Paul  Weyrich

The D.C. City Council has imposed a very burdensome system of gun registration. Only a handful of states have any registration and none has a system as complicated as that of the District. There is a solution to this tyranny. Congress can pass H.R. 1399, the "District of Columbia Personal Protection Act." The bill, which is supported by the NRA and has 247 co-sponsors, would repeal the D.C. handgun ban and the storage requirement which prohibits keeping a firearm ready for self-defense in the home, two of the provisions found to be unconstitutional in the Heller decision. Moreover, it would repeal the D.C. registration system, which is burdensome in its own right and serves as a vehicle for even more restrictions and skewed definitions. H.R. 1399 would restrict the D.C. Council's authority to impose undue restrictions upon residents' Second Amendment right. It also would repeal the ban upon semi-automatic firearms, conforming the District's law to federal legislation. It would repeal various restrictions on ammunition and the District's "Strict Liability Act," which allows manufacturers of certain types of guns "to be held strictly liable in tort, without regard to fault or proof of defect."

The problem is that time is short in this Congress. There may be enough time for a discharge petition to bring the bill to the floor of the House of Representatives. But in the Senate 60 votes are needed to move anything. The NRA vote count currently stands at 55. The leadership in both chambers opposes H.R. 1399. The NRA wants it passed while there is still a President in office who will sign it. Unfortunately, it appears as if the courts, rather than the legislature, will have the last word on the D.C. legislation. That is not how it should be.

Paul Weyrich

Paul M. Weyrich is the late Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation.
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