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Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Representing the District of Columbia

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Massie Retreats on D.C. Guns, Norton Prepares for Future Attacks on Gun Laws

Sep 8, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today claimed victory as Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) did not file his dangerous bill to require the District of Columbia to recognize out-of-state permits to carry concealed guns as an amendment to the fiscal year 2018 D.C. Appropriations bill, which is expected to be considered on the House floor next week.  Massie introduced his D.C. gun bill after the horrific shooting of Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and others at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, VA and pushed House leadership to bring it to the floor, but backed down from an opportunity to attach his bill as a rider to D.C.’s Appropriations bill.

“We may never know why Representative Massie did not file his D.C. gun bill as an amendment, but the public outcry by D.C. residents, press coverage in his home district pointing up his violation of Republican local control principles, and our work with House and Senate colleagues surely helped,” Norton said.  “The District’s greatest danger from Congress has been annual attempts to gut our gun safety laws—and our most difficult victories.  We remain on D.C. gun watch as the Republican obsession with D.C. gun safety laws knows no bounds.”

In fiscal year 2015, Massie offered two amendments on the House floor to the D.C. Appropriations bill that attempted to block all or most of D.C.’s gun safety laws, one of which Norton got ruled out of order due to poor drafting, and another that had unclear implications but attempted to prevent D.C. from using its local funds to enforce many of its gun safety laws.  That amendment passed, but Norton kept it out of the enacted bill.  In fiscal year 2016, the D.C. Appropriations bill did not go to the House floor, so he could not offer floor amendments that year.  In fiscal year 2017, Massie filed two amendments to the D.C. Appropriations bill to block several D.C. gun safety laws—one to allow people to carry guns, openly or concealed, in the District without a license, and another to eliminate D.C.’s enhanced penalties for carrying a firearm in gun-free zones.  The House Rules Committee blocked Massie from offering them on the floor.