Congress May Act to Enforce the D.C. v. Heller Gun Rights

Published by the Author on July 14, 2008 at 2:00 am > Gun Related News > Congress May Act to Enforce the D.C. v. Heller Gun Rights

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling that handgun ownership is an individual right, city officials in Washington, D.C. have been planning to obstruct D.C. citizens from exercising their right to keep and bear arms, despite the Supreme Court’s clear statements.  These plans included banning ordinary semiautomatic pistols by incorrectly defining them as “machine gun,” which is a definition that hard to propose with a straight face.  Thankfully, Congress may act to ensure the Supreme Court’s ruling is promptly followed by the District of Columbia:

As the NRA reports,

Representative Mark Souder (R-Ind.) introduced H. Res. 1331, a rule to govern House consideration of a modified version of H.R. 1399–the “District of Columbia Personal Protection Act.”

H.R. 1399 was introduced in March of 2007 and has 247 cosponsors.  (For more information on H.R. 1399 and on its Senate companion bill, S. 1001 by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), please go to This rule (H. Res. 1331) would force House consideration of H.R. 1399 if activated by a discharge petition, which will require 218 congressional signatures. It would provide for speedy consideration of legislation to enforce the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller by repealing the provisions of the D.C. Code that were at issue in that case, and by preventing the District from enacting new and burdensome restrictions on its residents’ Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

Among other things, H. Res. 1331 includes provisions that would repeal D.C.’s ban on many semi-automatic firearms, and repeal the District’s firearm registration system, as in H.R. 1399. It would also reduce the District’s burdensome restrictions on ammunition, and repeal the District’s unique law that allows manufacturers of certain types of guns to “be held strictly liable in tort, without regard to fault or proof of defect,” for injuries caused with those guns. D.C. has used this law to bring suits against the firearms industry, but those suits have now been blocked by the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.”

Please contact your U.S. Representative at (202) 225-3121, and urge him or her to press Congressional leadership to bring H.R. 1399 to the House floor.

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