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Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Representing the District of Columbia

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Norton Blasts Garrett for Introducing Bill to Wipe Out D.C.’s Gun Safety Laws

Mar 16, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today went after freshman Representative Tom Garrett (R-VA) for introducing a bill that would wipe out almost all of the District of Columbia’s local gun safety laws, despite a shallow record of introducing bills to benefit his own district.  Garrett’s bill would eliminate the District’s ban on assault weapons, large capacity magazines, and its registration requirements, and prohibit D.C. from passing gun laws in the future.  Norton said Garrett’s effort to eliminate D.C.’s gun safety laws is particularly hypocritical considering that Congress doubled down on protecting itself by posting signs for the first time at the entrances of congressional office buildings indicating that guns are prohibited in the buildings and on the grounds of the Capitol Complex.  Norton said Garrett would be well within his federal jurisdiction to introduce a bill to eliminate the prohibition of guns in the Capitol Complex, but she said he apparently “does not have the fortitude” to go there.

“As a freshman Member of Congress, Representative Garrett will be judged on whether he was able to deliver anything for his constituents in his first term,” Norton said.  “Wherever his constituents stand on guns, it is hard to believe that they would prefer their representative, who has only introduced three prior bills, devote time to interfering with another Member’s district, rather than focus on their needs.  It is particularly ironic that Garrett would launch this attack on a local jurisdiction as a member of the Freedom Caucus, whose mantra is local control over local affairs.”

A federal appeals court has upheld the constitutionality of District’s ban on assault weapons and large capacity magazines, as well as the core of the city’s gun registration requirements.  Last month, a federal appeals court upheld Maryland’s similar ban, saying that “assault weapons and large-capacity magazines are not protected by the Second Amendment.”  Last Congress, Norton defeated eight attempts to overturn or block D.C.’s gun safety laws.

The Garrett bill is the companion to the bill introduced this Congress by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL).