The right to conceal and carry in D.C.

Published 11:49 pm Tuesday, June 7, 2016

“Why did we just file for a permit to carry a concealed firearm in Washington, D.C.?” said my friend as I walked with him and his wife to their posh Capitol Hill condo.

“Because we got tired of getting mugged,” said his wife.

“We had to develop a protocol on how to act in the event of a mugging,” said my friend.

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“A protocol on how to act?” I asked.

“Sure,” said his wife. “We learned that the victim should never be rude during the mugging transaction.”

“How can you be rude to a mugger?” I asked.

“Ignoring the mugger is rude,” said my friend. “This will give him license to shoot you or strike you with a blunt object.”

“Why not just run?” I suggested.

“Running will affect the mugger’s self-esteem, which is already low because he mugs people for a living,” said my friend. “You’ll give him little recourse but to shoot you or club you with a blunt object.”

“So what do you suggest a mugging victim should do?”

“We found it best to make an offering of some kind,” said his wife.

“Give up your watch?” I said.

My friends laughed.

“You don’t wear a watch in this city!” said his wife. “You give up your wallet.”

“But my wallet contains my license, credit cards and other vital information.”

“You don’t hand over your real wallet,” said my friend, looking at his wife like I was an idiot. “You give up a dummy wallet. You carry your real wallet in your sock or your underwear.”

“I keep my credit cards in my bra,” said his wife.

“Look, I understand the desire to protect yourselves against muggers, but carrying a concealed weapon is a big step,” I said. “Why don’t you get yourself a dog?”

“We tried a big German shepherd,” said my friend, “but a mugger took his collar.”

“Can’t you call the police?”

“Ha!” said his wife. “Maybe to file a theft report.”

“How about Mace?” I said.

“If a mugger catches you reaching for Mace,” said my friend, “that gives him license to … “

“Shoot me or strike me with a blunt object?”

“Now you’re getting it,” said his wife.

“We’ve been trying get a permit to carry a concealed firearm since 2008, when the Supreme Court held that D.C.’s handgun ban violated individuals’ Second Amendment right. The court affirmed that ‘the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed’ in federal enclaves.”

“So the ruling allowed you to purchase handguns?”

“That’s right,” said his wife, “but we weren’t allowed to carry and conceal them as we walk to and from our condo. To be granted a conceal permit, we had to prove that we had a ‘good reason’ to do so.”

“Washington has some of the highest crime statistics in the country,” said my friend. “Isn’t that reason enough?”

“Because of all the muggers?” I said.

“And the Congress,” said his wife. “That’s why we cheered when U.S. District Judge Richard Leon issued a preliminary injunction banning the ‘good reason’ clause last month. He argued that it was unconstitutional.”

“So we both applied for permits again and are hoping for the best,” said my friend, “but the city is fighting to overturn the judge’s order. The city says its ability to determine who can and cannot conceal handguns is ‘necessary to prevent crime and promote public safety.’”

“That’s a laugh,” said his wife. “I prefer to promote my own public safety by concealing and carrying my own protection.”

Tom Purcell is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist.