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Public Statements

District of Columbia Personal Protection Act

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PERSONAL PROTECTION ACT -- (House of Representatives - September 29, 2004)

Mr. SOUDER. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 803, I call up the bill (H.R. 3193) to restore second amendment rights in the District of Columbia, and ask for its immediate consideration.

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Mr. LANGEVIN. Mr. Speaker, today I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 3193, legislation that would repeal Washington, DC's, self-enacted gun ban. For nearly 30 years, this ban has protected the citizens of Washington and the city's 20 million annual tourists. Over the last year, D.C. homicides are down 24 percent, and there have been 55 percent fewer murders since 1994. While the ban has not been perfect, there is no excuse for Congress making it easier for murderers and terrorists to get their hands on legal assault weapons. More guns will lead to more murders.

If enacted, H.R. 3193 would repeal the District's ban on handguns and semiautomatic firearms, including assault weapons, and end criminal penalties for failure to register a gun. This ban was enacted by an elected mayor and city council in 1976 and has never been eroded by legislation or court challenge. The House is now attempting to change the will of elected D.C. officials, but Washington does not even have a voting representative to voice the will of the people most affected by this legislation.

The dangers inherent in this bill are complicated by the recent expiration of the assault weapons ban. Should this bill become law, someone could purchase an Uzi or AK-47 and legally keep it at his or her home within sight of the White House, Capitol Building, or Supreme Court. During this time of unprecedented security, weakening gun laws will only make the job of law enforcement officers more difficult and more dangerous.

Unfortunately, the rule prevents all amendments, including those to ban assault weapons and cop-killer bullets. Without these life-saving provisions, it is only a matter of time until a member of he Metropolitan Police Department, U.S. Capitol Police, Secret Service, or other law enforcement officer is outgunned with a legal assault weapon.

Washington, DC, has the right to determine its own laws, and those laws deserve our respect. As D.C. Police Chief Charles Ramsey recently stated, "We don't need a law that puts more assault weapons in circulation in D.C." I urge my colleagues to join me in opposing H.R. 3193.

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