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McCain, Tester to Introduce New D.C. Gun Bill

Updated: 6:18 p.m.

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) plan to introduce legislation that will weaken Washington, D.C.’s stringent gun laws.

The Second Amendment Enforcement Act aims to change the District’s gun laws by repealing the city’s registration rules, amending federal law to allow D.C. residents to buy guns in Maryland and Virginia, while also allowing law-abiding Washingtonians to transport firearms in the District. The legislation would also alter city laws that recommend guns be kept unloaded and either unassembled or locked in homes.

“Some may ask why a Senator from Arizona and a Senator from Montana would introduce legislation that impacts the District of Columbia,” McCain said in a statement. “It’s simple — we believe that residents across this country should be able to exercise their constitutional right to have access [to] firearms to protect themselves.”

This news comes a week after House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) tabled the long-awaited D.C. voting rights legislation after news that a National Rifle Association-supported amendment that would change D.C’s laws would be attached. News of the gun legislation was met with outrage from city officials.

“This looks exactly like the bill that was going to be attached to the DCVRA last week,” D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) said. “It is this revised, over-the-top language that caused us to pull the DCVRA from the House floor schedule in the interest of protecting public safety, both in our neighborhoods and on federal property here.”

D.C. Councilmember Michael Brown echoed this sentiment, saying, “These continued attacks on the sovereignty of the District of Columbia must end and the only way to stop these intrusions is to obtain statehood for the District of Columbia.”

The legislation has the support of the NRA, which has vowed to do all that it can to overturn the District’s stringent laws.

“We’re hopeful that this legislation will move and that this serious problem will be addressed,” said Chris Cox, chief NRA lobbyist. “The D.C. City Council has willfully disregarded the intentions of our nation’s highest court, and we’re committed to restoring the right to self-defense for law-abiding residents of the districts by whatever legal or legislative means necessary.”

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