating to criminal procedure), or 
with respect to any provision of any law codified in title 22 or 24 of 
the District of Columbia Code (relating to crimes and treatment of 
prisoners) " prior to January 3, 1977. 

Let me go back over that provision because there is something which 
is apparent on the face of it which to the best of my knowledge no 
one has really commented upon and certainly no one has commented 
on this very significant language during the course of the testimony 
today. 

The first portion of that section which I have just read prohibita 
any action by the city "with respect to any provision of title 23." It 
does not say with respect to any provision of title 22, 23, or 24. It says 
only with respect to any provision of title 23. 

Then it goes on to say "or with respect to any provision of any 
law codified in title 22 or 24." Why did not the Congress just simply 
strike the first part of that phrase and extend the prohibition to any 
provision of title 22, 23, or 24? 

Why did it make the distinction in language and say the prohibi- 
tion applies "with respect to any provision of title 23," but with re- 
spect to any provision of law codified in titles 22 and 24? 

I will come back to that particular point. Its significance I think 
should be self-evident and that is the prohibition with respect to title 
23 applies to subject matter that is — it applies to the subject matter of 
title 23 and the Council therefore shall not touch upon that matter. 



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108 

The provisions with respect to 22 and 24 is with respect to the par- 
ticular provisions of those titles and not with respect to their subject 
matter. 

The legislativehistory of section 602(a) (9) of course is quite scanty. 
Indeed the provision was not contained in this committee's version 
of the bill that was reported to the House but was not found until 
the committee's substitute was thereaf er submitted. 

Yet despite the meager legislative history of the provision, there is 
no doubt in my mind that the purpose of it was to assuage the appre- 
hensions of those who fear that the District's new legislature might 
make the code and sanctions more lenient. 

It therefore is perhaps ironic that it was concern that the District's 
ffovemment might make tlie criminal provisions more lenient that 
fed to the enactment, but the argument which is being used against 
the validity of the enactment is that it does the contrary ; it makes the 
provisions more stringent. I would suggest that the argument against 
the validity of the measure on its face concedes that the measure at 
least is not inconsistent with the spirit of section 602 (a) (9) . 

I believe, as I shall demonstrate, it cannot be said that the enact- 
ment runs counter to the letter of the law, to the letter of section 602 
(a)(9). Before addressing that issue, I should make reference to a 
letter which I submitted to you as acting mayor on June 29, 1976, a 
copy of which is attached to my prepared text. 

TTiere I objected to the measure which would extend the prohibition 
against the city's enactment of criminal legislation form January 1977 
to 1979. In that letter, I also stated in commenting with respect to the 
provisions of 602(a)(9) that it was my opinion that the legislative 
history of the act, not of just that provision, indicates that the pro- 
hibition was intended by the Congress to apply to all criminal provi- 
sions codified in the code. 

COBPORATION COUNSEL'S OPINION 

My legal opinion is that — and it is binding on all agencies of the 
District of Columbia government except and unless the courts should 
rule otherwise or laws should be enacted to the contrary — the prohibi- 
tion contained in 602(a) (9) is to be broadly construed. That is not a 
universally held opinion. Indeed, as I note in my statement, the prin- 
cipal l^;al advisers to this committee when it was drafting what we now 
know as the self-government act have argued quite persuasively that 
602(a) (9) limits the council only to the extent of literal language of 
that provision, and that is tlie Council may not pass any measure 
which purports to amend title 22, 23, or 24. 1 take a far broader posi- 
tion legally. 

My policy position as a citizen of the District of Columbia and a 
member of its executive branch is that the restriction should not be 
there. 

But my legal position tells me that notwithstanding what my druth- 
ers are, 1 must accept the conclusion that it is to be broadly and not 
just narrowly construed. It is against this background that I turn to 
the precise legal issue. 

It cannot be said that Congress in giving to the District of Columbia 

Sivcrnment home rule intended to diminish the police powers of the 
istrict of Columbia prior to home rule status. 



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109 

My ftnalysis of the legal issue therefore does not rest upon any argu- 
ment or any concept that with home rule came broader powers. My ar- 
gument instead resta upon the reasoned premise that the city now has 
under home rule no less police power authority than it enjoyed prior 
to home rule. 

HisroBY Of police keoulationb 

Since 1887, shortly after the District of Columbia was divested of 
hcnne rule authority, in the 19th century, the District has been author- 
ized and empowered to make and enforce certain usual and regular 
police regulations. 

In 1906 the Congress amplied this grant of authority to the District 
of Columbia government when it explicitly authorized that local gov- 
ernment to regulate firearms by enacting what has been in the code 
since 1906, the provisions of the district of Columbia Code, section 1-; 
237, the provisions of which have not been mentioned by any of the wit- 
nesses who proceeded me this morning. What does 1-227 provide? It 
provides as follows and I quote : 

Tbe District of Columbia Council is hereby autborized and empowered to make 
and enforce, all such UBual and reasonable police regulatlooB, in addition to those 
already made under Sections 1-224, 1-226 and 1-^6 as the Council may deem 
necessary for the regulation of firearms, projectiles, explosives, or weapons of 
any kind in the DUtrict of Columbia. 

FIREASHS REGULATIONS 

Sine© 1906, the city has had that explicit authorization to, a^in, in 
the language of the statute, enact, any measure "the Council may 
deem necessary for the regulation of firearms, projectiles, explosives, 
or weapons of any kind." It was pursuant to this explicit authority 
that the City Council in 1968 enacted the present firearms regulations. 
Those regulations were of course challenged through the courts of the 
District of Columbia, the Federal Courts of the District of Columbia, 
the court of general jurisdiction at that time, in a civil action known 
as Maryland and the District of Columbia Rifle and Pistol Association 
versus the District of Columbia. 

Both the district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals sus- 
tained the authority of the City Council, that pre-horae rule City 
Council, to enact the present regulations. Parenthetically I might note 
that if one compares the subject act with the present regulations that 
have been in existence for now in excess of 6 years since prior to enact- 
ment of the Home Rule Act, one will see that the dissimilarity between 
the scope of those provisions is not substantial. 

That aside. Back to the court decision {Md. and D.C. Rifle c6 Pistol 
AssTL V. WashiTigrion). That particular court challenge was based upon 
the same proposition which is being urged today and that is that the 
city lacked tne authority, because of the congressional enactments 
found in chapter 32 of title 22, to enact any regulations with respect 
to gun control. 

To state the argument differently, the plaintiffs in that action, the 
opponents of the regulation, argued that Congress had preempted the 
field in enacting subsequent to 1906 the gun control measures which 
were contained m chapter 32. 

As I at length set forth in my written statement Judge G'asch in the 
district court and a unanimous panel of the U-S. Court of lAppeate for 



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110 

the District of Columbia rejected these arguments — concluding in the 
language of the court of appeals as follows : 

Section 1-227 autborlzed passage of the regTilationa under attack. We discern 
no exertion of Goi^resslonal preroKatives disabling the District of Coiumttia 
Council from adopting them. (142 U.S. App. D.C. 375 ; 442 F. 2d 123. 132 (1971) ) 

I can summarize the court's reasoning and will by stating that what 
the court concluded was that Congress nad not intended to preoccupy 
the field, if you will, of gun control. 

What Congress had decided in its wisdom was to pass certain felony 
provisions with respect to gun control. 

It had decided to do so some 27 years after it had authorized the 
District of Columbia to enact, pursuant to its police powers, certain 
nonfelony provisions. The court of appeals concluded, and I think 
that the reasoning is simply far too persuasive to have been said to 
have been countered by anything heard today, that Congress had no 
intent to say to the citizens of the District of Columbia that you there- 
fore may not legislate then with respect to other matters with respect 
to gun control that we have not touched by felony provisions. 

In short, Mr. Chairmun, prior to enacting the Home Rule Act, the 
Congress knew that it had given to the District of Columbia govern- 
ment the explicit authority to enact comprehensive measures pertain- 
ing to weapons of any kind. 

The Congress knew that the courts of the District of Columbia, the 
Federal Courts of the District of Columbia, had sustained this exer- 
cised police power by the District of Columbia. The Congress knew 
that the Home Rule Act would provide all powers theretofore exer- 
cised by the District of Columbia could continue to be exercised by the 
successor government of the District of Columbia. 

Yet the Congress chose not to place any provisions within the con- 
text of the Home Rule Act or within the context of the legislative his- 
tory — I am using that term very, very embracively and broadly — 
would indicate that it was taking away from the District of Columbia 
a power which it had given to the District of Columbia 70 some years 
prior to granting it home rule. 

I therefore respectfully submit that the firearms regulation that is 
now before you cannot be said to constitute a transgression upon any 
provision of law that the Congress has said the District of Columbia 
government may not enact legislation with lespect to. 

These provisions do not depend upon any provision found in either 
title 22, 23, or 24 or their authority. Nor do they modify or affect any 
of those felony provisions. Indeed, the explicit authority permitting 
their enactment is that which has existed for some 70 years. 

In closing I would therefore state the obvious. It is not to be presumed 
that the Congress in granting home rule intended to restrict the ability 
of the District of Columbia, the people of the District of Columbia, to 
provide for their safety. 

Yet it is such a syllogism, such an internally inconsistent syllogism 
which must be fashioned to support the argument that the subject leg- 
islation is somehow prohibited by any provision of the charter. 

I would close, Mr. Chairman, by noting that as I read the explicit 
statements of Mr. Dent before the House on Monday of this week, 
he made it c^uite clear as I think we must all agree necessarily is the 
case, that his measure, if enacted into ptfflitive law, would not serve 
as a congressional veto of the subject legislation. 



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HI 

It would have no legal import on the subject legielation. The charter 
quite explicitly provides how the Congress may disapprove legislation 
enacted by the city. Mr, Dent's measure does not pertain to any matter 
which is before the legislature of the right now. It speaks only in 
futuro and not retrospectively. 

I thank you for the opportunity to appear. 

The Chairman. Thank you very much. Mr. Ashbrook, do you have 
any comments or questions of counsel ! 

Mr. Ashbrook. I think it is very appropriate, Mr. Chairman, that 
we do lay out contrasting points of view and let the committee strike 
at them. I am impressed by the arguments. In most of my legislative 
career I have been arguing for the short end of the stick so I know 
sometimes how hard it is tohang on. 

HOUB BUUG ACT FBOHIBITIOK 

Let's go through the two major points you made, first as to 602 
(a) (9). I think it is very clear if you read that they were separating 
23 from 22 and 24 only for the purposes of indicating that 23 relates 
to criminal procedure where 22 and 24 relate to the criminal code. 

It was a very legitimate reason. If you look at the conference report, 
they were in tandem. The conference report refers to 22, 23, and 24 
with no separation. The report says the City Council is prohibited 
from making any changes in the criminal law applicable to the 
District. 

It goes on "agreed to transfer authority to the Council to make 
changes in titles 22, 23, and 24," no separation, "effective January 1, 
1977. I would suggest that your effort to say that there was a separa- 
tion between titles 22, 23, and 24, really isn't much to hang on to be- 
cause they were separated for the reasons stated. 

One refers to criminal procedure while the others "relate to crim- 
inals and treatment of prisoners." 

There can be no doubt that what we are talking about in the Dis- 
trict of Columbia Act is something that relates to a crime. I would 
say very quickly to your second point, it would seem to me that first 
we must be clear that while you used the regulations under section 
1-227 to hang your hat on, the Council did not choose to enact the 
regulation, it chose to enact a statute. 

That should be made very clear. The second point is even if theyl 
were to try to say it was a regulation, the penalties go far beyond 
anything authorized by Council in 1-227. 

FENALTT FROVISIONS 

Tou are talking about penalties of 10 days and up. That is not what 
you are talking about in the statutory provisions enacted by council. 
You are talking about penalties far beyond anything authorized in 
the regulations. 

Third : Your point here that the Congress did not presume, let me 
throw that hack at you, I see no way to argue that the Congress would 
presume to freeze criminal actions under titles 22, 23, and 24 until 1977. 

But as you argue, it would allow the Council to do the same thing 
by regulations. To me that argument just does not make any sense at 
all. There is no way you can convince me the Congress would carve 



wGoogIc 



out this area and say there will be no actions until Januarr, 1977 but 
as you say, then for one reason or another, allow the District of 
Columbia to do precisely the same thing by regulations. 

REOTTLATION OR STATUTE 

You are having it both ways. You are talking about a regulation 
but thmr enacted a statute. You are talking about the presumption on 
a regulation where I think the Congress clearly intended to freeze 
all areas of the District of Columbia cnminal law. 

Last, in trying to refer to the regulations that you say in effect 
Congress continued, previous regulations, did not prohibit ownership 
of firearms. Previous regulations did not get into this vital issue. 

The statute that was passed did get into this issue. I think on maybe 
all four points, you have a basic difference. I think it is very clear, 
at least to me, that the Congress would not freeze this area, freezing 
all of titles 22, 23, and 24—1 don't think you can separate them — and 
then allow the Council by regulation to do what it is clearly said 
should not be done. 

I think you have done a very good job, but I respectfully would 
say I don't think it would stand up. 

The Chairman. Mr, Gude ! 

Mr. Gude. No comment, Mr. Chairman. 

The Chairman. Mr. Mann? 

Mr. Mann. I will pass for the moment, Mr. Chairman, 

The Chairman. Mr. Blester ? 

HOME BTJLS ACT 

Mr. BiESTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I wonder whether we could 
have an answer to this question. I assume there is a general repeal of 
laws in the home rule charter. If there is, would not the authorization 
of 1906 have been at least implicitly repealed by the prohibition set 
forth in section 602? 

If that is the case, then the original grant of authority no longer 
pertains and the thread of continuity would not be there. 

Mr. Ejsher. The fact of the matter is that not only was there not a 
repeal, there is an explicit provision in the charter that continues in 
full foree and effect, all laws, statutes, rules, regulations of the District 
of Columbia that existed as of the date of the city's succession into 
charter form of government. 

Mr. BiESTER. Then it is subject to the limitations specified in title 
VT. That section begins with subject to the limitations specified in title 
VI of this act, the legislative power granted. 

Mr. RisHER. I understand your question. There is no question but 
that title VI contains certain limitations. Those limitations, I would 
suggest to you, without single exception, predated the enactment of 
home rule, every single limitation to be found in title VI. 

Mr, BiESTER. If I understand your argmnent, it is that Congress 
granted certain general authority to the District, the then District 
Government, 1906, to dispose of regulations involving firearms and 
that it is merely a logical extension of that grant of authority which 
is being exercised ^ the Council in these regulations. 

My question is : Is it that original grant of authority in 1906 that 
is limited to whatever the state of the law was in the city adopttwl 



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pursuant to that gnsxt of authority as of the date of ad(^ti<Hi of tiie 
charter? 

The charter provides that there is a limitation on expansion of 
action in the criminal code and provides in section 761 dealing with 
rules of construction to the ext^it that any provisions of Uiis act are 
inconsistent with the provisions of any other law, the provisions of 
this act shall prevail and shall be deemed to precede the provisions of 
Bnch law. 

It seems to me there was a freeze imposed on further extension of 
the 1906 authorization when we adopted the charter. 

Mr. RiBHER. Perhaps I did not understand the question the first 
time I responded. The conclusion is the same. The reason for it is more 
persuasive. The charter now in section 714 of the Self-Govemment 
Act, section 71i(a) provides that any statute, regulation, or other 
action shall be held — shall continue into effect past the succession, the 
date of succession to home rule, self-government status. 

All of my arguments, as I explicitly stated in my statement, rest 
upon the premise that the District had the authority prior to obtain- 
ing its current standing and its current authority; and while under 
home rule the District has greater authority. I don't have to look to 
that reservoir of greater authority to find authority for this measure. 

The District has had the police authority to enact measures of this 
type since 1906. Section 714(a) begins by saying that all statutes in- 
cluding the act of Congress in 1906 coaified as D.C. Code in 1-227 
as a statute shall remain in force and shall have the full force and 
effect that they had prior to the achievement of home rule status. 

Mr. BiESTER. There is a phrase left out there which I think is im- 
portant and that ia "except to the extend modified or * * *." 

Mr. AsHHRooE. That is exactly what I was going to say. The Council 
is correct when it carries forward the authority. What he is overlook- 
ing is we are not talking about the authority, we are talking about a 
congressional reservation which of course is exactly what 602(a) (9) 
ia. There is a direct congressional reservation in titles 22, 23, and 24. 
It is already clearly— it has clearly been shown that under the regula- 
tion they went beyond anything that was already on the books so it 
in effect is a new statute and falls within that area. 

Mr. BiESTER. I am getting close to being clear in my own mind. The 
regulation could continue in the form it was adopted prior to the 
adoption of the charter. 

Mr. AsHBROOK. 1-227! 

Mr. BiESTER. Yes. 

Mr. AsHBBOOE. Sure. 

Mr. BiESTEB. The statutory power to create regulations would sub- 
sist as long as it was not inconsistent with or had been modified by law, 
and the charter in the limitations in article 6 modifies, it seems to me, 
that statute. 

RXGTILATION OR STATUTE 

Mr. Abhbrook. Plus, I would ask the counsel, whether or not he 
thinks that is a regulation. I allege that it is a statute that has the 
effect of a statute, that the counsel does not even refer to it as a regula- 
tion. The Council itself elected to call it a statute. They went far 
beyond any of the statutory punishment or penalties that were allowed 
in 1-227 and it has every earmark of a statute, regardless of what you 
call it 



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114 

Yet they are trying to hang it on to the 1-227 and say it is a regula- 
tion under the existing power of 1906. I think it is a statute and it is 
clearly criminal and Congress did not presume them to allow them to 
do by regulation what they could not do by statute. 

I think they have it both ways wrong but that is what makes court 
cases. 

Mr. BiESTER. I should give counsel the opportunity to respond. 

Mr. RiBHEK. Let me first respond to that which was stated last. The 
first comment that I might make with respect to the statute- regulation 
argument is that about a month ago, I submitted a draft of an intended 
opinion which I will probably not release until Monday of next week, 
of 26 pages, that addresses Uie question of whether the Council may 
act by act or resolution. 

I think that the views that I set forth in that opinion have been 
accepted unanimously by the members of the Council. The charter 
very clearly says the Council shall use only two forms by which to 
express itself, acts or resolutions. Section 602(2) does refer to regula- 
tions as well as acts. But the Council acts as a legislative body by 
passing acts or adopting resolutions. But because we are so technical 
and mmdful of the nice legal arguments in the District of Columbia 

f>vemment, we decided to call this subject piece of legislation the 
irearms Control Regulations Act of 1975. 

So I say to the gentleman from Ohio that we address him on both 
scores, 

Mr. AsHBROOK. Would you answer the one remaining question? 
Would you not stipulate that the Council has penalties in excess of 
those permitted in regulations ! 

Mr. RisHES. The term regulation has no applicable technical basis 
to any enactment of this Council. What the former Council did by 
regulation, this Council does by act. 

Mr. Abhbrook. Except you are trying to hang it on to the 1-227. 

Mr. RisHER. Not trymg to hang it on, sir, trying to rest it firmly. 

[Laughter.] 

Mr. AsHBROOE. If you are going to hang it on to that authority, 
then you have to limit yourself to the penalties under those sections 
and you went far beyond any penalties allowed under those regula- 
tions under the District of Columbia Code. 

The Chatbman, The time of the gentleman has expired. Mr. Harris ? 

Mr. Hakris. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I also suffer from a legal 
education, and I have really just one question and I think it is to 
Mr. Ashbrook. 

REVIEW OF COUNCIL ACTS 

Is it your contention that the function and authority to determine 
the legal authority of an act of the District Council is in Congress or 
in the courts or in both ? 

Mr. Ashbrook. I would say in the first instance, in answer to my 
colleague from Virginia, since it is a special relationship and we do 
have a District of Columbia Committee, in the first case, it would 
probably be the Congress. Automatically it would probably rest in a 
decision of the courts. 

In this particular area, I think it is clear that the Congress reserved 
to itself legislative jur^diction over criminal law and procedure until 



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January 1977. I would answer in the affirmative. The Conncil went 
ahead and made enactment. If the Council does nothing about it, then 
I assume that the authority would have to be tested in court. 

In the first instance, the Congress should have a whack at it. 
Ultimately the courts would have a whack at it in any case. 

Mr. Harris. If I understand your answer, the authority to deter- 
mine the legal authority of the Council with regard to any act it takes 
is in both Congress and the courts ? 

Mr. AsHBBOOK. Yes. In the first case, it is in Congress. 

Mr. Harris. I was limiting the question very specifically as to the 
legal authority the Council has in acting. I am not talking about all 
the other thin^ that I think Congress must take into consideration 
with regard to its responsibility to review ordinances. 

I am talking about the legaX aspects. Do you feel that that remains 
in Congress also ! 

Mr. AsHBRooK. I am one of those who thinks that the Council acted 
without authority, I would hope that the Congress would redress ihtd 
action. In the end if we do not, I would assume in response to my 
colleague, that some citizen would then challenge the law that was 
enacted without proper jurisdiction. 

But I think the action we took Monday, I would say, again, in 
response to your question, is an indication that the Congress did 
think that there was some effort here to act beyond what they could 
legally do under the delegation of authority we gave them. 

Mr. Harris, Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

Mr. RiBHER. Mr. Chairman, might I add a comment in further re- 
sponding to Mr. Harris' question ! 

The Chairman. Certainly. 

Mr. ItiBHSR. I think that the use of the term "reservation" in speak- 
ing with reference to the provisions of section 602 is an unfortunate 
one. My comment is that as I said before the District of Columbia 
government had no authority to do any of the things which are really 
prohibited by section 602 at any time during the 20th century, just to 
show you how far back that goes, or earlier. 

RESERVATIONS OV CONGRESSIONAL ADTHORITr 

The provisions, in section 602, I would suggest, do not constitute, 
therefore, reservations of concessional authority as much they con- 
stitute limitations on the Council. 

I think that is why title VI speaks broadly and generically by use 
of the caption "Reservation of Congressional Authority." The intro- 
duction of section 602 is phrased "Limitations on the Council," 

I think that is indeed what they are. The Council has all legitimate 
legislative powers except those which it may not implement because of 
certain limitations placed upon the city by the Congress, But it can't 
he said that the Congress reserved to itself the vast reservoir of powers 
that only legislatures can enact; that is inconsistent with the notion 
of home rule. The delegation in section 302 of the Self-Govemment 
Act is with respect to all legitimate matters of legislation. That is the 
language. Then throughout the act, essentially in section 602, you see 
a limitation on that broad delegation to be found in section 302. 



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U6 

Mr. AsHBHOOK. No. 1, what is the reason for a limitation? The 
reason is to make sure the District of Columbia does not act in areas 
where the Congress itself had deemed and reserved, if you will, tran- 
scending interest. Title VI, if you look at the largo type, the Corpora- 
tion Counsel read the limitations. 

The large tray says reservation of congressional authority. It says 
to enact or repeal any act of Congress. We referred to limitations 
based on what the Congress had already done. In response to your 
question, we did not give absolute home rule. We reserved the con- 
gressional interest. If you look through those lines, you will find 
Congress, the Speaker of the House, Chairman of the House of Repre- 
sentatives, the reasons for the limitations were cited in title VI at 
the heading. 

I would honestly say respectfully it is a distinction without a 
difference. 

The Cmawmah. Mr. Whaien. 

Mr. Whalen. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

Before proceeding with my question, Mr. Chairman, let me just 
reiterate my firm support of the Home Rule Act. I sincerely believe 
that the Congress should not reject actions taken by the D.C. Council 
absent some compelling reasons. Now Dr. Paul in his testimony cited 
three arguments in opposition to the act passed by the D.C. Council. 

I am going to just comment on them, not in the order in which 
they were presented. First, he indicated that such an act is futile and 
unenforcible, I think there might be some merit to this argument 
but it seems to me that this is a decision that rests with the D.C. 
Council, not the U.S. Congress. If it is a mistake, it is a mistake for 
them to make. 

Second, he raised the question of the constitutionality of such action. 
Now I am not burdened with a law degree so I am not competent to 
respond to that argument. 

It does seem to me, however, that we have had gun legislation either 
in the form of municipal ordinances or State laws for many years and 
to my knowledge, the Federal courts have not ruled that such legis- 
lation is unconstitutional. 

So it seems to me it gets down to the third point that Dr. Paul 
made and that is that the act contravenes the provisions of the so- 
called home rule bill. This seems to be suported by a document which 
has been released by Mr. Charles Doyle of the Congressional Research 
Service, Library of Congress. 

UBRABY OF CONORE59 OPINION 

Have you had a chance, Mr. Risher, to analyze this! Could you 
comment on the conclusion? Let me just read the conclusion for the 
record. He indicates : 

An esamination of the argument snggeats that the flrearmB control reguIatlonB 
Act exceeds the legislative authority delegated to the city council. Congresa in 
enacting Section 602(a) {9) intended to freeze those areas of criminal law and 
procedure contained In Titles 22, 23 and 24. The fact that gun control legislation 
for the District of Columbia was then contained in Title 22 makes it incon- 
ceivable that Congres did not intend to preserve -the status quo in the area of 
weapons controL 

Mr, Risher. To answer your first question, I became aware of the 
document during Mr. Paul's testimony. I quickly read through it 



117 

during the course of Mr, Aahbrook's testimony. So I have read it and 
I thiuK notwithstandbiff the shortness of time, I understand it. Just to 

fet into the language that you just read by way of excerpt from the 
ocument, I must disagree with tne language. 

I think it argues for a conclusion that was preordained. The lan- 
guage if I understood you correctlv said 

Mr. Wbalen. You say the conclusion was preordained, on the basis 
that this study was apparently commisioned oy one who opposes this. 
I would argue that that does not necessarily mean that the conclusion 
would be written to conform with those views. 

Mr. KisHER. That was not my suggestion, sir. The basic premise of 
the argument is that if a matter is mraitioned in title 22, 28 or 34, 
therefore that matter comes within the proscription or the limitation 
of section 602(a) (9) and I don't think the literal language of 602 
{a){9) allows anyone to say that. 

That was the point I was making when I read that particular pro- 
vision. The first line of the first clause of that provision says that the 
Council may not enact any act, rule or resolution with respect to any 
provision of title 23, Then it goes no to say or with respect to any 
provision of law codified in provisions 22 or 2t The rhetorical ques- 
tion I raised in my statement is, Why did the Congress state the limi- 
tation in 602 ( a ) in two clauses and why not j ust one ? Why was not tiie 
first clause written with respect to any provisions of title 22, title 23 
or title 24? It was not written that way. My analysis of just the lan- 
guage is that that first clause prohibits any act, resolution or rule with 
respect to any subject matter that is addressed by title 23 of the code. 
The second clause, the wording of which is quite different, contains 
a limitation only with respect to particular things which are either 
permitted or prohibited by the language of titles 22 and 24. 

The chairman told me before we began this morning that mv state- 
ment is esoteric. Therefore, this analysis is not included in it because 
it is a fairly sophisticated one but I think it is a valid one : the lan- 
guage in the concluding paragraph of the Library of Congress report 
says that the subject legislation by the District of Columbia is illegal 
because it pertains to matters contained in title 22 of the District of 
Columbia Code. But the prohibition in 602(a)(9) insofar as it per- 
tains to titles 22 and 24 does not extend to the subject matters of 22 or 
24. It does not extend, in other words, to what is contained in 22 or 24 
by way of subject matter references. The subject matter prohibition is 
contained in title 23. 

Title 24, to give you an example, refers to the authority of the Com- 
mission of the District of Columbia over the Director of the Depart- 
ment of Corrections, how many guards must be there, and what-have- 
you. 

I am sure this Congress did not intend that the District of Colum- 
bia would have no authority to do anything with respect to the opera- 
tions of that correctional complex prior to 1977 as the prohibition in 
602(a) (9) now reads. That subject matter of prisoners and their treat- 
ment which is the titles for title 24 certainly cannot be said to be beyond 
the authority of the District of Columbia government. 

It is beyond the authority, the question is who is going to run the 
prisons? The rule of reason creeps in here also. You can go through 



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22, 23, and 24 and find similar provisions which lead you to make such 
comments and analrsea 

Mr. Abhbbook. You are hanging your hat on 24 but 22 clearly relates 
to crimes. The statute which you enacted which is a statute relates to 
crimes under 22 and it is not logical to think that the Congress would 
freeze 22, 23, and 24 in the areas of criminal statutes, di&rentiating 
a regulation and allow you by the back door to hang a criminal statute 
on a regulation. 

I thmk we have already stipulated it is a criminal statute. It has all 
of the thrusts of a statute and yet in this case I think the District of 
Columbia Corporation Coimsel is trying to say we enacted a regula- 
tion. I just don't think it will wash. 

The Chairman. Mr. Gude ! 

Mr. Gude. Mr. Chairman, if the gentleman would yield, the House 
19 in session. We have a quorum calland we are going to be under the 
5-minute rule as I understand it on the student loan program. I am 
very concerned about some of the amendments to that bill. 

Mr. Biester just spoke to me and he said he is not ready to vote. I 
don't think it would oe appropriate to take a vote at this time. I would 
like assurances that there will not be any action. 

The Chairman. The gentleman is correct. I will call a recess, sub- 
ject to the call of the Chair. 

J Whereupon, at 12 :15 pjn., the committee adjourned, subject to the 
of the Chair.] 



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APPENDIX 



Chbokology 



June 29, 1976 — Firearms Control BegulatlonB Act of 1&7S, adopted by Conscil of 
the DlBtrict of Columbia (Conndl Act No. 1-142). 

July 23, 1976 — Approved by Mayor. 

Jnly 26, 1976 — Transmitted to Speaker. Bec^Ted by Speaker. 

July 27, 1976 — Referred by Speaker to Honse District Committee. 

July 28, 1976— Received by Committee. 

Jol^ 29, 1976— H. Res. 1447 <re8olntiOD of dlsaMtroval) introdoced by Congress- 
man Paul; referred to Committee. 

July 30, 1976— H. Con. Res. 694 (concnrrentresolutlon of disapproval) Introduced 
by OongieBsmaa Paul ; referred to Committee. 

August 10, 1976— H. Res. 1474 (resolution of dlsapprovial) Introduced by Cod- 
Eressman Ashbrook ; referred to Committee. 

August 23, 1976 — H. Res. 1481 (resolution of disapproval) Introduced by Con- 
gressman Paul et al. ; referred to Committee. 

August 23, 1976 — H. Con. Res. 716 (concurrent resolution of disaivroTal) Intro- 
duced by Congressman Paul et aL ; referred to Conunittee^ 

August 25, 1976— Committee taearlng held on H. Con. Rea. 691. No Committee 
vote taken as no quorum, and House met as hearing ended. 

September 1, 1976 — Committee meeting scheduled. No qnoram. 

September 8, 1976 — Committee meeting cancelled when no quorum available pw 
whip check. 

September 17, 1076 — Committee meeting scheduled. No quorum In morning or 
afternoon. 

September 21, 1976 — Committee meeting scheduled. No qnomm. 

September 21. 1976 — H. Con. Res. 763 (concurrent resolution introduced by 
Congressman Paul et al. ; referred to Committee. 

September 21, 19T6— H. Bes. 1660 (resolution of disapproval) introduced by 
Congressman Paul et al. ; referred to OtMumlttee. 

S^itember 22, 1976 — Speaker Bustalned Chairman's point of order against ttae 
consldcd^tion of H. Res. 1481 by the House. 

September 24, 1976— Congren not having disapproved, Ooandl Act No. 1-142 
became effective (D.C. Law 1-86). Subsequently November 22, 1979) the 
Couttdl extended the effective date for re-reglsterlng flrearms to Decem- 
ber 31, 1976. 

(lU) 



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ADDITIONAL DISAPPROVAL RESOLUTIONS 

(H. Km. 1447, e4tb Cong.. 2d seil., by Mt. Paul on Znlf 2S, 1976] 

RESOLUTION 

Retolved, That the Honae of ItepreeentattveB dlsapproTeB of the action of the 
District of Colambla Council described as follows : The FlrearmB Control Rega- 
latlons Act of 1975 (Act 1-142) passed by the Council of the District of Colum- 
bia on June 29, 1976, signed b7 the Mayor of the District of Columbia on July 23, 
1976, and tranamltted to the Congress on July 27, 1978, pursuant to section 602 (c) 
of the District of Colombia Self-Govenunent and Govemmental BeorganizadoD 
Act 

[H. B«t. 1474, 94th Cong., 2a uu-, b; Mr. Athbroflk on ADpllt 10, 1976] 

RESOLUTION 

Retolved, That the House of Rei^esentatlTea disapproves of the action of the 
District of Columbia Council described as follows : The Firearms Control Segn- 
lations Act of 1975 (Act 1-142) passed by the Council of the District of Colum- 
bia on June 29, 1978, signed by the Mayor of the District of Columbia on July 23, 
1976, and transmitted to the Congress on July 26. 1976, pursuant to section 602(c) 
of the District of Columbia Setf-OoTemment and Oovemmental Reorganization 
Act 

-. -', Mt. Klndneu, Mr, Hall at 

t TeuM, Mt. Asbbrook, Mr. Eetebiun, Mr. ^Uelcher. 

una DIE. AouHEEiDCf oD Auguflt 83, 19761 

RESOLUTION 

Resolved, That the House of RepresentatiTes disapproves of the action of the 
District of Columbia Council described as follows : The Firearms Control Regn- 
laUona Act of 1975 (Act 3-142) passed by the Council of the Mstrict of ColnmWa 
on Jnne 29, 1976, signed by the Mayor of the District of Columbia on July 2S, 
1976, and transmitted to the Congress on July 26, 1978, pursuant to section e02(c) 
of the District of Columbia Self-Oovemment and Govemmental ReorganiEatlon 
Act. 

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