DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PERSONAL PROTECTION ACT -- (House of Representatives - September 29, 2004)
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Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, I stand today in firm opposition to this legislation, which aims to repeal Washington, DC's local gun ban. I find it troubling and illogical that the House is repealing a ban on handguns and assault weapons in a city where the Federal Government has invested millions of dollars to increase and improve security. It is foolhardy for Congress to counter these actions by allowing loaded assault weapons to be carried around this city, putting officers as well as citizens and visitors in danger.
Washington, DC has made great strides to reduce its crime rate-homicide has decreased by 25 percent over the past year and it has decreased by 55 percent since the passage of the Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Ban in 1994. Despite these improvements, violence remains a serious problem in the District of Columbia. Sixteen children have been killed by gunfire in DC so far this year. These numbers are not going to improve if we allow loaded assault weapons to be carried within the city.
Not only is this legislation ill conceived and dangerous, it is a local matter that should not be within Congress's jurisdiction. The District of Columbia City Council and Mayor passed this ban during its first session in 1976. No laws have been passed locally to repeal the law and the courts have maintained its constitutionality. Now, this body, which does not even grant over half a million United States citizens living in the District of Columbia voting representation in Congress, is trying to further strip rights to these citizens by taking away a self-imposed law to protect their safety.