WH: Congress shouldn’t interfere in DC gun laws


The White House said Friday that Congress should not interfere with the District of Columbia’s gun laws in response to a Republican proposal to roll back the city’s restrictions on gun ownership.

“Gun laws that are made by the District of Columbia should be made by the District government,” press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters. “Home rule is important.”

A bill, introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), would make it easier to purchase and carry a firearm in the nation’s capital, which has some of the strictest gun laws in the country.

The proposal is at odds with President Obama’s goal of enacting nationwide gun-control measures.

The legislation would limit the District government’s ability to restrict firearm ownership, eliminate the city’s gun registry system, and allow concealed carry permits. The National Rifle Association has endorsed the proposal.

“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, a potential presidential candidate in 2016, said in a statement Thursday.  

Earnest stopped short of issuing a veto threat, saying the White House has not had a chance to review the bill.

He said President Obama supports “measures that would prevent individuals who shouldn’t be able to obtain a gun to be able to get one, while at the same time making sure that he is protecting the Second Amendment rights of law abiding Americans.”

The lack of progress on gun-control legislation on the federal level has been “a source of some disappointment here at the White House,” Earnest added.

The Supreme Court in 2008 struck down prohibitions on firearm ownership in the District. The Republican proposal would eliminate many remaining barriers to purchasing and carrying firearms in the city.

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