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Bill Introduced in Congress to Americanize D.C.’s Gun Laws

Thursday, February 10, 2011

In February, Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.) introduced H.R. 645 the "Second Amendment Enforcement Act," to eliminate harsh gun control laws imposed by the District of Columbia after the Supreme Court`s decision in D.C. v. Heller (2008).

The bill will move the city`s gun laws away from their European (and worse) model and closer to the mainstream laws in place in most of America. For example, they will abolish the city`s intentionally difficult and costly firearm registration requirement, its restrictions on carrying a gun for protection on private property, its post-Heller ban on hundreds of types of semi-automatic firearms denigrated as "assault weapons," its ban on standard defensive magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, and its California-style "microstamping" law and handgun "roster" system.

Anticipating that the D.C. Council will try to suppress gun ownership by preventing dealers from conducting business in the city, the bills provide for D.C. residents to buy handguns from firearm dealers in Maryland and Virginia, and prescribe reasonable conditions for the lawful transportation of firearms within the city.

Because D.C. officials have demonstrated hostility toward the Second Amendment--imposing a "microstamping" law, "assault weapon" ban, ban on magazines holding over 10 rounds, and "unsafe handgun" ban (which the city modified after the ban was challenged in court)--the bills prohibit the city from enacting new laws designed to thwart the exercise of the right to arms.

The NRA supports the bills and its chief lobbyist, Chris W. Cox, said that NRA "remains committed to restoring the right to self-defense for law-abiding citizens in Washington, D.C., by whatever legal or legislative means necessary."

In a press release, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) objected to the bill because they would allow the city to regulate, but not prohibit, the carrying of firearms. (In Heller, the Supreme Court recognized that the Second Amendment "guarantee[s] the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.") She also claimed that the bills would stop the city from prohibiting guns within schools that do not have metal detectors, failing to understand that the bills retain the District`s general ban on carrying firearms outside the home.

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