On the heels of a shooting targeting unarmed members of Congress and their aides, legislation was introduced Thursday to recognize any valid concealed carry permit in Washington.
While the attack on the Republican Congressional Baseball Team occurred this week at a practice field in Alexandria, Virginia, the 22 GOP backers of the measure argue it was D.C.’s harsh gun control laws that prevented those with permits from exercising their right to bear arms. Instead of a carve out just for lawmakers, backers hold the District needs to be more accommodating.
“After the horrific shooting at the Republican Congressional Baseball practice, there will likely be calls for special privileges to protect politicians,” said U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky. “Our reaction should instead be to protect the right of all citizens guaranteed in the Constitution: the right to self-defense. I do not want to extend a special privilege to politicians, because the right to keep and bear arms is not a privilege, it is a God-given right protected by our Constitution.”
Massie’s bill, entered as H.R. 2909, would require the District of Columbia to respect the ability of individuals to carry concealed firearms if they have a permit issued from their home state or other jurisdiction. Massie points out that Congress has the authority under the Constitution to order the mandate, which exceeds the District’s strict “may-issue” gun permitting program that has been the subject of numerous federal lawsuits from those unable to secure a license to carry.
Democrat Eleanor Holmes Norton, the non-voting delegate from the District to the House, blasted the proposal, contending Massie was using the shooting this week to abuse congressional authority over the city, citing relative inaction on a more expansive national reciprocity bill that is pending in both chambers.
“In the wake of an attack, Representative Massie is shamefully using the District as political fodder to advance the NRA-backed goal of moving toward national concealed carry reciprocity,” said Holmes Norton. “If Representative Massie was true to his principles, he would introduce a bill to allow guns in the Capitol Complex and other federal buildings, where his jurisdiction is without question. At a time when Members need to come together and show unity, Representative Massie is doing exactly the opposite by going after the gun safety laws that protect D.C. residents.”
The bill has been referred to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
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