The nation’s capital is one of the worst places in the country to live if one wants to exercise one’s Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Two lawmakers are hoping to change this reality, however.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH-04) introduced on Thursday the “Second Amendment Enforcement Act of 2015,” a bill that would expand gun rights for D.C. residents.
“In order to achieve the American Dream, people need to be able to live in safe communities and be able to protect themselves, their families and their properties from danger. The lawful exercise of the Second Amendment is part of what makes this possible,” said Rubio in a press release.
“For years, the District of Columbia has infringed on its residents’ Second Amendment rights and rendered them vulnerable to criminals who could care less what the gun laws are,” Rubio continued. “This legislation will finally allow D.C.’s law-abiding residents and visitors access to firearms for sporting or lawful defense of themselves and their homes, businesses and families.”
Rep. Jordan echoed those thoughts.
“Washington, D.C. has some of the harshest laws against gun owners in the nation,” Jordan said. “By rolling back unnecessary restrictions and protecting the rights of homeowners to protect themselves, this bill will make Washington, D.C. a safer place for law-abiding citizens, and will restore the original intent of the Second Amendment to our nation’s capital.”
The bill would make the following changes:
- Remove the authority of the D.C. Council to enact restrictive gun control measures;
- Conform D.C. law to federal law governing firearm commerce;
- Enable D.C. residents to obtain firearms from licensed dealers in Maryland and Virginia;
- Repeal D.C.’s onerous firearm registration system;
- Create a “shall-issue” permitting system for concealed carry, including provisions pertaining to background checks and firearm training;
- Create authority for private entities and secure public buildings to determine whether, or to what degree, firearms will be allowed on their premises.
Given the sweeping changes it would usher into the District, not surprisingly, the nation’s gun lobby endorsed the legislation.
“The District of Columbia has infringed on law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights to self-protection for far too long,” National Rifle Association spokeswoman Jennifer Baker told The Washington Post. “The NRA and its 5 million members appreciate the efforts of Senator Rubio and Representative Jordan to restore D.C. residents’ fundamental rights to keep and bear arms.”
Ladd Everitt, the communications director for The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, a D.C.-based, gun control advocacy group, strongly opposes the measure.
“As a guy who lived in the District for nearly 20 years, I find it offensive,” said Ladd in an email to GunsAmerica. ” It’s a typical tactic by guys like Rubio and Jordan who lecture us about the constitution while denying more than 650,000 Americans their right to self-determination.”
“In reality it’s probably nothing more than an NRA fundraising campaign,” Everitt added. “As in the past, the people of Washington will stand together against this legislation and it will be defeated.”
“But the NRA will again make another buck off of people’s suffering, so Rubio and Jordan will have done their job,” Ladd concluded.