For Immediate Release
New Gun Bill Shows Gun Lobby Deception
WASHINGTON - Just hours after a Brady Center report highlighted the NRA's
repeated and false denials that its bill to gut DC's gun laws would
allow assault rifles on the streets of Washington, the gun lobby has
revised the bill to prevent the carrying of assault weapons on DC's
streets. The NRA's action implicitly concedes that the NRA has been
intentionally misleading Congress and the public. The NRA's new bill is
still dangerous and should be rejected.
"It is sad that the gun lobby cannot be trusted to tell the truth about
its own bill," said Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to
Prevent Gun Violence. "The gun lobby should not be telling the
residents of any city that they cannot pass reasonable gun laws that
are consistent with the recent Supreme Court ruling to keep their
neighborhoods safe, particularly in the nation's capital where
government officials and diplomats are prime targets for gun-carrying
terrorists and other criminals."
In pushing for H.R. 6691, the NRA has argued that the District of
Columbia's citizens and elected officials should not have a say in
their gun laws, and that Congress should dictate those laws with an
NRA-backed bill instead. Why? The NRA's chief lobbyist, Chris Cox,
says because "D.C. has lost all credibility in dealing with this
issue." However, it is the NRA who can't be trusted. In response to
claims by the Brady Center and others that the NRA's bill would allow
open carrying of assault rifles on D.C. streets, Cox said last week:
- "There's nothing in this legislation, nor in the intent of
this legislation, that would allow people to carry loaded firearms
outside of their home."
- "Any lawyer who has such creative ability to read that into the law probably went to the University of Disney World."
- "They're trying to twist this language to create some concern that is not legitimate."
The NRA has now implicitly conceded that these statements were
false, and that the legislation would allow people to carry loaded
guns, including assault rifles, in the streets - that is why they have
revised the bill. The revisions were announced hours after a Brady
Center report, Capital Under Fire, detailed the dangerous implications of the NRA bill, and explained how the NRA's statements about it were false.
The revised bill would still go well beyond the Supreme Court's Second
Amendment decision in D.C. v. Heller. It also would create dangerous
new risks in the nation's capital, including: allowing stockpiling of
military-style weapons with high capacity ammunition magazines;
undermining federal anti-gun trafficking laws; prohibiting D.C. from
enacting common sense gun laws; and repealing common sense restrictions
on gun possession by dangerous or unqualified persons, registration
requirements for firearms, and all safe storage laws.
Last week, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
approved on a bipartisan vote a bill introduced by D.C. Congresswoman
Eleanor Holmes Norton, with an amendment by Representative Darrell
Issa. The Norton/Issa bill would require that D.C. comply with the
Supreme Court ruling. Now, both the NRA bill and the Norton/Issa
substitute bill are headed to the House floor for votes, perhaps as
early as today.
"If anyone is concerned about D.C.s compliance with the Heller Supreme
Court decision," said Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke, "the
Norton/Issa bill will require the city to do that. Anything beyond
Norton/Issa is just a misguided effort by the gun lobby to force its
extremist agenda on our nation's capital."
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As the nation's largest, non-partisan, grassroots organization leading the fight to prevent gun violence, the Brady Campaign, with its dedicated network of Million Mom March Chapters, works to enact and enforce sensible gun laws, regulations and public policies. The Brady Campaign is devoted to creating an America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in our communities.