News Flash: DC Residents Don’t Have Second Amendment Rights!

New bill tried to change the city's existing laws.

District of Columbia Residents Don't Have 2nd Amendment Rights

There’s no question that the District of Columbia is a unique place. If you live there, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be working in the government or military or working in an industry that serves those people. The district hosts high-profile events including heads of state from other governments from around the world on a regular basis.

That’s why the district has its own gun laws. D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton said in a statement, “As the nation’s capital, we have enacted gun safety laws that match the needs of our unique local jurisdiction, which hosts high-profile events, such as the presidential inauguration and houses high-profile federal officials and foreign dignitaries.”

She opposes the efforts by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who on Feb. 17 introduced S. 162, The Second Amendment Enforcement Act of 2017. That bill would require the District of Columbia Council not enact its own gun control laws. The bill is essentially forcing the district’s laws to match those of the federal governments. Currently, district residents can not own firearms for personal defense unless they are active or retired in the military and owned a firearm before the advent of Home Rule in 1973.

That Home Rule is an interesting bill. Home Rule was enacted in 1973 and forbids the District Council (which is an elected mayor and 12 members on a council) to not pass certain laws. It  prohibits some basic things such as not lending public credit for private projects and not pass any laws changing the composition of local courts or enacting a budget that is not balanced. It also says that the Council is “authorized and empowered” to make “reasonable” regulations for the regulation of firearms and weapons of any kind.

Rubio’s bill would enable D.C. residents to obtain firearms from licensed dealers in Maryland and Virginia; repeal the District’s gun registration requirement system; allow a more permissive system for residents to possess firearms. It would limit the District to the standard NCIS background check, make firearm training optional, and allow private entities and public buildings to determine their firearm policies. Rubio first tried to introduce a bill in 2015. It did not pass.

Norton said that Rubio’s reintroduction of the bill was “trampling on D.C. home rule” and that he should “focus on the needs of his own constituents.” “We intend to keep Sen. Rubio from walking over the principle of local control over local affairs while he uses federal authority to overturn the District’s duly-enacted local laws,” Norton’s statement read.