We need your voice: Public Hearing on Three Gun Bills on March 22

Councilmember Allen to hold public hearing on three gun bills and two resolutions on Thursday, March 22

Students and youth are encouraged to testify on how to reduce gun violence in our community.

Councilmember Charles Allen (Ward 6), Chair of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, invites the public to sign-up to testify at a public hearing next Thursday, March 22 beginning at 11 am.

What: Public hearing on three bills and two resolutions before the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety
Where: Room 500 of the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
When: Thursday, March 22 at 11 am
How to sign-up to testify: Email judiciary@dccouncil.us or call (202) 724-7808. Those who cannot attend but wish to testify can submit written testimony to the above email address.

Background on the bills before the Committee:

Bill 22-0193: Temporary Protection Order Firearm Relinquishment Amendment Act of 2017

Current law allows a judge to issue a temporary protection order (TPO) when they find that “the safety or welfare of the petitioner or a household member [who is filing a petition for civil protection] is immediately endangered by the respondent.” The TPO expires after 14 days and is issued ex parte—that is, without giving the respondent an opportunity to be heard by the judge. This bill would amend D.C. Code § 16-1004 to require the subject of a TPO to surrender their firearms. It would also amend D.C. Code § 22-4503 so that failure to surrender a firearm while subject to a TPO constitutes unlawful possession of a firearm, a crime punishable by 2–10 years’ imprisonment and a fine.

Bill 22-0400: Extreme Risk Civil Protection Order Amendment Act of 2017

This bill would add two new classes of protection orders, extreme risk civil protection orders and ex parte extreme risk civil protection orders, both of which would prohibit the subject from possessing firearms or ammunition. An ex parte ERCPO may be issued if a judge finds “reasonable cause” to believe that the respondent is an “immediate and present danger” to themselves or others because they own a firearm. An ex parte order remains in effect until a hearing on the standard ERCPO takes place, which should be within 14 days of the filing date. A standard ERCPO may be issued when a judge finds by a “preponderance of the evidence” that the respondent poses a “significant danger” to themselves or others. That ERCPO, if granted, remains in effect for one year.

The bill would also create specific procedures for service of ERCPOs, the relinquishment and return of firearms,  and two new criminal offenses: falsifying a petition for an ERCPO (punishable by up to 60 days’ imprisonment or $1000 fine) and unlawful possession of a firearm while the subject of an ERCPO (punishable by a ban on the possession of firearms for up to 5 years). Finally, it requires that information related to the issuance, renewal, or termination be submitted to and stored by MPD.

Bill 22-0588: Possession of Firearm and Ammunition Penalties Amendment Act of 2017

This bill would create two local offenses related to firearms that are already addressed by U.S. law: the possession and sale of firearms with an obliterated serial number,  and the possession and sale of stolen firearms and ammunition. Both offenses would be punishable by 2–5 years’ imprisonment.

The bill adds several new penalties for violating existing District laws related to firearms and ammunition. A person with a felony conviction who violates D.C. Code § 2-2506.1(a)’s ban on ammunition can be imprisoned up to one year. A person who violates D.C. Code §  2-2506.1(b)’s ban on large capacity ammunition feeders can be imprisoned up to five years. A person who violates D.C. Code § 2505.01’s ban on the sale or transfer of firearms must be imprisoned for 2–10 years.

It also creates immunity from arrest and prosecution for organizations and individuals that voluntarily relinquish firearms and ammunition to the Police Chief.

Proposed Resolution 22-0552: Sense of the Council in Opposition to Concealed Carry Reciprocity Resolution of 2017

This proposed resolution expresses opposition to any congressional action that would impose on the District concealed carry reciprocity. Reciprocity would permit anyone licensed to carry a concealed weapon in another state to do so in the District. The resolution mentions three specific bills pending in Congress: Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (H.R. 38), DC Personal Protection Reciprocity Act (H.R. 2909), and Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (S. 446).

Proposed Resolution 22-0796: Sense of the Council Virginia and Maryland Assault Rifle Prohibition Resolution of 2018

This proposed resolution expresses support for Virginia and Maryland legislatures banning assault rifles in the wake of the most recent school shooting. It does not mention particular bills pending in either Virginia or Maryland.

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