WEEK IN REVIEW
Federal Panel Rules Against Gun LawFirearms Can't Be Barred From Residents' Homes
A federal appellate panel struck down parts of the District's gun law as unconstitutional, ruling that the city cannot bar people from keeping firearms in their homes.
The 2 to 1 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit guts key parts of the District's law barring all handguns unless they were registered prior to 1976. But it does not address provisions that bar people from carrying unregistered guns outside their homes.
The decision in Parker v. the District of Columbia was a victory for six D.C. residents who said they wanted to keep guns for self-defense, but it could end up before the U.S. Supreme Court as a test of the Second Amendment and the public's right to keep weapons.
Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) said the city would pursue additional appeals and declared himself "disappointed and frankly outraged by this decision."
D.C. Vote Bill Before House This MonthBid to Add Seats for City, Utah Expected to Pass
The House of Representatives will vote by the end of this month on a bill that would give the District a full vote in the chamber, Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer announced.
With backing from Hoyer (D-Md.) and other key lawmakers, the bid to add one seat for the District and another for Utah is expected to pass, legislators said. It would then go to the Senate, where its prospects are less certain.
Task Force to Aid Emergency SystemAction Part of Settlement With Journalist's Family
The District government will form a task force to help implement reforms of its troubled emergency response system as part of a legal settlement with the family of a slain New York Times journalist whose case was poorly handled by police and ambulance workers.
The city will not pay any money to the family of David E. Rosenbaum, which agreed to withdraw a $20 million civil lawsuit against the government. A Rosenbaum family member will be on the task force, and the District will have one year to improve emergency services or the suit can be revived.
Rosenbaum, 63, died Jan. 8, 2006, two days after he was struck in the head with a pipe and robbed while walking after dinner in his quiet Northwest Washington neighborhood. The D.C. inspector general released a blistering report on the case, finding that Rosenbaum was misdiagnosed as drunk and that the ambulance bypassed the nearest hospital because an emergency medical technician had personal business to attend to near Howard University Hospital. Once at the hospital, Rosenbaum was not seen by a doctor for more than 90 minutes.
Atlanta Fire Chief Tapped for D.C. PostEmergency Management Chief Also Nominated
Dennis L. Rubin, the fire chief in Atlanta, is Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's choice to take over the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department.
Rubin, 54, who worked as a D.C. firefighter in the 1970s, would succeed Adrian H. Thompson. Fenty (D), who took office in January, decided to name a new chief amid concerns about emergency care. Rubin said he plans to start work April 16.
Fenty also nominated Darrell Darnell, a former official with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, to head the city's Emergency Management Agency. The nominations are subject to D.C. Council confirmation.
Prosecutors Seek Jail Time for BarryViolation of Probation in Tax Case Charged
Federal prosecutors are seeking jail time for D.C. Council member Marion Barry, alleging that Barry (D-Ward 8), who was spared incarceration last year in a criminal tax case, "has not acted like a person who has been given the opportunity of probation and should not be treated like one."
The U.S. attorney's office charges that Barry violated his probation by missing deadlines for filing federal and District tax returns for 2005. Barry pleaded guilty in 2005 to misdemeanor charges based on his failure to file returns covering 1999 to 2004. He could have been jailed for as much as 18 months but was placed on supervised probation for three years. A judge has not set a hearing on the matter.