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House budget amendment would block D.C. gun law enforcement

Congressman Thomas Massey (R-KY) wants to prevent Washington, D.C. city government from spending money to enforce its gun laws.
Congressman Thomas Massey (R-KY) wants to prevent Washington, D.C. city government from spending money to enforce its gun laws.
Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images

The House of Representatives yesterday fired a warning shot at the District of Columbia city government by passing, on a 241-181 roll call vote, a budget amendment that prohibits the city from using any funds to enforce the city’s onerous gun laws, which include a ban on carrying firearms for personal protection outside the home.

The amendment is a signal that many in Congress are tired of the city's anti-gun demagoguery. District gun policy extremism was detailed by local Fox News investigative reporter Emily Miller, former senior opinion editor at the Washington Times, in her book "Emily Gets Her Gun."

Sponsored by Kentucky Republican Congressman Thomas Massie, the amendment was added to the $21.3 million spending bill, and the Washington City Paper said it “would gut D.C.’s gun laws.” Brady Campaign spokesperson Jennifer Fuson contended to the newspaper that if this amendment becomes law, it could open the door to concealed carry in the District without a permit.

That’s what activists call “constitutional carry.” That term is based on the belief that the only “permit” anyone needs to carry a gun openly or concealed is the Second Amendment. It is the law in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Wyoming and most of Montana, and has always been legal in Vermont.

In a statement about his amendment, Massie repeated what many gun rights advocates have been saying for years: “Criminals by definition don’t care about laws. They will get guns any way they can.”


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Three thousand miles away, in the “other Washington,” that’s what activists are saying about a proposed gun control measure, Initiative 594, that is holding its ground as a so-called “universal background check” scheme. The 18-page initiative, according to Tuesday’s Elway Poll, maintains a large popularity among Evergreen State voters, despite opposition from rank-and-file law enforcement, hunters, gun rights organizations and firearms collectors.

But Massie’s observations about the heavy-handed gun laws in the District, which have long appeared designed to discourage citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights, are certain to hit the mark with gun owners. They will find plenty of agreement in the Northwest.

"Strict gun control laws do nothing but prevent good people from being able to protect themselves and their families in the event of a robbery, home invasion, or other crime,” he said. “Studies indicate that murder rates rise following bans on firearms.”

Recent high-profile murders, especially the one in Santa Barbara two months ago, suggest that restrictive background checks don’t work, either. Spree killer Elliot Rodger, the Isla Vista narcissist who fatally stabbed three young men and then shot down another young man and two co-eds, passed three background checks and endured three waiting periods when he legally purchased all three handguns he used. In addition, he only used California-legal ten-round magazines.

“It is time for Congress to step in and stop the DC government’s harassment and punishment of law-abiding citizens who simply want to defend themselves,” Massie said.

Gun rights activists around the country might consider asking Massie to push legislation that would cut off funding to states that enforce onerous gun laws as well. A good place to start would be with the Pitman-Robertson Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration revenues from the special excise taxes on firearms and ammunition. A federal amendment to withhold those funds from any state that requires waiting periods or mandates magazine capacity limits might get the attention of lawmakers.

Common sense, logic and data haven’t seemed to discourage gun control extremism. Maybe losing millions of dollars that benefit far more non-hunters than hunters and shooters might get some attention.

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