Saturday, July 27, 2013

Washington, D.C.: "covering the discharge of firearms and fireworks on the public streets"


   The authorities of the District are becoming more determined than ever that their past efforts for a moderate and decent celebration of the Fourth of July in the District shall not prove of avail for the coming Independence day celebration, and that the day shall not be marked with an unrestricted celebration. Since the decision of Judge [Irving G.] Kimball in the Police Court* on the section of the police regulations covering the discharge of firearms and fireworks on the public streets there has been some discussion regarding the effect of the decision on the Fourth of July celebration, and some fears have been expressed that it would allow an open Fourth. From the expression of opinion of two officers who will have much to do with prosecutions of offenses of this kind committed on the Fourth, given to a Star reporter this morning, it would seem that that day will be celebrated very much the same this year as last year.

   When Corporation Counsel Duvall was approached on the subject he said: "We are not at the end of our authority by long odds." When asked as to what steps would be taken he stated that he was not ready to give out a definite statement on the matter, but he gave the impression that the celebration of the Fourth this year would be as quiet as before, despite the fact that prosecutions could not be made under the provisions of the police regulations, which are now before the Court of Appeals.

   Maj. Sylvester, when seen, said on the subject: "You may be sure that we will not allow an open Fourth of July. Whether we will arrest for disorderly conduct or for other grounds, we will make arrests that are covered by the law. We will find some law to cover the offenses."

   As the matter stands now it Is understood that the arrests will be made for disorderly conduct. There is a law of Congress for the District which prohibits disorderly conduct. It is maintained by the authorities that the firing off of firearms, firecrackers, fireworks, etc., is not orderly, and therefore is disorderly, and therefore violation of the law.
[The Evening Star, Washington, D.C., Tuesday, June 13, 1905. No.16,332. Page 10]
* - The "Police Court" was created by an act of Congress. The court was restricted in its jurisdiction. But had the power to hear and determine a large number of cases. These were cases that otherwise would have had to be tried in the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia.
   Well now, from the looks of things Judge Kimball must have ruled that firearms were not to be interfered with by D.C. Police regulations. Tried to research the matter, but nothing appeared on the internet. Other than getting a little information concerning the "police court", as seen above.

  Of interest, is the fact that the police apparently were going to stop the discharge of firearms despite the ruling of Judge Kimball. (Although, it is indeed unwise to discharge firearms in a heavily populated area. Especially if it is just done in celebration. Discharging firearms in necessary Self-Defense however, is an entirely different matter.)

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