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Public Statements

Providing For Consideration of H.R. 3193, District of Columbia Personal Protection Act

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


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. GINGREY. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Washington State, the distinguished member of the Committee on Rules, for yielding me this time, and I want to thank my colleague, the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Souder), for introducing legislation to restore our constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms in the District of Columbia. H.R. 3193, the District of Columbia Personal Protection Act, would eliminate penalties for the legal possession of a firearm, and it would permit the storage of legal firearms in an individual's home or place of business.

This debate is fundamental in its nature. Americans should have the right to defend themselves against a violent assault. They should have the right to protect their own lives. In 2002, the District of Columbia earned the rare distinction of being the murder capital of America for 14 out of 15 years, yet all handguns have been banned in the District since 1976. This simple fact shows that firearm bans do not work to decrease crime. D.C. laws should not make it a criminal offense to possess a firearm and self-defense in one's own home or business.

Mr. Speaker, the Washington Times reported on December 14, 1994, that Rebecca Griffin heard her daughter screaming one night, only to find her bound and gagged by two potential kidnappers. With one carrying a knife, she was quick to end the attack after retrieving her 32-caliber revolver from the basement. Although her daughter was left cut and bleeding, by using a firearm to protect her family in her own home, she saved her daughter from abduction and, yes, possibly death.

It is interesting to note that crime was on the decline in Washington, D.C., before the gun ban was imposed. Yet in only the first 15 years of the ban, from 1976 to 1991, the homicide rate increased by more than 200 percent while the rest of the United States had only a 12 percent increase.

When Congress chose to delegate home rule in the 1970s, it specified that legislation by the District must be consistent with the Constitution of the United States, and I hope that the gentleman from Rhode Island and the gentlewoman from the District of Columbia, who previously spoke about the rights of D.C. citizens, are listening. However, the District of Columbia consistently violates the second amendment right to keep and bear arms. It violates the right to self-defense.

Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to pass the rule for the District of Columbia Personal Protection Act and to restore second amendment rights to the law-abiding citizens of our Nation's Capital.

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