Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

Second Amendment Victory In Washington, D.C.!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Yesterday, the United States Senate voted, with overwhelming bipartisan support, to adopt an amendment offered by Nevada Senator John Ensign (R), that seeks to protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens in the District of Columbia. The amendment, attached to S.160, the "D.C. Voting Rights Act", will repeal restrictive gun control laws passed by the District of Columbia's (D.C.) city council in defiance of the landmark D.C. v. Heller Supreme Court decision. The vote margin was 62-36

"Today's vote brings us one step closer to restoring the gun rights of law-abiding D.C. residents," said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox.  "It's ludicrous that good people in our nation's capital continue to be harassed as they try to defend themselves and their loved ones in their own homes.  This vote reinforces the historic Heller ruling." 

Since the Supreme Court struck down D.C.'s ban on handguns and on having guns in operable condition within the home in last year's Heller decision, the District passed a series of temporary "emergency" bills that failed to comply with the Court's ruling, followed by a permanent law (which will take effect in April unless blocked) that imposes even more restrictions on D.C. gun owners.  (A temporary "emergency" law that mirrors the restrictive permanent law is currently in effect.)  In particular:

  • The new law enacts sweeping bans, borrowed wholesale from California, on hundreds of models of semi-automatic firearms, and on standard-capacity magazines widely owned for lawful self-defense purposes.
  • The new law also bans the sale of handguns deemed "unsafe" by California, based on California's legal standards.  Individuals would only be able to acquire handguns that are on the "California Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale."  This provision includes a "microstamping" mandate that would require use of unproven technology and would likely prevent sale of most new models of handguns in D.C. after January 1, 2011.
  • Though D.C. has always argued for its own sovereignty, these provisions give the legislature of California and the officials of the California Department of Justice all control over which handguns may be sold in the District.  D.C. gun owners would be at the whim of bureaucrats in Sacramento, who regularly change these rules to prohibit sales of more models of firearms.
  • Many of the guns that are prohibited under D.C.'s new law are both "in common use" throughout the United States and "typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes," which the Supreme Court in Heller suggested was the standard for constitutional protection.
  • The new law makes D.C.'s complicated, intrusive and expensive registration procedure even more complicated, to discourage people from attempting to register a handgun.  Among other provisions, it requires gun owners to report annually to the Metropolitan Police that they still own their guns.
  • The new limits include a limit of one handgun registration per 30 days; a provision that rations constitutional rights and that has failed to reduce crime in the few states that have enacted similar laws.

The Ensign Amendment is narrowly drawn to enforce the Supreme Court's Heller decision and prevent the District government from further burdening the Second Amendment rights of its residents. 

The Ensign Amendment will:   

  • Conform D.C. gun laws to the requirements set out by the Supreme Court.  The D.C. Council had the opportunity to conform its laws to the ruling, but its new laws add major burdens on residents' Second Amendment rights.
  • Reform the District's firearm registration regime, which the District's new law makes even more complicated and intrusive.  Firearm registration also has no crime-prevention benefit, as demonstrated by the fact that all, or nearly all, firearms used in violent crimes in D.C. are not registered.

The underlying question of whether Congress can grant representation to D.C. will ultimately be resolved in the courts. As a single-issue organization, NRA takes no position on voting rights for D.C., but we are obviously concerned about ensuring the Second Amendment Right to Keep and Bear Arms is functionally returned D.C. residents. Thus, we were supportive of Sen. Ensign's efforts, and pleased the amendment was adopted.  Fortunately, the Ensign amendment contains a severability clause, so it would remain standing even if the courts reject Congress's attempt to give congressional representation to D.C. residents. 

"NRA would like to thank the lead sponsor, Senator John Ensign for his efforts to reform D.C.'s gun laws and enable folks to protect their property and their loved ones," concluded Cox.  "It's time for leaders in Washington to wake up to the fact that the Supreme Court decision is now the law of the land." 

Please contact your Senators and thank them if they voted in favor of the Ensign Amendment.  If your Senators voted against this critical measure, please remind them you will remember this vote on Election Day.  You can reach your Senators at (202) 224-3121.  For more contact information for your U.S. Senators, please click here. 

To see how your Senator voted, please click here.

TRENDING NOW
Biden Administration Finalizes “New” Firearm Storage Rule

News  

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Biden Administration Finalizes “New” Firearm Storage Rule

On January 3, the Biden Administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it would be finalizing a new rule on firearm storage for Federal Firearm Licensees (FFLs). The DOJ additionally announced an update to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, ...

Growing the Gun Community in Unlikely Places

News  

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Growing the Gun Community in Unlikely Places

We mentioned a Beverly Hills gun shop last week in an article about the continued increase in background checks and gun sales. We spoke with the proprietor of that shop, and he offered a very humanized ...

Chicago Politicians, Whistling Past the Graveyard

News  

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Chicago Politicians, Whistling Past the Graveyard

It’s no secret that crime in Chicago has reached levels not seen in decades. Crime statistics released by the Chicago Police Department (CPD) for October 2021 show significant increases in incidents of serious crime compared to the ...

Washington: Another Year – Another Extreme Gun Ban!

Friday, January 14, 2022

Washington: Another Year – Another Extreme Gun Ban!

The legislature only just gaveled in this week and anti-gun legislators and gun control groups couldn’t wait to reintroduce their extreme gun ban legislation - an "assault weapons" ban, Senate Bill 5217.

Washington:  The Hits Keep on Coming as Magazine Ban Pulled to the Senate Floor

Friday, January 14, 2022

Washington: The Hits Keep on Coming as Magazine Ban Pulled to the Senate Floor

On Friday, the Washington Senate pulled magazine ban legislation, Senate Bill 5078 to the Senate Floor where it is eligible for a vote for passage.

Anti-gunners Ignore the Obvious, Lamely Try to Blame Gun Sales for Rise in Homicide Rates

News  

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Anti-gunners Ignore the Obvious, Lamely Try to Blame Gun Sales for Rise in Homicide Rates

Last week, two gun control advocates – who described themselves as a “crime analyst” and a “data scientist” -- published an article in the anti-gun publication The Atlantic blaming the 2020 spike in homicide rates on that ...

Virginia: Extreme Bill Will Ban Home Defense & End Youth Hunting

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Virginia: Extreme Bill Will Ban Home Defense & End Youth Hunting

Though a pro-Second Amendment majority sits in the House of Delegates this session, that’s not stopping anti-gun lawmakers from continuing to push the same radical gun control they’ve pushed for the past two years. Here ...

Alabama: Sheriff’s Association Working With Anti-Gun Group Opposing Constitutional Carry

Monday, January 17, 2022

Alabama: Sheriff’s Association Working With Anti-Gun Group Opposing Constitutional Carry

Bobby Timmons, director of the Alabama Sheriff’s Association (ASA), is so opposed to acknowledging your inherent right-to-carry, and wants so badly to protect the revenue stream from permit fees, that he openly opposes the Second ...

Washington: Public Hearing Overwhelmingly Echoes with Opposition to Anti-Gun Measures

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Washington: Public Hearing Overwhelmingly Echoes with Opposition to Anti-Gun Measures

Yesterday, the Senate Law and Justice Committee held a public hearing to consider an extreme "assault weapons" ban, Senate Bill 5217, and anti-preemption legislation, Senate Bill 5568.

Indiana: Senate Version of Lawful Carry Bill in Committee

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Indiana: Senate Version of Lawful Carry Bill in Committee

Senate Bill 14, a lawful carry bill similar to the NRA-backed House Bill 1077 awaiting a Senate committee assignment, is currently before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee will likely consider amendments and may bring it up ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

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.