The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a budget amendment that would defund the enforcement of Washington D.C.’s strict gun laws.
The amendment, proposed by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), was added to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act of 2015 by a vote of 241 to 181.
“Criminals by definition don’t care about laws. They will get guns any way they can,” said Rep. Massie in a press release, about his amendment which would, by virtue of the funding cuts, lift bans on so-called “assault weapons” and “high capacity magazines,” nix registration requirements, and overturn laws restricting carrying firearms outside the for self-defense.
“Strict gun control laws do nothing but prevent good people from being able to protect themselves and their families in the event of a robbery, home invasion, or other crime,” he continued. “Studies indicate that murder rates rise following bans on firearms.”
Given that Massie’s amendment would turn D.C. from de facto gun-free city to a gun-friendly one, pro-gun control lawmakers were quick to condemn it.
Leading the charge was Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Rep. José E. Serrano (D-NY).
“Representative Massie, who first entered Congress in 2012, is trying to appeal to the far right wing and to get a national profile at the expense of the public safety of my constituents,” said Norton.
“D.C. is a big city that shares the same violence issues as all other big cities, but it is also the nation’s capital, home to the president and countless federal and foreign officials who travel on our streets every day,” she added. “Representative Massie, who claims at every turn to support local control of local affairs, is using the power of the federal government to overturn the laws of a local jurisdiction.”
According to Norton, the amendment would jeopardize public safety because the District would no longer be allowed to prevent:
- The carrying of a gun, openly or concealed, on streets in the nation’s capital
- Assault weapons, including .50 caliber sniper rifles, from being possessed
- Magazines holding an unlimited number of bullets from being possessed
- The private sale of guns without background checks
- The purchase of guns with no waiting period
- The purchase of an unlimited number of guns in one day
The fate of Massie’s amendment is now in the hands of Democratically-controlled Senate, which will likely scrap it from the appropriations bill. But here’s to hoping that they leave it on, intact.