WASHINGTON - March 2 - Handgun-Free America applauds the decision by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) to withdraw an amendment to a gun industry bill that would have overturned the longstanding ban on handgun and semiautomatic possession in the nations capitol. The amendment was offered as an amendment to the gun industry immunity bill that would provide unprecedented immunity against civil suits to reckless gun dealers.
We applaud the support of the United States Senate in its decision to protect the integrity of the locally-enacted handgun laws in our nations capitol, states Chris McGrath, executive director of Handgun-Free America, a national grassroots organization dedicated to banning handguns in America. By upholding the longstanding ban on handgun possession, the U.S. senate has decided that the fight against gun violence cannot be taken out of the hands of local law enforcement.
D.C. residents and businesses have overwhelmingly spoke out against any measure that would overturn the local handgun ban, McGrath notes. In a letter mailed to the Senate, over 100 D.C.-based businesses called on the Senate to cease all efforts to overturn local gun laws. In addition, the Greater Washington Board of Trade, which represents over 1,200 businesses and roughly 40% of the D.C. workforce, and the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, called on the Senate to reject any measures to repeal D.C.s gun laws.
Maintaining the integrity of existing gun laws in the District is also widely supported by local officials. Surrounded by illegal guns that have been recovered from the city this year, D.C. Chief of Police Charles Ramsey yesterday called on Senator Frist to stop his assault on D.C.s gun laws. Ramsey noted that the greatest threat to residents of our nations capitol is not posed by members of al Qaeda, but rather from homegrown armed terrorists right here at home.
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), the non-voting D.C. delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, appeared with Ramsey to protect current gun laws. "The shootings of students at Anacostia and Ballou [high schools], both allegedly at the hands of other teenagers, drive home our greatest fear that guns in homes will quickly find their way into the hands of children and onto D.C. streets, Norton noted.
While the measure is not completely dead, it is hopeful that the issue will not be brought up again this year, McGrath noted. Since the measure was originally introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) as a stand-alone bill, S. 1414, that bill remains active and can be considered again at a later date.