Sen. Ensign on the D.C. Gun Law Amendment


Republican Senator John Ensign of Nevada writes in the Washington Post defending his amendment to the bill to give D.C. a voting representative in Congress, an amendment that would also overturn the District's current gun regulations. That amendment has the bill currently held up in the House, after passing the Senate:

A sizable majority of the Senate, both Democrats and Republicans, agreed that D.C. residents' constitutional rights were being violated by the city government. Democratic leaders in the House know that a strong majority in their own chamber, a majority composed of Republicans and pro-gun, moderate Democrats, reflects the overwhelming sentiment in our nation that unreasonable gun control measures are ineffective at combating crime and infringe on residents' rights. This strong sentiment led me to sponsor the amendment, and it is why I believe House Democrats need to allow a vote….

Contrary to the impression left by some on these pages, my amendment will not turn the District into the Wild West of the East Coast. It would apply federal gun control law to the city. It would prohibit anyone from carrying any firearm in public without a permit; would require residents to submit to an FBI background check when they purchase a firearm; and would apply federal restrictions regarding, among other things, mental health issues, felony convictions, immigration status and age. My amendment upholds the court's ruling while allowing reasonable regulations consistent with the constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment. Those who seek to mischaracterize this amendment are only spreading fear. 

For more on D.C.'s history of gun control and the historical Supreme Court case that overturned their old gun laws, see my book Gun Control on Trial.