PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 3193, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PERSONAL PROTECTION ACT -- (House of Representatives - September 29, 2004)
Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Speaker, by direction of the Committee on Rules, I call up House Resolution 803 and ask for its immediate consideration.
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Mr. LINDER. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend from the Committee on Rules, the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Hastings), for the time.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H. Res. 803, a closed rule that provides for the consideration of H.R. 3193, the District of Columbia Personal Protection Act. This is an appropriate rule that will allow the House to work its will on the underlying legislation, and I urge my colleagues in the House to join me in voting for its approval.
Mr. Speaker, I can certainly appreciate the position of those who oppose the underlying legislation. As a consistent proponent of home rule, I believe that the Federal Government should be limited in its influence over State and local laws.
The crux of this debate, however, is not whether the Congress has the authority to repeal the District's prohibition of owning firearms. The Founders were explicit in their desire for congressional oversight and responsibility in the affairs and laws of the District of Columbia.
The heart of the matter before us today is whether the District of Columbia should continue to prevent its citizens from exercising their full rights under the Constitution. We do not get to pick and choose our amendments, and the second amendment was written with just as much force and meaning as the first and the fifth and the tenth.
In 1975, the District's government enacted measures to prevent citizens from owning certain firearms in an ill-advised effort to reduce its violent crime rate. My colleagues have just heard about that from the previous speaker. As many of my colleagues can attest, however, the District, despite these laws, continues to be known across the country as the "murder capital."
It is beyond me to understand how we can stand here in the well of this House and say this is the most violent city in the Nation, this is the murder capital of the world, people are being gunned down, please do not change anything; leave it as it is. Does it ever strike anybody that, perhaps, perhaps, there would be less violence if the bad guys who do get guns, who have guns, would think for a moment that the people they are approaching might have guns, too?
This is not the kind of wild west life we want to live, but it is a fact of life that, in those areas where we have concealed-carry laws, there is less violent gun crime because the bad guys who have an easy time getting guns are concerned that maybe they are approaching someone who has one, too. There are some nations or some jurisdictions in this Nation that actually require people to keep guns in their houses, and it is an uncomfortable fact for those who would like to get rid of guns, but it is a fact.
They have less crime. They have far less crime.
So, Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this rule and support the underlying law.
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