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D.C. Second Amendment Enforcement Act Passes House, Moves to Senate

Friday, September 19, 2008

This week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve the NRA-backed "Second Amendment Enforcement Act" by an overwhelming bi-partisan vote of 266-152.  The Act, passed as an amendment to H.R. 6842, will overturn the District of Columbia's gun control restrictions that defy the recent Supreme Court ruling by continuing to limit D.C. residents' right to self-defense.  This bill is necessary to enforce the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller.


Following passage of the bill, NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox remarked, "From the moment the Supreme Court overturned this failed gun ban, elitist politicians have sought to undermine the Court's decision with bogus emergency regulations that all but stop residents from exercising their Second Amendment rights.  NRA wants to make sure D.C. residents are able to protect themselves and their families."


On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled "the District's ban on handgun possession in the home violates the Second Amendment, as does its prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense."


A bi-partisan group of U.S. Representatives introduced legislation this summer to force the D.C. Council into compliance with the Supreme Court after the council enacted "emergency" gun-control restrictions on its residents after D.C.'s gun ban and self-defense ban were overturned.


The "Second Amendment Enforcement Act" will:


·  Repeal the District's ban on semi-automatic handguns. Semi-automatic pistols have been the most commonly purchased handguns in the United States over the last 20 years, and therefore, a ban on those firearms is unconstitutional as decided by Heller;


·  Restore the right of self-defense by repealing the requirement that firearms be disassembled or secured with a trigger lock in the home;


·  Reform the current D.C. registration system that requires multiple visits to police headquarters; ballistics testing; passing a written test on D.C. gun laws; fingerprinting; and limiting registration to one handgun per 90 days. The current system is unduly burdensome and serves as a vehicle for even more onerous restrictions; and


·  Create a limited exemption to the federal ban on interstate handgun sales by allowing D.C. residents to purchase handguns in Virginia and Maryland. Currently there is only one licensed firearm dealer in the District, and the District government is standing in the way of additional dealers opening their doors. A 40-year old federal law prohibits residents from purchasing handguns outside of the District.


"I'd like to thank Congressmen Travis Childers, John Dingell, John Tanner, Mike Ross, Mark Souder, Bill Sali and Robin Hayes for their leadership.  NRA will continue our work to bring the Second Amendment to D.C. residents, but we call on the Senate now to take up this historic legislation," concluded Cox. "The American people should know where their elected representatives stand on this critical civil rights legislation before the November elections."

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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.