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Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Representing the District of Columbia

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Norton Says Rubio Now Appears to Support Allowing D.C. Children to Carry Assault Weapons, Showing He Does Not Understand His Own D.C. Gun Bill or the Home Rule Act

Apr 6, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said today that if Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) meant what he said in an interview with a Florida television station (WTLV), he now supports making his dangerous District of Columbia gun bill even worse.  In the interview, Rubio said D.C. should be forced to adopt only federal gun laws, which are so limited that most states and local jurisdictions have their own additional gun laws.  Left with only the federal laws, 10-year-olds could carry assault rifles, loaded with 100 bullets, slung over their shoulders on D.C. streets.  Federal law has left it to states and localities to enact restrictions on the possession of a rifle, limitations on carrying a gun, openly or concealed (other than in a school or on federal property), assault weapons bans and limitations on ammunition magazine size.  Rubio’s D.C. gun bill also creates two unique exceptions even to federal law—one allowing a person from any state with a permit to carry in D.C. schools, and another allowing D.C. residents to purchase handguns in Maryland and Virginia (even though federal law prohibits the purchase of handguns across state lines).  Rubio’s D.C. gun bill would overturn D.C.’s bans on assault weapons and magazines that hold more than 10 bullets, and would allow 18-year-olds to buy an assault rifle in D.C.

“Senator Rubio doesn’t appear to understand what his bill does, which only reinforces our contention that he introduced it to raise his National Rifle Association rating from B plus to A,” Norton said.  “I had not thought his D.C. gun bill could get any more dangerous, but if he really wants D.C. gun laws to be identical to federal gun laws, then there would be nothing to stop 10-year-olds from carrying weapons of war on District streets.  Senator Rubio also seems to think D.C. should not have any local laws, and that the only laws in D.C. should be federal laws.  The Senator needs to familiarize himself with the Home Rule Act, which Congress passed in 1973 to allow D.C. to legislate on purely local matters (with a small number of enumerated exceptions), including on guns.  Under the Home Rule Act, D.C. has the same right to enact local gun laws Rubio’s home state of Florida did when it raised the minimum age to purchase an assault rifle to 21.”

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