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D.C.'s Gun Woes

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Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican and Mike Ross, an Arkansas Democrat, have teamed together to again present the ''Second Amendment Enforcement Act''. Many say it's a mirror image of what was introduced last year. The goal is to ease the burden for DC residents who wish to own firearms. Due to countless obstacles, the bill never passed. It would have ''repealed the D.C. semiautomatic gun ban, restore the right of self defense in the home, authorize DC residents to purchase firearms and ammunition, repeal overly-restrictive registration requirements and ensure that firearms may be transported and carried for legitimate purposes''.

If this latest effort is allowed to move forward, residents would have far fewer obstacles should they decide to purchase guns within the city. Interestingly, a full 80% of those residents believed controlling ownership takes precedence over Constitutional rights. During the time of the poll, taken in early 2008, those same residents approved the then-current gun laws, which prohibited handgun ownership. That said, seven months later, when it became legal for DC residents to own handguns (for the first time in four decades) close to 1,500 permits were issued.


The National Rifle Association supports these latest efforts. Chris Cox, the top lobbyist for the NRA says the high fees and ''almost insurmountable mountain of red tape put into place by the DC mayor and city council makes it near impossible for the average DC resident to have a firearm in their home to defend themselves.''

According to the Violence Policy Center, the mid-Atlantic region, which includes the DC area, has the highest percentage of folks who want a law that bans the possession of handguns. More than 50% say they support such a law. By contrast, the southeast region of the U.S. ranks lowest. Only 27% support such a ban. Further, only 11% of people along the mid-Atlantic region own a gun while again, the southeast region ranks highest at just below 29%. These numbers reveal the divide on this important issue.

Eleanor Homes Norton, a Democrat district delegate, said today, ''They underestimate our residents if they think this city will tolerate autocratic rule from Congress any more than the Jordan and Ross districts would tolerate dictatorship from Congress on local matters.

And so the debate continues.


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