Friday, August 15, 2008
On July 31, House Democrats and Republicans joined in a bi-partisan effort to introduce legislation that would overturn Washington, D.C.’s newly enacted emergency gun control laws. These laws continue to defy the recent Supreme Court ruling by continuing to restrict District of Columbia residents’ right to self-defense.
In a strong bipartisan effort, Congressmen Travis Childers (D-Miss.), John Dingell (D-Mich.), John Tanner (D-Tenn.), Mike Ross (D-Ark.), and Mark Souder (R-Ind.), along with 52 of their colleagues, introduced the "Second Amendment Enforcement Act" (H.R. 6691). This critical NRA-backed legislation is needed to enforce the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller.
On June 26, the U. S. Supreme Court held in District of Columbia v. Heller that "the District's ban on handgun possession in the home violates the Second Amendment, as does its prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense." The Supreme Court clearly stated that handguns are constitutionally-protected arms because they are commonly used, are typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, are considered by the American people to be the quintessential self-defense firearm, are the most popular firearm chosen by Americans for self-defense in the home, and are the most preferred firearm in the nation to keep and use for protection of home and family.
The "Second Amendment Enforcement Act" will:
Repeal the District's ban on semi-automatic handguns. Semi-automatic pistols have been the most commonly purchased handguns in the United States over the last 20 years, and therefore a ban on those firearms is unconstitutional as decided by Heller;
Restore the right of self-defense by repealing the requirement that firearms be disassembled or secured with a trigger lock in the home;
Reform the current D.C. registration system that requires multiple visits to police headquarters; ballistics testing; passing a written test on D.C. gun laws; fingerprinting; and limiting registration to one handgun per 90 days. The current system is unduly burdensome and serves as a vehicle for even more onerous restrictions; and
Create a limited exemption to the federal ban on interstate handgun sales by allowing D.C. residents to purchase handguns in Virginia and Maryland. Currently there are no firearms dealers in the District of Columbia, and the federal ban prohibits residents from purchasing handguns outside of the District; therefore, District residents have no means of purchasing handguns.
Congress is currently on its Summer District Work Period and will be out of session until September 8. During this time, your Senators and Representative will be back home in their states and districts.
Many lawmakers use this time to hold town hall meetings, and take questions from their constituents. Now is the perfect time for you to attend a Town Hall meeting and personally voice your strong support for the "Second Amendment Enforcement Act".
Please take advantage of this congressional recess to try and schedule personal meetings with your lawmakers and/or their staff in their district offices to discuss H.R. 6691. If you do not know the number for your lawmakers' district offices, you can use our "Write Your Representatives" tool, or call the NRA-ILA Grassroots Division at (800) 392-8683.
In addition, please be sure to contact your U.S. Representative at (202) 225-3121, and urge him or her to cosponsor and support H.R. 6691—the "Second Amendment Enforcement Act."
For tips on effectively communicating at town hall meetings, and directly with you legislator, please visit "Tips for Communicating with your Lawmakers."