D.C. Judge Rules Rowan Must Face Trial on Handgun Charges
Columnist Carl T. Rowan should stand trial on handgun charges stemming from his shooting of an intruder at his home, a judge ruled Friday.
District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Arthur Burnett denied a motion by Rowan’s attorneys to dismiss the charges, rejecting arguments that the liberal columnist had been trapped between a tough gun-control law and misinformation from police.
Rowan, a longtime gun-control advocate, is scheduled to go on trial Thursday. If convicted, he faces up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine on each charge.
The 63-year-old columnist was charged with misdemeanor counts of possessing an unregistered firearm and ammunition given to him by his son, a former FBI agent. Rowan has argued that police told his son that the gun did not need to be registered.
Burnett ruled, however, that the city’s Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 clearly states that exemption from registration applies only to law enforcement officers currently employed and not to former agents.
Rowan’s attorney, Raoul Carroll, said the judge “didn’t disagree with our defense at all. . . . We’re confident a jury will agree with us.”
Rowan shot and slightly wounded Ben Smith, 18, of suburban Chevy Chase, Md., who was among a group of late-night intruders frolicking in the swimming pool at Rowan’s northwest Washington home on June 14.