|Dangerous D.C. Gun Amendment Expected at House Judiciary Committee Markup Tomorrow|
October 12, 2011
Washington, DC—The Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) learned tonight that Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX) has filed an amendment with the House Judiciary Committee to allow people with concealed carry permits issued by a state to carry concealed guns in the District of Columbia, notwithstanding the District’s prohibition on carrying concealed weapons. On Thursday, October 13, 2011, at 10:00 a.m. in 2141 Rayburn HOB, the House Judiciary Committee will markup the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011 (H.R. 822), which would allow people with concealed carry permits to carry concealed guns in any jurisdiction that allows concealed carry, but not in those jurisdictions that prohibit concealed carry. However, the Gohmert amendment would create a unique exception for D.C. and allow people with state-issued permits to carry concealed guns here, even though D.C. bans carrying concealed guns. Not only does the amendment violate home rule, it also endangers homeland security in the nation’s capital and the safety of federal employees, officials and D.C. residents. Federal and local police officials have testified repeatedly before Congress that the gun-lobby-backed D.C. gun bill (H.R. 645), which would, among other things, permit concealed carry in D.C., threatens the security of federal officials and foreign dignitaries in the nation’s capital.
“This is not the first time that House Judiciary Committee Republicans have taken the lead in attacking the District’s home rule,” Norton said. “Earlier this year, they denied me the right to testify at a hearing on a bill to make the D.C. abortion rider permanent. Now they are trying to undo D.C.’s local gun laws only days after a federal appeals court upheld the constitutionality of the city’s laws. We do not intend to let this happen. We will work with Senate Democratic leadership to eliminate the Gohmert amendment and with gun safety allies in the Senate, whose states will be affected by the dangerous underlying bill. However, if the Senate passes the bill with the Gohmert amendment included in it, we will ask the President to veto the bill.”
The Gohmert amendment is part of the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) efforts to undo D.C.’s gun laws, even though two federal courts have upheld them. Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the constitutionality of the District’s prohibition of assault weapons, prohibition of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, and basic registration requirements for handguns, undermining much of the rationale for the pending D.C. gun bill. Despite a March 2010 federal district court ruling upholding the constitutionality of D.C.’s revised gun laws, the NRA continued to insist that its D.C. gun bill be attached to the D.C. House Voting Rights Act (DCVRA), which forced the congresswoman to pull the DCVRA from the House floor in April 2010.
Last Congress, the Senate fell only two votes short of the 60 needed to pass a similar national reciprocity bill, although that bill did not include the Gohmert provision.