Graham has introduced both measures before, numerous times, to no avail. There’s a method to the madness, Graham said Monday.
“I’ve introduced the pit bull legislation every session, and I am continuing in that determined pattern,” he said. “In case you are thinking I am deluded, I also introduced the lead paint hazard bill every session, and it passed last December. Every dog has its day.”
The pit bull measure bars the possession and sale of the breed in the District. It requires current owners to register their pets with animal control, sterilize the dogs and tag them for quick identification. Any pit bull that doesn’t meet those requirements must be impounded and euthanized.
Graham said the bill was inspired by vicious pit bull attacks on people. But the Washington Humane Society opposes any breed-specific legislation “because they just don’t work,” said Scott Giacoppo, chief programs officer. Dogs can be dangerous because of their owners and their levels of socialization, not their breed, Giacoppo said.
“We’re really surprised that he introduced it again,” Giacoppo said, adding that D.C. only last year strengthened its dangerous dog laws.
Graham’s fireworks ban, backed by Mayor Adrian Fenty, is another repeat. But council colleagues have scoffed at the prohibition, calling it a knee-jerk overreaction that may do more harm than good. Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans last year dubbed it the “no-fun bill.”
Graham recently offered another bill, for only a second time, that prohibits BB gun possession by minors in public spaces, including streets, parks and the common areas of any building.
The BB gun bill was introduced this session and last at the request of the 3rd Police District commander, “because we have major problems with BB guns being used as weapons” in robberies, Graham said.
Councilman Phil Mendelson, chairman of the public safety committee, didn’t let the bill out of committee during the last council session. It may simply be a restatement of existing gun laws, Mendelson said Monday.
“In the totality of the bills we had in committee, we spent an awful lot of time dealing with gun control,” Mendelson said of last year. “We reported out over 50 bills, and we were pretty busy.”