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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Congressional Staffer Gun Case Highlights Problems with Patchwork Gun Laws

Roll Call has this story on the Ryan Shucard case.  Shucard is the press secretary to two term PA Republican Congressman Tom Marino who was arrested after allegedly carrying a firearm and ammunition into the Cannon House Office Building.  Shucard lives in Alexandra, VA where it is legal to own a firearm.  Roll Call notes that the Capitol grounds are not governed by DC Law.
...Jason Kalafat, a partner at Price Benowitz LLP who has been hired to represent Shucard in D.C. court, had no comment on his client’s status as a gun owner in Virginia. He said there is no allegation that Shucard had the gun unlawfully, and pointed out that he is not being prosecuted for the federal offense of carrying on Capitol grounds, which carries up to five years in prison.

Kalafat said the difference between gun regulations in D.C. and Virginia creates a “big problem.” 
Because the Capitol grounds are federal property, they are not subject to the District’s strict gun laws.
The same thing could happen in Virginia were it not for pre-emption, which prevents localities from passing their own gun laws.  Say for instance, if Virginia did not have pre-emption, a gun owner traveling from one state to the next would have to know all the gun laws for every locality between the starting point and the final destination to make sure they did not get ensnared by them.

Shucard's case reminds me of the cases where gun owners have mistakenly attempted to take firearms through airport security.  It's obvious that they intended no harm.  Unfortunately in the case of Shucard, DC seems intent on making an example of him.

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