Norton Says Pending Rubio-Garrett D.C. Gun Bill Seeks to Permit Guns in Schools and Creates Special Exemption in Federal Law to Allow Out-of-State Residents to Carry in D.C. Schools

Feb 22, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), in light of the current intense public debate about guns in schools, today highlighted the provisions in a pending District of Columbia gun bill sponsored by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Representative Tom Garrett (R-VA) that seeks to overturn D.C. and federal bans on guns in schools.  Their bill goes even further by seeking to eliminate virtually all of the District’s gun safety laws.

“The Rubio-Garrett D.C. gun bill is straight from a National Rifle Association wish list,” Norton said. “The bill not only seeks to legalize assault weapons and large capacity magazines, which were both used by the Parkland high school shooter, but goes out of its way to allow guns in the District’s schools.  This bill was outrageous even before Parkland, and I call on Senator Rubio and Representative Garrett to disavow it now.”

A version of the Rubio-Garrett bill has been introduced for more than a decade, but Norton has kept it from being enacted.  Rubio first introduced the bill in 2015, just before announcing his candidacy for president, and, upon filing his bill, the NRA upgraded Rubio’s rating from a B-plus to an A.

The bill, which would eliminate most D.C. gun laws, including the ban on guns in schools, has two specific provisions dealing with guns in schools.  First, the bill would prohibit the District from banning guns in D.C. public schools unless a school “has implemented security measures (including guard posts, metal detection devices, x-ray or other scanning devices, or card-based or biometric access devices) to identify and exclude unauthorized or hazardous persons or articles….”  Some D.C. public schools may not meet this standard and, therefore, people with concealed carry licenses would be allowed to carry guns in such schools.

Second, the bill would create a unique exception to the federal Gun-Free School Zones Act for D.C. schools.  That act prohibits the possession of a gun in a school unless the person carrying is licensed to carry in the state in which the school is located.  However, under the Rubio-Garrett bill, a person licensed outside D.C., no matter how lax that state’s requirements, would not be prohibited from carrying in a D.C. school.

In addition to the school provisions, the Rubio-Garrett bill would overturn D.C.’s ban on assault weapons and large capacity magazines in D.C., repeal D.C.’s registration requirements and prohibit D.C. from enacting gun safety measures in the future.