Stephen Gutowski said he was excited to exercise his rights for the first time since he moved to the D.C. area five years ago â€” so he grabbed his pistol and headed to the National Mall.
Gutowski, a reporter for the Capitol City Project who also hosts the webcast â€œGames & Guns,â€ has a concealed carry license in the state of Virginia, where he lives. That license wasnâ€™t valid in the District of Columbia, however â€” until Saturday, when a U.S. District Court struck down the capitolâ€™s ban on carrying handguns in public, ruling it unconstitutional. The ruling allows registered gun owners to carry handguns openly or concealed.Â (RELATED:Â Court Strikes Down D.C.â€™s Ban On Carrying Handguns In Public)
Just got back from legally carrying my firearm in DC on this fine day. May have been the first ever. pic.twitter.com/UNo1lAzYo9â€” Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) July 28, 2014
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier ordered her officers not to arrest anyone carrying handguns in publicÂ starting Sunday. To make sure he wouldnâ€™t have any trouble, Gutowski brought copies of both the ruling and the police chiefâ€™s statement with him.
Time to exercise some God-given natural rights. Bringing these along for the ride. pic.twitter.com/MfyOrpf1dCâ€” Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) July 28, 2014
Gutowski said that while he lives in Virginia, he often has to go into the District for work, so itâ€™s a relief to know that he can now have his gun with him at all times. â€œBasically until today [I couldn't carry my gun in] the most dangerous place I went on a daily basis.â€
According toÂ DCâ€™s metropolitan police department, in 2012 alone 88 people were murdered and 236 raped citywide, with thousands of instances of robbery, burglary and aggravated assault.
Gutowski, who also enjoys skeet shooting in his spare time, was carrying a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield pistol, which he was careful to note only holds seven rounds. DCâ€™s ban on â€œlarge capacity ammunition magazinesâ€ â€” magazines with over 10 rounds â€” is still in effect, as is the ban on assault weapons.