In February, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) rightly rejected Attorney General Eric Holder's call for renewing the so-called "assault weapons" ban, which expired in 2004 after Congress refused to renew it.
However, on Tuesday, on ABC's "Good Morning America," Pelosi said, "we [members of Congress] have to find some level of compromise" on guns. She noted that the Supreme Court, in District of Columbia v. Heller, ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to guns. But, she said, "We want them registered."
Pelosi also used the word "draconian" to describe legislation before Congress to reform D.C.'s gun laws. Apparently referring to the provision of that legislation that would permit residents of D.C. to buy handguns in Maryland and Virginia, Pelosi added, "we don't want them crossing state lines."
Pelosi's objection to exempting D.C. residents from the Gun Control Act's ban on sales of handguns (even by dealers) between residents of different states is misplaced, not only because there is only one handgun dealer in the District, but because the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has rendered the interstate sales ban pointless and unnecessary. A D.C. resident buying a handgun will be subject to the same instant background check, regardless of where the sale occurs.
Pelosi objected to the fact that disagreement over the D.C. gun legislation is preventing a vote on legislation to give the District a voting member in the House. To say the least, we regret that the Speaker of the House believes it more important to give the D.C. Delegate a vote on the House floor than to protect D.C.'s law-abiding residents' right to defend themselves from criminals.Meanwhile, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the Senate sponsor of the now-expired federal "assault weapons" ban, said on a CBS "60 Minutes" program to be aired on Sunday that she is only temporarily holding off on introducing legislation to reinstate the ban. "I'll pick the time and place. No question about it," Feinstein said.