Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Ken Buck

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Gun grabbers who run our nation’s capitol flew into a panic last week when a photo surfaced of Representative Ken Buck (R-Colo.) and Representative Trey Gowdy (R-S.C) holding an AR-15 rifle in Rep. Buck’s Capitol Hill office.

The AR-15 is the most popular rifle in the United States and the one displayed in the photo was both trigger-locked and missing the bolt carrier group necessary for the firearm to operate.

Still, the photo raised enough irrational public safety concerns that the D.C. Attorney General’s Office referred the picture to the Metropolitan Police Department for further investigation.

In referring the photo to Metro Police, the AG’s office – presumably experts in the law and its application to the facts at hand – demonstrated their ignorance of the laws regarding firearms on Capitol grounds.

That’s because federal law, not D.C. law, governs the Capitol grounds (including Rep. Buck’s office) and that the federal rules regarding the possession of firearms by members of Congress are clear. Federal law generally provides that

“[a]n individual or group of individuals…except as authorized by regulations prescribed by the Capitol Police Board…may not carry on or have readily accessible to any individual on the Grounds or in any of the Capitol Buildings a firearm…”

However, there is an exemption that applies to “any act performed in the lawful discharge of official duties by…a Member of Congress…

“The Capitol Police Board regulations implementing this statute state, “[A]ny member of Congress” is eligible under the regulation to “maintain[] firearms within the confines of his [or her] office,” as well as to “transport[] within the Capitol grounds firearms unloaded and securely wrapped.”

Ergo, Reps. Buck and Gowdy were well within their rights to possess the AR-15 rifle when they took the photo.

And for those who might argue that Rep. Buck had to pass through D.C. with his firearm in hand to get to his Capitol Hill office and therefore broke D.C. law by doing so are reminded that the movement of firearms from one place where the firearm is legal to another place where it is legal is protected under both federal and D.C. law.

Congress passed The Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 (“FOPA”) to cover Congressmen like Rep. Buck and Rep. Gowdy. The NRA Institute for Legislative Action writing about the incident noted:

“Where a lawful gun owner can lawfully possess and carry a firearm in both the origin and destination of a journey, the gun owner may lawfully pass through any intervening jurisdiction, notwithstanding its restrictive gun laws, as long as the gun owner stores the firearm in compliance with FOPA during transportation.

The D.C. Code contains a similar transportation provision, of which the D.C. Attorney General’s Office is hopefully aware.”



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