Tuesday, July 15, 2008

An Email to DC Councilman Mendelson

Several days ago, after reading that DC laws define semi-automatic pistols with greater than 14 rounds' capacity as "machine guns", I sent an email to DC Councilman Phil Mendelson, (Pmendelson @dccouncil.us) I do not expect a reply.

Here it is:

Mr. Mendelson, I'm sure you have more important things to do than answer queries from someone in St. Paul, MN. But did FOX quote you accurately here: " I think an individual possessing a handgun that can fire 18 rounds — that is loaded and can fire 18 rounds semiautomatically — is a problem for public safety in the District," Mendelson said. "I don't know what the correct number is, but something less (than 18 shots)." Is the quote correct? If so, may I be so bold as to enquire how the number of rounds in a particular pistol outweighs the intentions of the hand holding said pistol? Recall that Ronald Reagan was almost killed by a .22 caliber revolver, with six shot capacity. Some personal data may be illustrative. I have a permit to carry a pistol in Minnesota. It has a capacity of 14 rounds in a double stack magazine. I usually keep only 10 rounds in the magazine to reduce carry weight.. But as I have no intention of ever opening fire into a crowd as I speed by in my trusty, rusty, 1994 Ford Escort station wagon, it wouldn't matter if it had a 1000 round capacity. God protect me from the need to ever have to draw my weapon in self defense, much less fire it. But carrying a pistol is much simpler than carrying a policeman about. (Because, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away. No slam on the police.) It seems to me a more honorable position for the District, given what I assume are your personal distaste for firearms, would be to recognize that the problems are with the character and behavior of individuals rather than the characteristics of particular firearms. (It may seem as if I am preaching dictates to you. I intend only queries, and if it seems otherwise, it is only my poor writing to blame.) On last question. The article said also, "Current city law defines a 'machine gun' to mean 'any firearm which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily converted or restored to shoot: a) Automatically, more than one shot by a single function of the trigger; b) Semiautomatically, more than 12 shots without manual reloading'. " I have no plans to come to DC, but will now probably stay away in perpetuity, as this law magically turns my CZ pistol into a machine gun. Who knew?

Thank you for enduring my pesty questions.

Despite my groveling politeness, nothing yet. I will be writing again to ask about the proposed new regs. You can read about them at dcist.

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