The Supreme Court on June 28 struck down Chicago, Ill.’s strict anti-handgun legislation, but D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton said the decision in fact sanctions Washington D.C.’s new and revised gun laws, created after the same court struck down the city’s more restrictive gun ban two years ago.
The nation’s highest court struck down a gun ban in D.C. in 2008, leading to the revised gun laws currently on the books. But those new regulations themselves are the target of a new bill, written by members of Congress, which would further loosen gun restrictions in the District.
The Supreme Court’s decision against the Chicago ban better defines the constitutional limits of gun restrictions. Norton said, such limits she believes cover the capital’s current laws. She said the court’s decision, widely seen as pro-gun, in fact provides support for Washington, D.C.’s current gun laws, which have been upheld in federal court.
“The Supreme Court’s decision does nothing to support the arguments made by the National Rifle Association and others to justify the stand-alone D.C. gun bill pending in the House and Senate,” Norton said in a statement on her Web site. “Instead, the Supreme Court reaffirmed that gun safety regulations are constitutional I believe that the ruling encompasses D.C.’s revised gun laws.”
The new bill would legalize the possession of handguns, semi-automatic assault weapons and armor-piercing bullets in the District. The bill also repeals registration requirements for firearms and ammunition, removes criminal penalties for possessing unregistered weapons and allows residents to have loaded firearms in their homes.
A CBS News poll conducted this past spring found that in an average year more than 100,000 Americans are shot by guns, resulting in more than 30,000 deaths. The poll also found that support for stricter gun controls had sharply declined in the last two decades, falling from 59 percent in 1994 to 40 percent in April 2010.