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Could a President Rick Perry Continue to Carry a Concealed Weapon in D.C.?

Texas governor Rick Perry is now a Republican presidential candidate, meaning that if things break right for him he could find himself living in Washington, D.C., next year. Perry now famously goes jogging in his hometown of Austin with "a concealed .380 Ruger loaded with deadly hollow-point bullets, fully equipped with a laser-sight for precise killing," Chris Moody of The Ticket writes. Sometimes, such as when Perry encounters a coyote on his jog, the .380 Ruger even gets put to use. 

Moody raises an interesting question: if Perry is elected president, is there any way that he could "continue to pack heat on his morning run?" Moody concludes that although D.C. law bans carrying firearms, a President Perry could get around this prohibition in several possible ways:

1. Sign an executive order making it legal for himself to carry a weapon;

2. Go to court to seek a ruling that carrying a gun was part of his official duties; or

3. Request to be deputized in the District, giving him the same right to carry a firearm as a member of D.C. law enforcement.

At The Volokh Conspiracy, David Kopel also takes a shot (no gun-pun intended) at answering the question raised by Moody, and says that D.C. law is not a sweeping as Moody believes. The D.C. Code, Kopel says, prohibits carrying a firearm "without a license issued pursuant to District of Columbia law," and the D.C. government virtually never issues carry licenses to citizens. There is an exception to this prohibition, however, for "officers or employees of the United States duly authorized to carry a concealed pistol. ..." As such, Kopel concludes, 

... President Perry could simply authorize himself to carry a concealed pistol. For good measure, he could likewise authorize the entire White House staff, or indeed every single employee of the United States government, to also carry a concealed pistol in D.C.

The Moody article also argues that the Secret Service might have a big issue with President Perry carrying a weapon for his own protection, but Kopel notes that "the President is in charge of the Secret Service, and not vice versa. The Secret Service cannot 'force' him to do anything."

Posted by Bruce Carton on August 23, 2011 at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

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