Fairfax, VA -- Today, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation to restore the right of self-protection to law-abiding citizens of Washington, D.C. The "District of Columbia Personal Protection Act" (HR 3193), introduced by Representatives Mark Souder (R-IN) and Mike Ross (D-AR), passed by a bi-partisan vote of 250-171. Fifty-two democrats voted for passage. HR 3193 also repeals D.C.`s gun registration law. The legislation does not undermine any existing law for gun possession by criminals and violent crimes committed with guns.
"The National Rifle Association (NRA) applauds the U.S. House of Representatives for restoring the Second Amendment in Washington, D.C.," said Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president. "In D.C., the right to self-protection has been virtually outlawed, leaving law-abiding citizens at the mercy of armed criminals. Law-abiding District residents should have the same right of self-defense under the Constitution as citizens in every other state."
FBI statistics show that Washington, D.C., has one of the highest crime rates in the United States despite the draconian gun ban. From 1976 to 2001, D.C.`s crime rate rose 72% while the national rate fell 36%.
Under D.C.`s current gun laws, all handguns are banned unless they were owned and registered before 1977. Residents of the District, even the few remaining legal handgun owners, are prohibited from carrying their handguns in their own homes. Legally registered and owned rifles and shotguns must be stored unloaded, disassembled or locked, rendering them useless for self-defense unless the gun is kept at a place of business.
"Washington`s 27-year firearm ban is a perfect example of the failure of gun control," added Chris W. Cox, NRA chief lobbyist. "D.C.`s politicians -- who get abundant security protection at taxpayer expense -- have stripped law-abiding citizens of their ability to defend themselves and their families. Today`s vote has brought District residents one step closer to the rights guaranteed under the Constitution -- the right to protect themselves and their loved ones from criminal harm."
The legislation now heads to the Senate for approval. "NRA encourages all who believe in our constitutional rights to urge their Senators to vote in favor of S. 1414 (HR 3193`s companion bill in the Senate)," Cox concluded.
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