Rand Paul Attacks D.C. Home Rule Again, Files Amendment to Eliminate D.C.’s Gun Laws

Jul 9, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said today that Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) filed an amendment yesterday that would eliminate the District of Columbia’s gun safety laws.  The amendment was filed to a bill entitled the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act (S.2363), which the Senate is expected to begin debating this afternoon.

“Senator Paul, the tea party standard-bearer, seems to leave his small government, libertarian views at the District line when it comes to the District of Columbia,” Norton said.  “Based on his support for reducing the power of the federal government and devolving that power to states and local governments, including his visit to Howard University last year where he discussed the war on drugs, we had hoped he might be an ally in keeping Congress out of D.C.’s local affairs.  Even after he killed the D.C. budget autonomy bill in the Senate last Congress, we hoped he would try to bring his position on D.C. issues into greater line with his signature philosophy against federal interference with local affairs.  Even now, we hope that he will do so by withdrawing this amendment.”

Senator Paul, the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Emergency Management, Intergovernmental Affairs, and the District of Columbia, was responsible for killing the D.C. budget autonomy bill last Congress, when, in committee, he filed several anti-home-rule amendments to the bill, including ones to permanently ban D.C. from spending its local funds on abortions for low-income women, require D.C. to recognize state-issued concealed carry permits, permit D.C. residents to carry concealed weapons, and make D.C. a right-to-work jurisdiction.  Norton and city leaders then asked the sponsor of the bill and then-chairman Senator Joe Lieberman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to withdraw the bill from consideration.

The attack on D.C.’s gun laws keep coming even though every federal court since the Heller decision has upheld them.  The new Paul amendment is similar to an amendment that forced Norton to pull the D.C. House Voting Rights Act off of the House floor in 2010.  D.C.’s gun laws have remained under constant attack this Congress, thus far unsuccessfully.   Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) reintroduced a bill similar to the amendment that would eliminate D.C.’s gun laws.   Representative Phil Gingrey (R-GA) introduced a bill that would express the sense of Congress that active duty military personnel in their private capacity should be exempt from the gun safety laws of the District of Columbia, but not those of any other state or locality.  Gingrey added his bill as an amendment to the House-passed version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015, but Norton will fight to get it removed from the final bill, as she did in fiscal years 2013 and 2014.