Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Nearly six months after the Supreme Court put an end to the District of Columbia’s decades-old ban on handgun possession, the City Council here passed a sweeping new ordinance on Tuesday to regulate gun ownership.
The legislation would require all gun owners to receive five hours of safety training and to register their firearms every three years. In addition, they would have to undergo a criminal background check every six years.
Councilman Phil Mendelson, who helped draft the bill and shepherd it through the Council, called it a “very significant piece of legislation that borrows best practices from other states.”
Opponents said the legislation flew in the face of the Supreme Court ruling in June.
“The D.C. Council continues to try to make it harder and harder for law-abiding citizens to access this freedom,” Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, told The Associated Press.
Since the Supreme Court struck down the district’s handgun ban, the Council had stitched together a series of emergency measures to regulate gun ownership. Those included allowing residents to keep handguns in their homes, but only if they were used for self-defense.
This fall members of Congress sought to pass a bill that would have rolled back some of the temporary restrictions, but it stalled. [Mark Godsey]