New Bill Recognizes Out-of-State Concealed Carry Permits in DC—for Lawmakers AND Citizens

Typically in the wake of a high-profile shooting like the recent attack on GOP congressman, legislation talk about gun control ramps up. Although that certainly was the case (because you never let a crisis go to waste), the shooting was a huge wake up call to Republican legislators --- and even some across the aisle.

Tuesday on radio, Glenn was joined by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) who will introduce a bill that goes the opposite way to expand gun rights.

"My bill would make the District of Columbia honor your concealed carry permit from any state --- and this is for anybody, not just members of Congress --- who comes and visits Washington, D.C.," Massie said.

TAKE ACTION: Call Speaker Ryan to Urge Support of New Concealed Carry Legislation in DC

According to Rep. Massie, over three-quarters of the states already offer reciprocity among the states.

"Washington, DC, is an anomaly, and it's an unsafe spot. Because not only can members of Congress not defend themselves, members of the public can't defend themselves here," Massie said.

The congressman also addressed the urgency of passing his bill as written, with reciprocity for both legislators and citizens.

"Here's the problem with doing it just for members of Congress: then the urgency to restore your right to self-defense goes down. And I'm seeing this with our leadership right now. The people who are in charge of whether this bill comes to the floor or not are the same people who have had their own personal security detail, which amounts to less than one percent of the House of Representatives," Massie explained.

If you would like to respectfully voice your support for Rep. Massie's bill, call Speaker Ryan's office at (202) 225-0600 and urge him to bring the bill to the House floor for a vote.

Enjoy the complimentary clip or read the transcript for details.

GLENN: Hello, America. We want to introduce you again to Congressman Thomas Massie from Kentucky. He is proposing a -- a really good change to our gun laws. One that I think that we can all get behind and help him. I want you to hear why he's proposing it and what it means. We begin there, right now.

(music)

GLENN: Now, you're going to hear things like Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton -- she's from DC -- she says, "This bill flies in the face of the calls for unity."

What Congress is talking about is, how are we going to protect ourselves? And, of course, there are some that say, we want to be able to carry a gun no matter where we go because we're congressmen.

Thomas Massie says, "I've got a better idea." And he's joining us now. Hello, Congressman, how are you?

THOMAS: I'm doing well, Glenn. Thanks for having me on to talk about this bill. This shooting was a real wake-up call, I think, not just for congressmen, but for all Americans.

GLENN: So, first of all, how is everybody that was involved in the shooting? Do you have an update? I know that Scalise was upgraded to I think fair, or was it good yesterday?

THOMAS: Fair. And, yes, he's doing much better. He's taking visitors, in fact. But we've been encouraged not to visit him because he's such a gregarious guy, he'd probably take everybody that visited him. So we have to restrain ourselves here because we want to reach out to him. But he's recovering. It's going to be a long recovery. There's going to be rehabilitation to walk and whatnot.

GLENN: So there's a couple things now that I've been reading that Congress needs to look at. And one of them is, what would have happened if 30 congressmen died? This is one thing that the Constitution doesn't cover. How do we -- how do we get you guys, you know, replaced if you are killed?

And the second thing is this -- this idea that maybe congressmen need more protection or need to be allowed to carry a gun.

THOMAS: Well, let me respond to something that you mentioned about my colleague from Washington, DC. If she's saying this flies in the face of calls for unity, the fact of the matter is, this unites the Republican Party. It may divide the Democrat Party. Because I can tell you, there are members on the other side of the aisle that would vote for this bill if we could get it on the floor today. So I think it actually works across the aisle.

GLENN: So why can't we -- we control the House and the Senate and the White House. Why can't we get it on the floor of the House today?

THOMAS: Well, you know, there are some members of Congress -- and there are very pro-gun members of Congress, who want to bring up legislation only to protect congressmen. Now, listen, those are good ideas. And those members of Congress support the Second Amendment. But here's the problem with doing it just for members of Congress: Then the urgency to restore your right to self-defense goes down. And I'm seeing this with our leadership right now. It -- the people who are in charge of whether this bill comes to the floor or not, are the same people who have had their own personal security detail, which amounts to less than 1 percent of the House of Representatives. By the way, very quickly, just so we all know what we're talking about, my bill would make the District of Columbia honor your concealed carry permit from any state -- and this is for anybody, not just members of Congress -- who comes and visits Washington, DC.

Over three-quarters of the states already offer reciprocity among the states. Washington, DC, is an anomaly. And it's an unsafe spot. Because not only can members of Congress not defend themselves. Members of the public can't defend themselves here.

GLENN: So I know we're talking about Washington, DC, but --

THOMAS: Yep.

GLENN: And if I can look a gift horse in the mouth --

THOMAS: Yeah.

GLENN: -- why are we not talking about this for the entire country, that you -- you know, you got to be able to honor other states? If I have to honor somebody's marriage certificate, why don't they have to honor my concealed weapon permit?

THOMAS: Well, the argument that some people will put up about the -- the Capitol, you know, US Congress telling states that they have honor other state's permits, there's some people that argue the Tenth Amendment, you have to balance that against the Second Amendment.

GLENN: Sure. But they're not doing that with marriage license.

THOMAS: Yeah, exactly. And I would love to see us be able to carry in all states. But the beauty of my bill, Glenn, is that there is no conflict here. There is no legislator for Washington, DC. There is no governor for Washington, DC. Because the Founding Fathers wanted to make sure that the US Congress could write the laws for the city where they had to meet, in just this exact instance, so that they could come here and be safe and so that there would be arbitrary laws that kept our government from functioning. So this is constitutional. The Constitution says that we write the laws for DC.

GLENN: Correct.

THOMAS: Like you just said, if you got a House that's Republican, a Senate that's Republican, and a president that's Republican, and you have clear jurisdiction over the District of Columbia, why does it have the worst gun control laws in the country?

GLENN: So what is the response to your bill so far?

THOMAS: So far, among the membership here, it's been overwhelming. Yesterday, I presented my idea to the entire G.O.P. conference, and before I could sit down, they erupted in applause. And I had members who are not members of the Freedom Caucus come up to me and say, "I know I'm not very conservative, but I sure as heck support your bill." They literally said that to me.

And it's important, but I think our leadership is not responding well to it. They say it's not the right time. I say, this is the exact right time.

GLENN: When is it going to be better? When will it be better? When 30 congressmen were killed?

THOMAS: It's never going to be better. This is urgent. In fact, I have 44 co-sponsors for this bill already, and I just introduced it last Thursday. And I'll probably pick up another four or five today, cosponsors. And I'm telling you, Glenn, if this went to the floor, Democrats would vote for it. Three years ago, I offered legislation that would defund Washington, DC,'s gun control laws. Ironically, I was able to get that to the floor under John Boehner, and Paul Ryan blocked it last summer. He said it wasn't the right time last summer to offer the legislation. But when I got it to the floor under John Boehner, 20 Democrats voted to defund Washington DC's gun control laws.

GLENN: Jeez.

THOMAS: And there was no imperative then like there is now. This is a wake-up call.

GLENN: Okay. So, Thomas, what do you -- I have to tell you, I'm so sick of hearing, "Call your congressman." Call (sound effect). Because they don't care. If you think Paul Ryan gives a flying crap about you and your gun rights, you know -- I mean, how -- again, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me my entire 53 years of life, well, I'm just -- I should be locked in an institution.

So make the case that I should lift a finger to call.

THOMAS: Well, I think, whoever is listening to this, it's probably not your member of Congress who is the problem. It's the leadership, who is preventing this bill from coming to the floor.

And I know I sound like a broken record, but I am going to say you should call the Speaker's office and say, "We know you have protection for yourself. What about the other members of Congress and the rest of the public? Don't think this issue will go away. The next time it could be much worse."

GLENN: All right. So if we call the Speaker's -- do you have -- somebody look up the stupid Speaker's phone number so we can give it out. If we call the Speaker, we specifically need to ask for your bill to be introduced, don't we? Otherwise, they're going to come up with one that just allows them to carry guns, which is a horrible idea.

THOMAS: The reason that idea probably won't work, just to allow members of Congress -- not only does it not restore your Second Amendment rights here in the Capitol City, just to extend it to Congress, it reduces the urgency of some members of Congress. Not all members of Congress.

GLENN: Correct.

THOMAS: But once they feel safe, their urgency to -- to protect your right to protect yourself will go down. Just like it has for the Speaker.

GLENN: Oh, but I will tell you, I mean, they don't seem to care. You know, they did that with health care. And a lot of the Republicans are in on that. They get all the special deals. They get everything. Screw the American people. I got it.

I mean, it sounds like what they will do.

THOMAS: Yep. Well...

GLENN: Sorry, Thomas. I don't mean to take the wind out of your sails. Because I really appreciate you. I really appreciate what you're introducing. And I want to help. And, yes, I will call the Speaker. I mean --

PAT: It's frustrating because we've been so beaten down.

GLENN: It's frustrating.

THOMAS: There's not much wind to take out of my sails. I'm here in the swamp, trying to swim among these creatures.

(laughter)

THOMAS: I can't even get to the wind.

PAT: Does (202)225-0600 sound right for the Speaker's number?

THOMAS: It sounds good. You could call the switchboard here, or you could ask your member of Congress to ask the Speaker to bring this bill up for a vote. Because Democrats will vote for it. I'm telling you, they will vote for it.

There's -- I would love to see the senator who was elected in a state that Trump won, that's up for election, this cycle, telling people that he is against reciprocity in Washington, DC, which is honoring anybody in their states, concealed carry permit.

GLENN: Right. Right.

THOMAS: And it's an indefensible position to say the public and members of Congress can't defend themselves, when the Constitution says the US Congress makes all the laws for Washington, DC.

GLENN: So let's play devil's advocate.

When -- do you have a second, Thomas? Can I take a quick break?

THOMAS: Please.

GLENN: Okay. I'll take a quick break, and then I want to play devil's advocate here and see how you argue the other side.

THOMAS: Sure.

GLENN: Back in a second. Give me the phone number again, Pat.

PAT: Yeah, (202) -- wait a second.

GLENN: Okay. You got to call Speaker Ryan.

PAT: 225 -- oh, yeah. (202)225-0600.

GLENN: Okay. Call speaker Ryan and say you want Thomas Massie's gun legislation for the DC area to be passed as is. Call your congressman and tell him to pressure Speaker Ryan.

What a surprise. Paul Ryan is turning out to be a weasel. I can't believe it!

Call that number now. One more time. Here is the number.

PAT: (202)225-0600.

GLENN: Here's the phone number for the Capitol Hill. And call Republican leadership and tell them you want Thomas Massie's reciprocity bill for the District of Columbia to accept your concealed carry permit for all congressmen and the American public.

PAT: (202)225-0600.

GLENN: Okay. So let's take a couple of things.

Thomas, first, let's talk a little about the leadership and why they would want -- why they're not jumping on this bill.

STU: Right. Thomas, because I don't see Paul Ryan as necessarily an anti-gun guy. I've never seen that out of him. I mean, certainly part of leadership is Steve Scalise. So this is -- I mean, when you say leadership is at fault here, who are we talking about, and what's going on?

GLENN: Or what's the motivation?

THOMAS: Well, I've pitched it to members of the G.O.P. conference here. They love it. But I got a really icy reception with Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McCarthy.

I have to suspect part of their lack of urgency -- they say, well, they kind of -- maybe we should do it later, just not now.

I suspect their lack of urgency could be due to the fact that they have two security officers with them at all time.

GLENN: Hmm. Okay.

PAT: Wow.

GLENN: All right.

PAT: That's amazing.

GLENN: So let's get into that a little bit.

When you have security, you tend not to worry about all the other people because you start to look at everybody else carrying a gun as a threat to your security. And that's what the other side will -- will say. We're in Washington, DC. And we've got -- you know, you're going to have a gun in the Smithsonian. A gun in the national archives. A gun in the nation's Capitol. You can't do that. The American people coming in with guns.

THOMAS: Well, Glenn, I can see across the river from here to Virginia, which offers reciprocity to 49 other states. Okay? And there's problems over there in Virginia. The Pentagon is there in Virginia. It's almost still part of DC.

GLENN: Yeah, but, Thomas, the Pentagon -- they have soldiers there.

THOMAS: I'm just saying that's the proximity to the Capitol. It's virtually the same area. And they have reciprocity. In fact, these congressmen were playing in Virginia at a ball field. But the reason they couldn't carry a weapon is they were coming from DC and were going to return to DC.

GLENN: Right.

THOMAS: The other thing, Glenn, 98 percent of mass public shootings, since 1950, have been in places where citizens haven't been able to defend themselves.

And if you are in a gun-free zone, which effectively all of Washington, DC, is, you are -- you're 20 times more likely in a gun-free zone to be the victim of a mass shooting.

GLENN: So I can't take a gun into a federal building in any city, or a state building, or a school, or anything else. If I'm traveling with my gun and I go into the Smithsonian or I go into the Capitol, you won't let me bring my gun into the Capitol. But you have a locker there or something for the guns? Is that what you would imagine would happen?

THOMAS: Well, in the Capitol, in the buildings here, in the complex, people say, "Well, you know, do you want tourists carrying guns in there?" The Capitol is literal the only example of a gun-free zone. The buildings themselves. Because they have two police officers at every entrance and a metal detector.

GLENN: Correct.

THOMAS: So that when you're inside one of these congressional buildings, you are in what is really a unicorn because it's so expensive to create. You are in a gun-free zone, where criminals -- where the criminals don't have guns.

GLENN: But if I don't -- if every federal building says it's a gun-free zone. Has a sign that says, "You can't bring your gun in," then my gun is locked in the hotel room because I want to go to the museum or -- go ahead.

THOMAS: Glenn, if it were up to me, I would let you carry in the Smithsonian. I mean, I don't see a problem with that.

GLENN: Right. I don't either.

THOMAS: And, in fact, I think it's -- I don't want to even phrase it that way, I want you to be able to carry in the Smithsonian. It would be safer in the Smithsonian if you could. You would be 20 times less likely to be the victim of a mass shooting.

GLENN: I know. Thomas Massie, the congressman from Kentucky. Really, truly one of the good guys. Keep up the fight. Don't get discouraged. We will call Speaker Ryan and say, "Introduce Thomas Massie's bill for carrying a concealed weapon in Washington, DC, for all people." Thank you, Thomas. Back in a minute.

THOMAS: Thank you, Glenn.

As the nation soaks in the victory of the recent passing of the historic First Step Act, there are Congressmen who haven't stopped working to solve additional problems with the criminal justice system. Because while the Act was impactful, leading to the well-deserved early release of many incarcerated individuals, it didn't go far enough. That's why four Congressmen have joined forces to reintroduce the Justice Safety Valve Act—legislation that would grant judges judicial discretion when determining appropriate sentencing.

There's a real need for this legislation since it's no secret that lawmakers don't always get it right. They may pass laws with good intentions, but unintended consequences often prevail. For example, there was a time when the nation believed the best way to penalize lawbreakers was to be tough on crime, leading to sweeping mandatory minimum sentencing laws implemented both nationally and statewide.

RELATED: If Trump can support criminal justice reform, so can everyone else

Only in recent years have governments learned that these sentences aren't good policy for the defendant or even the public. Mandatory minimum sentences are often overly harsh, don't act as a public deterrent for crime, and are extremely costly to taxpayers. These laws tie judges' hands, preventing them from using their knowledge and understanding of the law to make case relevant decisions.

Because legislation surrounding criminal law is often very touchy and difficult to change (especially on the federal level, where bills can take multiple years to pass) mandatory minimum sentences are far from being done away with—despite the data-driven discoveries of their downfalls. But in order to solve the problems inherent within all of the different laws imposing sentencing lengths, Congress needs to pass the Justice Safety Valve Act now. Ensuring its passing would allow judges to use discretion while sentencing, rather than forcing them to continue issuing indiscriminate sentences no matter the unique facts of the case.

Rather than take years to go back and try to fix every single mandatory minimum law that has been federally passed, moving this single piece of legislation forward is the best way to ensure judges can apply their judgment in every appropriate case.

When someone is facing numerous charges from a single incident, mandatory minimum sentencing laws stack atop one another, resulting in an extremely lengthy sentence that may not be just. Such high sentences may even be violations of an individual's eighth amendment rights, what with the imposition of cruel and unusual punishment. It's exactly what happened with Weldon Angelos.

In Salt Lake City in 2002, Weldon sold half a pound of marijuana to federal agents on two separate occasions. Unbeknownst to Weldon, the police had targeted him because they suspected he was a part of a gang and trafficking operation. They were oh-so-wrong. Weldon had never sold marijuana before and only did this time because he was pressured by the agents to find marijuana for them. He figured a couple lowkey sales could help out his family's financial situation. But Weldon was caught and sentenced to a mandatory 55 years in prison. This massive sentence is clearly unjust for a first time, non-violent crime, and even the Judge, Paul Cassell, agreed. Judge Cassell did everything he could to reduce the sentence, but, due to federal law, it wasn't much.

The nation is facing an over-criminalization problem that costs taxpayers millions and amounts to the foolish eradication of individual liberties.

In cases like Weldon's, a safety valve for discretionary power is much needed. Judges need the ability to issue sentences below the mandatory minimums, depending on mitigating factors such as mental health, provocation, or physical illness. That's what this new bill would allow for. Critics may argue that this gives judges too much power, but under the bill, judges must first make a finding on why it's necessary to sentence below the mandatory minimum. Then, they must write a clear statement explaining their decision.

Judges are unlikely to risk their careers to allow dangerous criminals an early release. If something happens after an offender is released early, the political pressure is back on the judge who issued the shorter sentence—and no one wants that kind of negative attention. In order to avoid risky situations like this, they'd use their discretion very cautiously, upholding the oath they took to promote justice in every case.

The nation is facing an overcriminalization problem that costs taxpayers millions and amounts to the foolish eradication of individual liberties. Mandatory minimums have exacerbated this problem, and it's time for that to stop. Congresswomen and men have the opportunity to help solve this looming problem by passing the Justice Safety Valve Act to untie the hands of judges and restore justice in individual sentences.

Molly Davis is a policy analyst at Libertas Institute, a free market think tank in Utah. She's a writer for Young Voices, and her work has previously appeared in The Hill, TownHall.com, and The Washington Examiner.

New gadget for couples in 'the mood' lets a button do the talking

Photo by Matt Nelson on Unsplash

Just in time for Valentine's Day, there's a new romantic gadget for couples that is sure to make sparks fly. For those with their minds in the gutter, I'm not talking about those kinds of gadgets. I'm talking about a brilliant new device for the home called "LoveSync."

This is real — it's a simple pair of buttons for busy, modern couples who have plenty of time for social media and Netflix, but can't quite squeeze in time to talk about their... uh... special relationship.

Here's how it works. Each partner has their own individual LoveSync button. Whenever the mood strikes one partner, all they have to do is press their own button. That sets their button aglow for a certain period of time. If, during that time window, their partner also presses their own button, then both buttons light up in a swirling green pattern to signal that love has "synced"...and it's go time.

According to the makers of LoveSync, this device will "Take the Luck out of Getting Lucky." It brings a whole new meaning to "pushing each other's buttons." It's an ideal gift to tell your significant other "I care," without actually having to care, or talk about icky things like feelings.

If you find your significant other is already on the couch binge-watching The Bachelor, no problem! You can conveniently slink back to your button and hold it in for four seconds to cancel the desire. No harm, no foul! Live to fight another day.

Have fun explaining those buttons to inquiring children.

No word yet on whether LoveSync can also order wine, light candles or play Barry White. Maybe that's in the works for LoveSync 2.0.

Of course, LoveSync does have some pitfalls. Cats and toddlers love a good button. That'll be a fun conversation — "Honey, who keeps canceling my mood submissions?" And have fun explaining those buttons to inquiring children. "Yeah, kids, that button just controls the lawn sprinklers. No big deal."

If you've been dialing it in for years on Valentine's Day with flowers and those crappy boxes of chocolate, now you can literally dial it in. With a button.

Good luck with that.

The social power of 'Reddit' is helping teens of anti-vaxxers get vaccinated

Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch

Reddit certainly earns its motto as "the front page of the internet," with roughly 540 million visitors monthly, the third most-visited website in the U.S., sixth worldwide. Unlike Twitter and Facebook, Reddit is a largely anonymous platform. People's faces are masked, their names are disguised. Which makes their hidden humanity all the more impactful.

On Reddit, both news and serious information are threaded in among gifs of cats and posts about Call of Duty, but that doesn't make it any less important. For many people, Reddit signifies the town hall where news is passed along or stomped into obscurity.

It gives you a healthy read of our society as a whole.

RELATED: Forget Rabies, 'Woke' Hipsters in Brooklyn Skipping Vaccines to Prevent 'Dogtism'

A recent Pew Poll found that Reddit leans left politically at a rate higher than the general public. Most users are young men, whose extensive internet use gives them a gatekeeping authority over what information should be considered important. From there, it spreads through the rest of the internet and helps shape public opinion.

So, it makes a lot of sense that Reddit has become a sort of makeshift safe place for children who grew up with parents who refused to give them vaccinations. Of course, Reddit also vehemently mocks the anti-vaccination folks, for better or for worse, often the latter, but that's a subject for another day.

The Daily Dot recently published an article on this strange intersection of ideology and nerd culture. "Desperate teens of anti-vaxxers are turning to Reddit for vaccination advice."

The article follows Ethan, whose parents are staunchly against vaccinations:

But Ethan is not his parents. When he turned 18, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He wasn't sure where else to begin, so he turned to Reddit.

Where do I go to get vaccinated? Can I get vaccinated at my age?" Ethan asked his fellow redditors in December. Ethan's post flooded with over 1,000 comments from users offering their encouragement and support, along with practical advice. "Good on you for getting your vaccinations," one user responded. "It's never too late and you're not only protecting yourself but those around you who truly can't get vaccinated.

Ethan told the Daily Dot that some redditors even offered to give him money via GoFundMe or PayPal if insurance didn't cover the shots. "People were really supportive, and that was really cool," he said. "I had the blessing of Reddit. They were supporting me on a decision my mom freaked out about." Ethan is not alone. "More and more teens are turning to places like Reddit to seek out information on where and how to get vaccinated, and if it's too late."

Whatever your opinion on vaccinations, there's a positive message to all of this. A human message. Hopeful. Proof that, in an increasingly caustic world, people can turn to one another in times of need.

Whatever your opinion on vaccinations, there's a positive message to all of this. A human message. Hopeful.

Now more than ever, that is crucial.

Given the social power of Reddit, it is often characterized as a tool for politicians or political movements. Throughout the forum, various political ideologies gather and organize like factions in some ideological war. A political thread on Reddit is like a Facebook comment section at its most hostile, arrogant or confident, but with no identities attached to the attacks, rants or opinions. When you find yourself riled into a debate, it's easy to wonder who's behind the replies, especially the more vicious ones.

People often characterize it as a hive-mind message board full of circlejerk memes and jokes about SpongeBob. This description isn't entirely wrong, but it is shallow and incomplete. At its core, Reddit is humane. Its users, for the most part, are compassionate. If it were an experiment on human nature, the results would be gratifying.