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Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Representing the District of Columbia

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Massie Wants to Expand Gun Rights in D.C., But Has Not Introduced a Bill to Expand Access to Guns in Federal Buildings for His Constituents

Jul 22, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today wondered why Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), who sponsored a House-passed amendment last week to bar the District of Columbia government, including the Metropolitan Police Department, from enforcing its local gun laws, has not introduced a bill or amendment to expand access to guns in federal buildings in D.C. and in Kentucky, where he has a clear right to impose his views.  Under federal law (18 USC § 930), a person may not bring a gun into a federal facility, with a penalty of up to one-year imprisonment for a non-court facility and two years for a court facility.

“Representative Massie, a tea party supporter who professes to believe in devolving federal power to the states, has offered several explanations for why he offered an amendment to use federal power to overturn D.C.’s local gun laws, including that he would try to ‘restore gun rights anywhere I can,’ and that Congress has direct control over the District of Columbia,” Norton said.  “Congress renounced its authority to enact local laws for the people of the District of Columbia without accountability to local voters forty years ago by passing the D.C. Home Rule Act.  Massie does have direct control over federal buildings here and in his home district.  If he feels so strongly about expanding access to guns, why is he not trying to expand the right to carry guns for his own constituents and for visitors to the Capitol?  Instead, he is trying to leave a big city with less restrictive laws than those in his own district.  He could easily introduce a bill or amendment to expand the rights of his own constituents to carry guns by permitting people to carry guns in federal facilities, including those in Kentucky.  Instead, he tries to overturn the gun laws of a local jurisdiction knowing there is no accountability or consequences for him from D.C. residents, who cannot vote for or against him, and whose elected representative to the House cannot vote at all on the House floor on the Massie amendment or any other bill for that matter.  It does not require courage to offer such an amendment to bully another jurisdiction disarmed from a vote on the amendment Rep. Massie offered.”

Last week, during Floor consideration of the fiscal year 2015 D.C. Appropriations bill, Representative Massie offered an amendment to block the District from spending its local funds to enforce its local gun laws.  On Friday, a congressional staffer was arrested for bringing a gun into the Capitol complex.  Under federal law, a person may not carry a gun on Capitol grounds, with a penalty of up to five years imprisonment.  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 that federal law. 

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.