Uphold Washington, D.C. Gun Laws, Oppose S. 1082
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S. 1082, as introduced by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), would repeal the District's ban on handguns, end strict registration requirements for ammunition and other firearms, and lift prohibitions on the possession or carrying of weapons at homes and workplaces. It would also repeal the District's ban on semi-automatic firearms, allowing military-style assault weapons back into Washingtons neighborhoods. The District's gun laws have stood for 29 years, and have been upheld by the courts whenever challenged.
Mayor Anthony Williams, Chief of Police Charles H. Ramsey, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and virtually all other District officials adamantly oppose the bill. Congresswoman Norton has described it as an attack on D.C. home rule, stating that "The District is being targeted...because we are helpless without senators and the full panoply of legal rights to protect ourselves." Mayor Williams added, "I am incensed by any proposal that is an insult to the memory of the people who have died in this city due to gun violence."
Senator Hutchison claims that S. 1082 is needed to restore the right of law-abiding citizens to arm themselves and to defend their families. We, the undersigned, believe that the free, unrestricted, flow of guns into our community would result in more violent crime, not less, and primarily benefit criminals who actively seek firearms for illicit purposes. As Congresswoman Norton has said, "The only thing that would cause more murder and mayhem in this city is allowing freer access to guns."
97 percent of the guns used in crimes in the District come from outside the city. If the U.S. Senate is sincere about reducing gun violence in Washington, D.C. and saving lives, we, the undersigned, call on them to: (a) provide the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives with additional resources and manpower to enforce federal gun laws and target the firearms traffickers who bring guns into the District, and (b) enact stronger federal gun laws (including a universal background check on all guns sales and a one-handgun per month law) so that traffickers cannot exploit states with weak laws to buy guns that are then resold in the District in violation of local law.