Congress Takes Aim At D.C.'s Gun Laws


Even after losing the epochal Second Amendment Supreme Court case D.C. v. Heller back in June, D.C. has truculently tried to remain as restrictionist as they think they can get away with when it comes to its citizens' ability to own weapons, including an extremely eccentric definition of "machine gun" that so far makes only revolvers and derringers legal for D.C. citizens even post-Heller.

A bill that seems likely to pass the House this week will change that. The Washington Post has details:

The legislation has four main goals. It would repeal the D.C. ban on semiautomatic pistols and rifles; eliminate the city's gun-registration requirements; allow District residents to purchase guns in Virginia and Maryland; and abolish the regulation that guns kept at home be unloaded and either disassembled or fitted with trigger locks.

The NRA considers the bill its top legislative priority this season, and even many Democrats, traditionally the party of gun control, are on board to overrule D.C on guns. Though D.C. Mayor Fenty begged Pelosi and Waxman to let D.C. settle its gun policy itself, the Post notes:

Pelosi decided to act after Republicans indicated that they could gather enough signatures to bring a D.C. gun bill to the floor. Although Democrats have a 37-seat advantage in the House, dozens of party members are strong gun-rights proponents, reflecting opinion in their districts.

Facing the possibility of being outflanked just weeks before the election, House Democrats introduced their own legislation. The Democratic leadership has promised to bring it to a vote, several congressional sources said.

"It's something a number of our members have indicated they support," said Brendan Daly, a spokesman for Pelosi.

Dave Weigel was on top of the aftermath of Heller and D.C.'s continued love for gun control as strict as they think they can get away with here and here (in which Dick Heller files another lawsuit against D.C.'s gun control laws).

The full story of the Heller case and its meaning for the future of gun control is the topic of my forthcoming book Gun Control on Trial, out in November, published by the Cato Institute. And look for an excerpt from it in a forthcoming issue of reason.