Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 26, 2014

Posts in "DC Crime"

July 21, 2014

Ryan Shucard Case Highlights Gun Law Discrepancies

Staff in Rep. Tom Marino’s office are convinced that Ryan Shucard, the press secretary that arrived at the Cannon House Office building toting a 9 mm handgun on Friday morning, was not planning to harm anyone with the gun.

“No, not at all,” said Bill Tighe, chief of staff for the two-term Pennsylvania Republican, said when asked if staff thought Shucard had ill intentions. Capitol Police also indicated it was an accident, according to Tighe.

Tighe said he was not formally aware that Shucard, a resident of Alexandria, Va., owned a gun. Shucard was hired by Marino’s office in late May. Tighe said he did not know whether Shucard, 26, was registered, trained or permitted to hold a gun in Virginia, where gun laws are less strict than in the District. Full story

July 18, 2014

Ryan Shucard Handgun Incident Casts Campus Security in New Light (Updated)

Updated 6:11 p.m. | Metal detectors and X-ray machines at the southeast door of the Cannon House Office Building  stopped Capitol Hill press secretary Ryan Shucard from allegedly carrying a 9 mm handgun and magazine to work on Friday.

Shucard, a staffer in the office of Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., was arrested by Capitol Police and charged with carrying a pistol without a license. Shucard could face up to five years in prison if convicted of the felony, according to Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, which will review the case.

Opponents of congressional efforts to wipe out the District’s gun laws seized on the arrest as an example of hypocrisy, while members of the Capitol Hill community pondered what could have happened if Shucard entered Cannon via the building’s garage. Full story

July 17, 2014

Scarce Prospects for Senate Shooting Down D.C. Gun Control

gun presser018 071714 440x292 Scarce Prospects for Senate Shooting Down D.C. Gun Control

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., and Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Chief Alfred Durham, prepare for a news conference in Rayburn on a House passed amendment by Rep. Thomas Massie’s, R-Ky., that would “block D.C. from enforcing its local gun laws, as part of the Fiscal Year 2015 Financial Services and General Services Appropriations bill,” July 17, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., is optimistic about Senate support for an appropriations rider that would dismantle local gun laws in the District of Columbia, but he doubts the chamber will consider the measure.

“Twenty rank-and-file Democrats in the House voted for the amendment, and I know Democrats in the Senate would vote for the amendment,” Massie said in an email to CQ Roll Call. “But I suspect that Harry Reid will do everything he can to prevent that vote from happening.”

The Senate majority leader’s office did not respond to questions about Massie’s pro-gun proposal, which would make D.C. perhaps the most permissive jurisdiction in the nation. Neither did some of the vulnerable red-state Democratic senators on the Appropriations Committee who are up for re-election in November — Alaska’s Mark Begich and Louisiana’s Mary L. Landrieu — who have also advocated greater autonomy for the District. Full story

D.C. Could Become Nation’s Most Permissive Gun Jurisdiction, Under House Proposal (Video)

massie 056 050714 440x292 D.C. Could Become Nations Most Permissive Gun Jurisdiction, Under House Proposal (Video)

Massie is wading into the District’s gun laws. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One of Congress’ most outspoken libertarians is the latest member to try to overturn the District of Columbia’s local gun laws. If successful, his proposal would make the District, home to cabinet officials, dignitaries from around the world and the president perhaps the most permissive gun jurisdiction in the country.

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., who in June rallied a bipartisan majority around an amendment to end warrantless collection of Americans’ online activities, attached language prohibiting D.C. from enforcing local firearm restrictions to the House bill funding the District.

“Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller that struck down the D.C. handgun ban, as well as the unconstitutional gunlock provision, it is still difficult for D.C. residents to exercise their God-given right to bear arms,” Massie said Wednesday on the floor. “Congress has the authority to legislate in this area pursuant to article I, section 8, clause 17 of the U.S. Constitution, which gives Congress the authority to ‘exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever’ over the District of Columbia.”

In a move decried as an assault on Home Rule, Massie tried to wield that authority Tuesday night with a similar amendment, but the measure was ruled out of order due to a procedural flaw. To the outrage of Mayor Vincent Gray and the D.C. Council, he tried again on Wednesday and the House adopted the gun rider 241-181, with the support of 20 Democrats. Full story

June 2, 2014

Eastern Market Violence Spurs Calls for Better Street Lighting

wells 270 033114 440x292 Eastern Market Violence Spurs Calls for Better Street Lighting

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In response to a series of violent robberies around the Capitol Hill neighborhood, D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells wants to increase lighting in the area.

Brightening the dark areas around the Hill is tricky, however, because a large part of the neighborhood falls within a historic district. Wells says that designation makes “acquisition and installation of new equipment a complicated and lengthy process.”

To help increase lighting, he wants to trim back the trees and foliage that tend to create dark areas on the leafy, green streets around Capitol Hill. Wells will be working with the Urban Forestry unit of the D.C. Department of Transportation, the agency responsible for street lighting under the Home Rule Act, to ensure trees are not blocking lamp posts and to identify areas that could benefit from additional lighting. Full story

May 28, 2014

Tommy Wells to Talk Public Safety in Wake of Eastern Market Attacks

wells 267 033114 440x292 Tommy Wells to Talk Public Safety in Wake of Eastern Market Attacks

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Capitol Hill has seen an uptick in violence and robberies over the past two weeks.

A man who targets women walking alone at night and robs them after pressing a sharp object to their throats may be behind two recent attacks in Eastern Market, according to D.C. police. A similar robbery also occurred near the NoMa Metro station last week.

Two of the women were cut or stabbed.

In response to the attacks, Tommy Wells, who represents Ward 6 on the D.C. Council, will join members of the Metropolitan Police Department on Wednesday night at the Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.

During the 6:30 p.m. public meeting, police will provide an update on the incidents and answer questions.

Police have released video of a person of interest in the May 15 attack near 9th and C streets Southeast.

They have also released video of a man they believe was involved in the May 21 attack on the 200 block of 8th Street SE.

The department has increased foot, car and bike patrols in the area in response to the incident.

April 24, 2014

The Chronic Countdown: D.C. Marijuana Decriminalization Could Be Final by Mid-July

420 Rally 03 042011 440x325 The Chronic Countdown: D.C. Marijuana Decriminalization Could Be Final by Mid July

(Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Unless Congress steps in, possession of pot in the nation’s capital will become a civil offense this summer, with penalties similar to a parking ticket.

Exact timing depends on when each chamber chooses to adjourn for breaks, but the marijuana decriminalization bill’s layover on Capitol Hill will likely end in mid- to late-July. After that, getting busted with one ounce or less of the drug would result in a fine of $25. The criminal offense currently carries up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

So if Capitol Hill wants to harsh Washington’s mellow, lawmakers have about three months to act. Full story

April 9, 2014

Citing Relisha Rudd, Vincent Gray Calls for Closure of D.C. General Shelter

shelter002 021414 440x295 Citing Relisha Rudd, Vincent Gray Calls for Closure of D.C. General Shelter

Gray is calling for the closure of the homeless shelter at the old D.C. General Hospital. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The long, so-far fruitless search for Relisha Rudd, a missing 8-year-old girl who had been living at D.C. General shelter for nearly two years, has drawn new scrutiny of the long-shuttered hospital that serves as a homeless shelter.

Mayor Vincent Gray announced Tuesday he was calling on his administration to develop a plan to shutter the rodent-plagued facility on the eastern fringe of the Capitol Hill neighborhood that housed nearly 1,000 homeless women and children on frigid nights this winter. Full story

March 31, 2014

Gray Signs D.C.’s Marijuana Decriminalization Bill, Norton Vows to Defend it

veterans 002 111113 440x292 Gray Signs D.C.s Marijuana Decriminalization Bill, Norton Vows to Defend it

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Mayor Vincent Gray quietly signed Washington, D.C.’s marijuana decriminalization measure on Monday, sending one of the nation’s most potent pot bills to Congress for review.

Gray received the measure, sponsored by mayoral candidate and Ward 6 D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells, last week and signed the bill with little fanfare one day before the April 1 Democratic primary in which the two will face off.

“This is a victory for the District and a victory for justice,” Wells said in a statement. “This bill is a tremendous stride to end the disproportionate sociological and economic impact of marijuana arrests on African Americans – arrests that pull families apart and keep our residents from jobs, higher education and housing opportunities.” Full story

Idaho Man Who Fired at White House in 2011 Sentenced to 25 Years

134128609 440x314 Idaho Man Who Fired at White House in 2011 Sentenced to 25 Years

The bullet hole in the window on the residential level on the south side of the White House. (Via AFP/Getty Images)

The man who shot a semi-automatic assault rifle at the White House in 2011 was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Monday for terrorism and related weapons offenses.

Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, 23, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, drove across the country for the Nov. 11, 2011 attack. He fired at least eight rounds from an AK-47-style rifle pointed out the passenger-side, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Disturbing details released Monday afternoon show Ortega-Hernandez had a troubled history and warned friends in Idaho on numerous occasions that he was “on a mission from God to take out” President Barack Obama. Full story

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