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House Votes to Repeal D.C. Gun Laws

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Voting 250 for and 171 against, the House of Representatives on Sept. 29 passed The District of Columbia Personal Protection Act (HR 3193) repealing the District of Columbia's gun control laws.

Now awaiting Senate action, the measure would legalize the possession of handguns, semi-automatic assault weapons and armor-piercing bullets in the federal city. The bill would repeal registration requirements for firearms and ammunition, remove criminal penalties for possessing unregistered weapons and allow residents to have loaded firearms at home.

Rep. Zach Wamp, (R-Tenn.), called it "fallacious to insinuate to people that somehow they are going to be safer if you ban guns. There are no facts to back that up....The truth is that when we control guns, the bad guys have plenty, and there is a gun culture, and the good guys cannot defend themselves."

Specifically the bill would:

  • Amend the District of Columbia Code to provide that the D.C. Council's regulatory authority regarding firearms, explosives, and weapons in the District shall not be construed to permit the Council, the Mayor, or any governmental or regulatory authority of the District to prohibit, constructively prohibit, or unduly burden the ability of persons otherwise permitted to possess firearms under Federal law from acquiring, possessing in their homes or businesses, or using for sporting, self-protection or other lawful purposes, any firearm neither prohibited by Federal law nor regulated by the National Firearms Act.

  • Deny the District any authority to enact laws or regulations that discourage or eliminate the private ownership or use of firearms.

  • Amend the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 to repeal the definition of a machine gun as any firearm which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily converted or restored to shoot semiautomatically, more than 12 shots without manual reloading. (Thus repeals the ban on semiautomatic weapons.)

  • Repeal the District's: (1) registration requirement for possession of firearms, (2) prohibition on registration of pistols (handguns), (3) prohibition on possession of handgun ammunition, (4) requirement that, under certain conditions, firearms in the possession of certain individuals must be kept unloaded, disassembled, or with the trigger locked, (5) related firearm registration requirements such as applicant qualifications and filing deadline.

  • Maintain the current ban on the possession and control of a sawed-off shotgun, machine gun, or short-barreled rifle.

  • Eliminate criminal penalties for possessing an unregistered firearm.

  • Amend Federal law to eliminate criminal penalties for carrying a pistol whether loaded or unloaded in one's dwelling house, place of business, or on land possessed by such person.
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