Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio introduced a bill Thursday aimed at loosening the District of Columbia’s gun laws.
The Republican lawmakers’ bill, titled the Second Amendment Enforcement Act of 2015, states that D.C. “remains one of the most dangerous large cities in the United States.” The text states that D.C.’s regulations prevent citizens from protecting themselves against violent crime. “For years, the District of Columbia has infringed on its residents’ Second Amendment rights and rendered them vulnerable to criminals who could care less what the gun laws are,” Rubio said in a statement. “This legislation will finally allow D.C.’s law-abiding residents and visitors access to firearms for sporting or lawful defense of themselves and their homes, businesses and families.”
According to their release, the bill would “remove the authority of the D.C. Council to enact restrictive gun control measures;” allow D.C. residents to buy guns in Maryland and Virginia; repeal the District’s firearm registration system; create a permitting system for carrying concealed weapons; and allow “private entities and secure public buildings” to determine whether guns are allowed on their property.
“By rolling back unnecessary restrictions and protecting the rights of homeowners to protect themselves, this bill will make Washington, D.C., a safer place for law-abiding citizens, and will restore the original intent of the Second Amendment to our nation’s capital,” said Jordan, the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.
The bill marks the second time this month a Senate Republican eyeing a presidential run has introduced legislation targeting the District. On March 18, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, introduced two joint resolutions of disapproval to strike down two D.C. bills that he said violate religious freedom.
Rubio is also a potential presidential candidate, and his role in introducing the D.C. gun laws will likely provoke the ire of D.C. officials and residents, who argue Congress should not meddle in District affairs. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., had strong words for the Republicans in a statement issued Thursday afternoon.
“It should shock no one that Senator Rubio, who is widely expected to soon announce a run for President, would try to raise his national profile and conservative bona fides, but they should be shocked to hear that he would try to use our local jurisdiction and laws to violate his own support for the principle of local control,” Norton said. “Such bullying is not very presidential. It is particularly ironic, though, that Representative Jordan, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, whose mission it is to reduce the size of the federal government, would use the big foot of the federal government to interfere in the local affairs of a local government.”
Another likely presidential candidate has targeted D.C. gun laws in the past. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., worked to overturn D.C. gun laws in the 113th Congress through the amendment process, but was unsuccessful. Paul also supported Rep. Thomas Massie’s efforts to push an appropriations rider loosening D.C. gun laws, though the Kentucky Republican’s rider was not included in the final spending package.
D.C. Concealed Carry Fight Could Provoke Congress, Contempt of Court
D.C. Officials Plotting New Course to Keep Gun Control Intact (Updated)
Activists Ready to Fight Rand Paul’s D.C. Gun Amendment in Senate (Updated)
Scarce Prospects for Senate Shooting Down D.C. Gun Control
Thomas Massie Says D.C. Should Look at New Hampshire or Pennsylvania Gun Laws
The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress
Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.