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District of Columbia Personal Protection Act

Location: Washington, DC

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


Mr. WAXMAN. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this bill. The other side would have you believe that they want to repeal legislation in the District of Columbia to stop handguns. But that is not what this bill does. This bill repeals the District's laws on assault weapons. I want to show a chart, if I might, because one of the assault weapons that would be made legal if this bill passes is a semiautomatic 50-caliber sniper weapon. This is its actual size. It is capable of taking out an armored limousine from a mile away. Can you imagine that in the District of Columbia someone could have this assault weapon and stick it out of a window on Pennsylvania Avenue? We have people coming in and out of this city who are very important to the functioning of our government, international visitors. Yet they could own and possess this weapon if the legislation before us passes.

We are spending millions of dollars to protect the Nation's capital from another terrorist attack, yet we are passing legislation today that would invite terrorists to bring assault weapons into the heart of the Nation's capital.

There is a real irony. There are committees that are meeting today to pass different parts of legislation based on the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. Those recommendations were to make our Nation safe from terrorist attacks. Yet in this bill we are telling terrorists that it is okay for them to have assault weapons when they visit the Nation's capital.

We are under an orange alert because someone working with al Qaeda took photos of the World Bank, the IMF, and other buildings in D.C. Think of the damage that person could have done if he or she had a 50-caliber sniper weapon instead of a camera. Two years ago, this city, this whole region was gripped with fear when a sniper systematically stalked and killed 10 people. The gun he used was the Bushmaster XM-15 assault rifle. Along with AK-47s and Uzis, the Bushmaster assault rifle is one of the guns that this bill would legalize.

The vast majority of the people in this Nation support the Federal ban on assault weapons. Even the President said he supported the continuation of the assault weapons ban, but we could not even bring it up for a vote in the House of Representatives. Instead, the Republican leadership in the House has brought up to the House floor legislation that makes assault weapons legal in the Nation's capital. I wonder if they are going to get around to mandating that each Member of Congress buy an assault weapon rather than ban it all around this Nation.

This bill is being rushed to the floor to score political points with the NRA. The bill is an abomination. I urge my colleagues to defeat it.

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