A pistol fired by journalist Carl Rowan was not registered under the law when the outspoken gun-control advocate shot and wounded a young intruder in his yard, authorities say.
Rowan contends the handgun belonged to his son, a former FBI agent, and he was unaware of a need to register it locally, but District of Columbia police said after the shooting early Tuesday that the legal requirements are clear."A check of our records indicates the handgun that was possessed by Mr. Rowan this morning and involved in the shooting was not registered as required by the D.C. code," said police Capt. William White. "Regardless of who owned the gun, the D.C. code . . . requires that it be registered."
A first conviction on possession of an unregistered firearm carries a maximum $1,000 fine or one year in jail or both, said White, noting late Tuesday that Rowan had yet to be charged.
The syndicated columnist, an outspoken advocate of strict gun-control laws, told United Press International it was the first time he had fired the pistol, a .22-caliber Smith & Wesson.
Rowan was standing at the back door of his home in upper Northwest Washington at about 2 a.m. EDT when he fired the handgun, striking Ben Neal Smith in the left wrist, said police Sgt. Joseph Gentile.
Smith, 18, of suburban Chevy Chase, Md., was treated at Georgetown University Hospital and later released, Gentile said. He and Laura Bachman, 19, of nearby suburban Bethesda, Md., had been charged with unlawful entry, but the charges were dropped pending further investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Rowan, 62, told UPI that the trespassers were skinny-dipping in his outdoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi, "smoking pot and drinking beer." He complained that such nighttime intrusions were "too many to count" despite an 8-foot fence.