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Bill Introduced To Restore D.C.`s Right To Arms

Friday, July 18, 2003

On July 15, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced S. 1414, the District of Columbia Personal Protection Act. This legislation seeks to restore the constitutionally guaranteed Second Amendment rights of the residents of our nation`s capital. The introduction of this legislation comes on the heels of recent FBI statistics that reveal Washington, D.C., has once again reclaimed the notorious title of the "murder capital" of the United States. Seeking to rectify what, for more than 25 years, has been a de facto prohibition of self-defense for the District`s law-abiding residents, S. 1414 leaves in place strict penalties for gun possession by criminals and for violent firearms-related crimes. Perhaps by resurrecting this fundamental freedom, and ensuring swift and firm enforcement of existing criminal statutes, our nation`s capital will no longer bear its disgraceful "murder capital" moniker.

"D.C.`s draconian gun ban has effectively stripped its law-abiding residents of their basic right to defend themselves and their loved ones," said NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. "This restriction has left the good people of our nation`s capital defenseless and at the mercy of ruthless violent criminals who plague this city. The ‘District of Columbia Personal Protection Act` will remedy this dangerous injustice."

Under D.C.`s current gun laws, all handguns are banned unless they were owned and registered in the District before 1977. In fact, even the few remaining legal handgun owners in the District are prohibited from carrying their handguns in their own homes. Long guns, which may be legally owned in the District, must be registered, and stored unloaded, disassembled or locked, rendering them useless for self-defense—unless the gun is kept at a place of business.

"Apparently D.C.`s elected officials believe it`s more important to let people protect their business assets, than to protect their homes and families. The right to defend oneself and one`s family is unconditional. The legislation Senator Hatch has introduced...will restore that fundamental right for our capital`s citizens," added NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox.

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NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.