As fully expected, Representative Phil Gingrey's (R-GA) amendment expressing the sense of Congress -- which has no legal effect -- that active duty military personnel in their private capacity should be exempt from the gun safety laws of the District of Columbia, but not elsewhere, passed the House last night as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 (NDAA). The NDAA is expected to pass the House later today. Norton is already working to get the amendment removed for the third year in a row and has been in contact with Senate and gun safety allies to keep the provision out of the final NDAA. Jon Lowy, Legal Director of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, joined Norton at her "Save D.C. Home Rule" press conference earlier this week to alert members of the House and Senate that D.C. has national allies to help prevent anti-home-rule amendments to D.C.'s laws, including on gun safety. Gingrey added this amendment to the House-passed fiscal year 2013 and 2014 National Defense Authorization bills, but, in both cases, Norton got it removed from the enacted bills. This Congress, Gingrey introduced his amendment as a stand-alone bill as well.
"We know we are getting somewhere when attacks on D.C.'s gun safety laws go from a bill to eliminate all of the city's gun safety laws, which has not moved this Congress, to a sense of Congress resolution, which has no legal effect," said Norton. "In this country, we respect local jurisdictions, particularly on questions of public safety. What ever happened to Phil Gingrey's Tea Party principles of local control of local affairs? Meddling in a district more than 600 miles from his own takes him just that far from those principles."
Last week, a federal district court upheld D.C.'s gun registration requirements, following a federal appellate court ruling upholding D.C.'s ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. This means that the courts have turned back every attempt to overturn D.C.'s post-Heller gun laws in each case in which the courts have spoken.