U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Jon Tester (D-MT) today teamed up to introduce the Second Amendment Enforcement Act -- legislation designed to secure gun rights for law-abiding residents of the District of Columbia. McCain and Tester supported the Court's decision and during the Court's consideration of the case, both Senators submitted a bipartisan amicus brief that urged the Court to find the District's restrictions on firearm ownership unconstitutional.
The right to bear arms is a constitutional right and one that was put in place by the Founding Fathers, recognized by the Supreme Court and cherished by many Americans. However, the District of Columbia City Council did not follow the Supreme Court's directive in fully updating their city's laws regarding firearms, and so now it is up to Congress to ensure that District residents' rights are respected by their government.
The District of Columbia, however, still has several rules restricting gun rights for law-abiding citizens.
"Some may ask why a Senator from Arizona and a Senator from Montana would introduce legislation that impacts the District of Columbia. It's simple -- we believe that residents across this country should be able to exercise their constitutional right to have access firearms to protect themselves," said Senator John McCain. "I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting this important legislation that will not only restore District residents' rights, but also ensure that no resident in any state, territory or the District is prevented from exercising his or her Second Amendment right."
"This legislation sends a clear message: Washington, D.C., isn't an exception when it comes to law-abiding folks and their Second Amendment rights," said Tester, who helped write the friend-of-the-court brief in the Heller case. "I'll always be on the side of our Constitution, and I'm proud of this bipartisan push to make gun rights in America even stronger."
The Second Amendment Enforcement Act would:
· Repeal the city's onerous firearms registration system and allow District residents to own firearms.
· Allow District residents to legally to purchase guns and ammunition from licensed dealers in Maryland and Virginia and transport firearms back to their residence in the District since there are no traditional retail firearm stores in the District.
· Restore the right of self-defense for any District resident in his or her home. Previously, the District had a requirement that any firearm kept in a home be stored in a way that made it essentially useless for self-defense (e.g. kept "unloaded and either disassembled or secured by a trigger lock, gun safe, locked box, or other secure device.")
· Prohibit landlords from banning legal guns from rented homes or offices, which would prohibit the District of Columbia from restricting the legal ownership of firearms in public housing residences.
· Retain the District's law that would allow the City Council to implement regulations governing licensed carry and the prohibition of firearms in District government buildings that have implemented security measures.
· Codify the District's City Council's repeal of the semiautomatic ban and retain the District's ban on fully-automatic machine guns.
The bill now goes to the Senate