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Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Representing the District of Columbia

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After Second Arrest Since Friday for Bringing a Gun into Capitol, Norton Seeking Massie Bill to Carry Out His Pledge to ‘Restore Gun Rights Anywhere I Can’

Jul 23, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – After the second person since last Friday was arrested this morning for allegedly bringing a gun into the Capitol complex, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said that Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) seems to be attracting a constituency for his efforts to “restore gun rights anywhere I can.”  Massie sponsored an amendment this month to bar the District of Columbia government from enforcing its local gun laws, but has not offered a bill to permit guns in the Capitol complex, where his jurisdiction is clearest.  It is a federal offense (40 USC § 5104) to carry a gun in the Capitol complex, with a penalty of up to five years imprisonment.

Norton said, “Representative Massie, your message about spreading guns is apparently being heard, at least for people coming to the Capitol.  Where is your bill to overturn the federal law barring guns on Capitol grounds or the separate federal law barring guns in other federal buildings?  Although Congress long ago devolved local control over guns and other local matters to D.C., Representative Massie used illegitimate, undemocratic and authoritarian power to block D.C. from enforcing its local gun laws.  He left behind his professed tea party principles for local control and more power for states and local governments.  If he wants to ‘restore gun rights anywhere I can,’ Congress, where he serves, is surely the place to begin.  Given the apparent demand for bringing guns into the Capitol, let’s see if Representative Massie is true to his word and uses his legitimate, direct power over federal buildings to permit guns in them.”

Last week, the House passed a Massie amendment to the fiscal year 2015 D.C. Appropriations bill that prohibits the District government, including the Metropolitan Police Department, from spending its local funds to enforce its local gun laws.  In May, the House approved the fiscal year 2015 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill, which contains the funding for the U.S. Capitol Police.  Representative Massie did not file an amendment to block the Capitol Police from spending its funds to enforce the federal prohibition on guns in the Capitol, and has yet to indicate an intention to do so.

Massie has also not introduced a bill or amendment to overturn or block a separate federal law (18 USC § 930) that bars guns in all federal buildings, with a penalty of up to one-year imprisonment for a non-court facility and two years for a court facility.  Such a bill would permit Massie’s constituents to bring guns into federal buildings in Kentucky.

Massie has sponsored one other gun bill or amendment since he entered Congress.  In 2013, Representative Massie introduced his first bill in Congress, the Citizens Protection Act of 2013 (H.R. 133), which would repeal the federal law prohibiting the possession or discharge of a gun in a school zone.