Police: Republican Congressmen Posing With AR-15 In U.S. Capitol May Have Committed Crime

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An effort to pander to gun nuts may have gone disastrously wrong for two Republican congressmen who now have Washington D.C. police investigating a possible firearms violation in the U.S. capital.

Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO) and his colleague Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) posed for a picture with an AR-15 in Buck’s office. The rifle was adorned with an American flag camo paint job (of course, it was), and reportedly sits in Buck’s office under his “Second Amendment flag.”

gowdy buck AR-15

That’s great if you want bonus points from the NRA, but unfortunately, the office decoration is also quite possibly very illegal. Washington D.C., has some of the strictest gun laws in the country and one of the clearest parts is that AR-15’s are banned not just in the Capitol building but the entire city.

As ABC News summarized shortly after the Navy Yard shooting spree in 2013:

Carrying a concealed firearm or carrying a firearm openly in D.C. are both against the law. Bringing a firearm from out-of-state without registering it in D.C. is illegal. Assault-style rifles are banned. And even traveling through D.C. with a firearm is illegal.

A D.C. attorney general spokesperson reaffirmed that fact to The Hill after D.C. police announced that they were investigating the two lawmakers. Flatly stating “It is illegal to possess an AR-15 in the District.”

And D.C. doesn’t mess around when it comes to guns. Much to the chagrin of gun rights advocates, D.C. police arrest lots of people for gun violations in the district. In 2011, for example, a law enforcement officer who used his police credentials to purchase an AR-15 to keep in his house was arrested and faced prison time. (His trial never reached a verdict because of a goof up at the district attorney’s office.) Each year, many residents and visitors face charges for similar – albeit less egregious – violations.

Buck doesn’t seemed worried. His response was to suggest he gets special permission to carry his AR-15 that other residents don’t have the benefit of. According to a statement to The Hill:

Buck told The Hill the rifle is “inoperable” and that he received approval from U.S. Capitol Police to bring it to his office, where it is on display in a locked case.

“I have a very patriotic AR-15 hanging in my office. It hangs directly above my Second Amendment flag,” Buck said.

“While safety protocols call for all guns to be treated as if they are loaded, this one isn’t. Further, a close inspection of the only public photo of the rifle will show that the bolt carrier assembly is not in the rifle; it is in fact in Colorado.”

Notice most of what Buck has said is moot. For one, the law doesn’t distinguish between a loaded AR-15 and an unloaded one. It simply states that an AR-15 style weapon is not allowed. Period. It’s also not clear whether Capitol Police have the authority to give a lawmaker a blank check to disobey a law, so getting permission may be a non-factor.

It will be interesting to see whether D.C. police buy Buck’s excuse. Ironically, the lawmaker’s attempt to pump up his gun cred may actually kill it. Should the two men be convicted (or even indicted), they’ll lose the ability to ever buy a gun again. How’s that for a backfire?


Reprinted with permission from Addicting Info


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