D.C. considers changing gun laws

Sean Burrowes moved to D.C. from Mississippi five years ago straight out of college. He moved for a sensitive security job requiring no criminal record.

One day while driving, police spotted a box of bullets in his vehicle. Did he have a gun? The receipt he produced said that he'd paid for it. The story, that in Mississippi his jobs involved transporting money, meant nothing. He received five days in jail and a misdemeanor on his record

Council chairman Phil Mendelson held a hearing Monday on a bill that could give non-residents, who might not know D.C.'s gun laws, a break.

"What this bill does is give an option to the prosecutors to essentially fine a person rather than put them through a criminal proceeding,” Mendelson says.

So no criminal record. But the D.C. Attorney General's office testified against it, calling it a solution in search of a problem.

"We are opposed because we think it's unwise to start down a slope where gun offenses and therefore perhaps others wind up on that sort of process,” says Andrew Fois, assistant D.C. attorney general.

He said prosecutors don't have to charge now. Yet Mendelson likes the option of a fine, Among those testifying that it doesn't go far enough was Dick Heller, the man who won the supreme court case that allows D.C. residents to have a gun in the home.

"It's a micro step in the right direction,” Heller says.

Still in D.C., Burrowes works in retail these days.

"You shouldn't basically throw someone’s future away for small things like this,” he says. “There should be something in place for something like this."

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