Those Americans who thought the government’s seemingly laxattitude about gun control could not get any worse have more reasonto be surprised, as an act passed yesterday in Congress will makebuying a gun easier for both individuals and business owners.
On Sept. 29 the House passed the D.C. PersonalProtection Act, by a vote of 250 to 170, which repealed most of theDistrict’s gun laws; including the 1976 ban on handguns andsemiautomatic weapons and the Violent Crime Control and LawEnforcement Act passed in 1994 by President Clinton.
This repeal will allow citizens to own bothunregistered ammunition and semiautomatic weapons in homes andbusinesses. Furthermore, neither the city’s mayor nor theD.C. Council can enact gun limits that exceed the newly passed billor “discourage the private ownership or use offirearms.”
“The District of Columbia handgun bandhas failed,” said Rep. Mark Edward Sounder (R-Ind.), thebill’s sponsor in an hour-long debate. He also argued thatthe city’s homicide rate shows that restrictions on guns areineffective.
“Only the District of Columbia prohibitsa person from having a firearm assembled and loaded at home for thepurpose of self-defense,” Sounder argued.
According to the Washington Post, billsupporters claim the homicide rate was 72 percent higher in 2001than it was in 1976, while the national rate had dropped by 36percent.
Opponents say that the D.C. rate is at a20-year low and has fallen 55 percent since 1994.
There have been 21 murders in the Districtthis year and 16 incidents were gun related; this fact has causedother District officials to become disgusted with the House’sdecision to repeal gun laws.
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) saidincreasing the supply of guns would undermine homeland securityinitiatives and lead to more bloodshed.
“I have seen various members of Congresstry to do some low-down, dirty, mean things to the people of theDistrict of Columbia, all to promote their own political agendasagainst the will of the people who live here,” Norton said.”That we are here discussing this matter is yet a newlow.”
Next the bill will be sent to the Senate whereit has no chance of passing, since there is little more than a weekbefore Congress recesses for the fall, indicated Majority LeaderBill Frist (R-Tenn.).