Ahoy D.C. - Your Gun Laws Were Ignored
By cdmichel | Published September 30, 2013
ABC News declares that Washington D.C. has the strictest gun laws in the United States. It is a city where local politicians never meet a gun control law they didn't like. Washington's elite crow about their reams of gun control laws. Within the beltway, Joe Biden tells people to buy shotguns instead of AR-15s, and Sarah Brady issues fundraising bulletins demonizing the NRA, while all the well healed politicos brag about Sarah's background checks. D.C. is the hell hole of gun control - a place where city politicians have enacted nearly every law and gun ban on Brady's wish-list.
None of them protected twelve people at the Washington Navy Yard.
The least effective law of all is the one that turned the Navy Yard into a gun free zone. The Navy Sea Systems Command headquarters is a facility that is subject to federal law which prohibits carrying a firearm onto the premises (except by law enforcement or members of the military under certain circumstances). This includes the Navy Yard itself - U.S. Navy Regulation 1159 prohibits anyone from "have[ing] in his or her possession any dangerous weapon, instrument or device ... within any base or other place under naval jurisdiction."
But there's more. Much more. When deranged killer Aaron Alexis entered the beltway, he committed a series of gun control violations (interestingly, his firearm was acquired legally after passing Sarah Brady's background checks). Even though the Supreme Court struck down D.C.'s ban on the possession of handguns in the home in 2008, the District still has a litany of laws on the books that make it more difficult to obtain some firearms, impossible to obtain others, and illegal to carry any loaded gun in the city. Aside from regulating residents - who endure stiff fees, lengthy permission cycles and onerous firearm purchasing schemes - anyone bringing firearms or accessories into the city must obey this series of laws. Even television reporters have been taken to task (though hypocritically not prosecuted) for merely holding an empty - yet banned - magazine. Most recently, the police announced that tourist simply possessing ammunition or empty cartridges will be prosecuted. Is there one on your keychain, or necklace?
Perhaps following Joe Biden's advice on appropriate self-defense firearm, Alexis acquired a Remington 870 pump action shotgun in a D.C. suburb. The next day he drove north to the Navy Yard, which is inside D.C.'s jurisdiction. The first D.C. gun control law Alexis broke was merely bringing the firearm into the city. Transporting a firearm from out of state without registering it in D.C. is illegal. In D.C. carrying a concealed firearm, or carrying a firearm openly, are both against the law. According to Washington's statutes, you can be stopped and have your firearm confiscated for any reason if it came from out of state.
Odds are Alexis filled his shotgun with shells before hitting the road, which means he also violated a different D.C. law prohibiting the transportation of loaded firearms in the city. By just being in the city with a loaded firearm, regardless of whether or not he was the legally registered owner, Aaron Alexis would have been subject to arrest.
Apparently the new Remington 870 shotgun had been "sawed-off," which would violate federal law (since Alexis could not have applied for a modification permit in time) and also violated the city's total ban on such short-barreled firearms. Handguns were also found at the crime scene, but as of this writing the consensus leans to Alexis having taken them from murdered security guards. Plenty of laws against that, of course.
Lastly, along with the Navy Yard, many other specific parts of Washington are also "gun free" zones, through which Alexis undoubtedly passed (for more violations, see our chart). Oh, and there are laws against violence and murder too. We didn't bother to chart those, but obviously they didn't work either.
Much has already been written about the media's incompetence in this story, with false and unsubstantiated rumors of AR-15s involved in the Navy Yard shooting reported as fact in the first day. More has been written about bloviating politicians (a.k.a. Dianne Feinstein) again attempting to hijack a tragedy for their personal agenda by making the same false claim. And news sites are overloaded with analysis of Alexis' unstable mental state, about which many government agencies failed to take action. Left unmentioned by most major media outlets is that the gun ban lobby's wish list was in full effect and did nothing to prevent the shootings.
D.C. will inevitably blame the failure of their gun control laws on someone else. Perhaps they will bemoan the "lax" gun control laws of its neighbors. Maybe they will claim it is the NRA's fault simply because the organization exists. The reality though is a lone whacko simply ignored dozens of laws, hacked off the barrel of a common shotgun, etched mentally disturbed messages into the stock, then violated Washington's "strictest in the U.S." gun control laws to end the lives of twelve innocent people. No gun control law from D.C.'s volumes slowed this killer's demented quest, nor could have. Anywhere.
Which is the point.