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Restoring the 2nd Amendment in D.C.

Imagine‚?¶American citizens living in the capital of the free world might have their right to bear arms restored.

Citizens of the District of Columbia, who have long been subject to laws preventing them from protecting themselves and their families, now are a small step closer to having their constitutionally protected right to bear arms restored.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah), introduced S. 1414, the District of Columbia Personal Protection Act, on Tuesday, July 15. In his introduction, Sen. Hatch noted that D.C. has the “highest, the absolute highest, murder rate per capita in the country. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and despite the most stringent gun control laws in the country, in 8 out of 9 years between 1994 and 2002, Washington, D.C., had the highest murder rate in the country. . . . The District of Columbia has again reclaimed its rather unenviable title as the ‘Murder Capital of the United States.'”

According to Hatch’s office, the provisions of the D.C. Personal Protection Act include the following:

  • “Permitting law-abiding citizens to possess handguns and rifles in their homes and businesses;
  • “Repealing the registration requirements for firearms and ammunition;
  • “Eliminating criminal penalties for possession and carrying of firearms in their homes and businesses; and
  • “Correcting an erroneous provision which wrongly treats some firearms as if they were machineguns.”
  • The bill language begins with the following congressional findings:

    (1) The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

    (2) The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the rights of individuals, including those who are not members of a militia or engaged in military service or training, to keep and bear arms.

    (3) The law-abiding citizens of the District of Columbia are deprived by local laws of handguns, rifles, and shotguns that are commonly kept by law-abiding persons throughout the rest of the United States for sporting use and for lawful defense of persons, homes, and families.

    (4) The District of Columbia has the highest per capita murder rate in the Nation, which may be attributed in part to local laws prohibiting possession of firearms by law-abiding persons who would otherwise be able to defend themselves and their loved ones in their own homes and businesses.

    (5) The Federal Gun Control Act of 1968, as amended by the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act of 1986, and the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993, provide comprehensive Federal regulations applicable in the District of Columbia as elsewhere. In addition, existing District of Columbia criminal laws punish possession and illegal use of firearms by violent criminals and felons. Consequently, there is no need for local laws which only disarm law-abiding citizens.

    (6) Legislation is required to correct the District of Columbia’s law in order to restore the rights of its citizens under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and thereby enhance public safety.

    It is high time that Congress addresses this issue, and Sen. Hatch and all the Senators co-sponsoring the bill deserve praise. While many local political leaders have been spending their time pushing for the “rights” of D.C. residents via D.C.-statehood, they have ignored the rights of those same Americans to protect themselves. And crime rate has increased. Why? Because laws that restrict gun rights don’t deter gun-wielding scofflaws, they only serve to disarm good Americans and make it easier for criminals to violate the innocent.

    Here are the current co-sponsors of S.1414:
    -Sen. Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah)
    -Sen. Zell Miller (D.-Ga.)
    -Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R.-Tex.)
    -Sen. Larry Craig (R.-Idaho)
    -Sen. John Cornyn (R.-Tex.)
    -Sen. Jeff Sessions (R.-Ala.)
    -Sen. Pete Domenici (R.-N.M.)
    -Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R.-Ga.)
    -Sen. Conrad Burns (R.-Mont.)
    -Sen. John Sununu (R.-N.H.)
    -Sen. Mike Enzi (R.-Wyo.)
    -Sen. Jim Bunning (R.-Ky.)
    -Sen. George Allen (R.-Va.)
    -Sen. Ted Stevens (R.-Alaska)
    -Sen. Ben Campbell (R.-Colo.)
    -Sen. Chuck Grassley (R.-Iowa)
    -Sen. Craig Thomas (R.-Wyo.)
    -Sen. Lindsay Graham (R.-S.C.)
    -Sen. Mike Crapo (R.-Idaho)

    ———————

    Background:

  • Congressional Record: Introduction of S. 1414
  • Press Release: Hatch Fights to Restore 2nd Amendment Rights for Residents of Nation’s Capital
  • Hatch Floor Statement: The District of Columbia Personal Protection Act
  • Press Release: Thomas, Enzi Advocate 2nd Amendment Rights in D.C.
  • Washington Post: Repeal Of D.C. Gun Ban Urged
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