Outgoing Rep. Steve Stockman is trying to leave his mark on Washington residents before he heads back to Texas by using his seat in Congress to intervene in local policy on guns and traffic.
With a handful of weeks left in his term, the Republican introduced bills to mandate a public firearm range in the District of Columbia and prohibit the city from using automated speed and traffic cameras.
Stockman’s gun legislation comes about a month after the city enacted a system to begin issuing concealed carry permits , in response to a federal judge’s ruling. The July 26 order briefly wiped D.C.’s ban on carrying handguns from the books, something Republicans on Capitol Hill tried to do over the summer with an appropriations rider. The D.C. Council is putting the finishing touches on a more permanent solution that would maintain strict gun control standards.
Stockman’s traffic camera proposal is similar to that by another short-timer in Congress: Michigan Republican Kerry Bentivolio, a freshman heading home at the end of this session. Bentivolio sought co-sponsors for a similar bill last year, but it was never introduced. Stockman’s proposal is more broad. In addition to targeting the District, it would cut certain federal highway funds from any state or local government that uses automated traffic enforcement systems.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., caught wind of Stockman’s attempt to curtail traffic cameras and accused both Republicans of bullying the District.
“These two Members, on their way out of Congress, have turned their focus away from their own constituents,” Norton said in a statement. “So, free from accountability to their own residents, they are making a last ditch attempt to secure a legacy on the backs of District of Columbia residents.”
Stockman did not respond to requests for comment about the legislation.
Stockman might still be seeing more of D.C. than he would like. He and three of his staffers were recently subpoenaed by a federal grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Stockman has been under scrutiny for campaign contributions from his staff.
Correction: This story has been updated to accurately state that District law banned the carrying of handguns in public, after the Heller vs. DC ruling in 2008.
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