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Local officials are understandably pissed that a federal judge who does not reside in the District overturned a major provision of D.C. gun laws over the weekend. But there’s one elected official, who ostensibly thinks he represents the District, who’s actually quite happy with the ruling: Rep. Thomas Massie, a Republican of Kentucky.
Massie introduced an amendment to the financial services and general government appropriations bill this month that would bar D.C. from spending any of its money enforcing its gun laws. The House already passed his amendment. If it were to go into law—-which even Massie concedes is unlikely—-it would, like this court ruling, allow people to legally carry handguns in public.
Here’s what Massie’s office wrote in an email to City Desk in reaction to this weekend’s ruling:
I was very encouraged by Judge Scullin’s decision. In fact, his ruling strikes down a provision of the DC Firearms Registration Amendment Act of 2008, which I specifically referenced in the text of my successful amendment on July 16th. Clearly, Ms. Norton and the Mayor missed the mark when they asserted that my legislative effort to restore a fundamental human right was an overextension of congressional authority. Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 of the Constitution gives Congress the authority over DC legislative matters. But Judge Scullin, citing DC v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago, re-affirmed my assertion that the peoples’ right to keep and bear arms cannot be denied by any locality or state.
D.C. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton asked this afternoon whether Massie would now try to overturn the only remaining law that prevents people from carrying weapons into the U.S. Capitol building—-a federal law. This month, two people have been arrested trying to bring guns into U.S. Capitol office buildings.
“Thomas Massie, who abandoned his tea party principles of local control of local affairs when he offered his D.C. gun amendment, has said he wants to ‘restore gun rights anywhere I can,’” Norton said in a press release. “With two people arrested in the last two weeks for bringing guns into the Capitol complex, both of whom were charged under D.C.’s carry law, Representative Massie can no longer hide behind that D.C. law. The only thing standing between guns and the Capitol now is a federal law. Will Rep. Massie be consistent and finally try to overturn a law he has legitimate, direct jurisdiction over?”
Massie has not introduced legislation attempting to overturn the federal law.
Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0