Congressman Thomas Massie, R-Ky., has introduced a bill to allow non-residents in Washington, D.C., to carry firearms.
One caveat: Those individuals must already hold concealed carry permits in their resident states.
Massie's concern is that members of Congress are currently unable to defend themselves from armed assassins. Sure, they are safe on Capitol Hill. But when they leave the Hill...
Well, as we learned on Wednesday, it's a justified concern.
But it's not just about the politicians. After all, violent threats hamper a politician's ability to serve the people. And in that, the threat reverberates into our democracy.
Still, as I've explained, it's not practical to assign security details to every federal politician. Doing so would limit the public's access to their elected representatives, it would deter talented individuals from running for office (who wants to be cocooned by armed guards all the time?), and it would cost a lot of money.
Yet we must also recognize the right of politicians to live with some sense of safety.
Correspondingly, Massie's legislation is a sensible step. It's important to consider what the congressman is actually calling for. Because he's not proposing that federal politicians simply be given firearms licenses. Rather, he's saying that if an individual holds a concealed carry license from another state, he or she should gain reciprocal carry authority in Washington, D.C.
Even then, if Democrats oppose Massie's legislation, he should be willing to accept changes that limit the carry-reciprocity to elected members of Congress and not D.C. non-residents in general. That might seem like favoritism for politicians, but it isn't. It's simply a recognition of the fact that when it comes to non-D.C. residents, politicians are at greatest risk. And we need action to protect them.
Those who would oppose this legislation need to ask themselves a simple question. When will they change their mind?
The threat to politicians in our nation is not going away. On the contrary, the rise of inspired violence means that it might actually increase. And if we believe our politics should be subject to the will of the people rather than the assassin, we must take reasonable steps to provide for its defense.