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Campus Notebook: Texas Gunslinger

The Senate on Thursday rejected legislation overwhelmingly passed by the House that would allow Congress to regulate guns in the District of Columbia.

[IMGCAP(1)]Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) moved to have the legislation passed by unanimous consent, but Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) objected, saying the D.C. Council should have the right to create its own gun regulations.

The bill would permit relatively unrestricted gun regulations in Washington, including on assault rifles such as AK-47s, and loosen many of the gun safety measures enacted in emergency legislation by the council earlier this summer. The bill is supported by the National Rifle Association, and they say they don’t intend to let it die.

“We’re not giving up,” NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said. “What we’re going to try and do is call on the leadership of the Senate to pass this critical piece of legislation in the 110th” Congress.

After the Supreme Court’s June 26 ruling that lifted the District’s 32-year-old handgun ban, the council passed emergency legislation that gun advocates claimed was still far too restrictive. D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) has lambasted the House bill from the start, saying Congress is interfering in a District matter.

“The people in this town deserve a voice in their own future,” Durbin said on the floor. “To have the chance that Del. Norton has asked for — only six months to implement this — is not unreasonable.”

Hutchison fired back that it is Congress’ responsibility to ensure that Washingtonians are granted their constitutional rights.

It is unlikely that the legislation will pass the Senate before the target adjournment date.

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