Congress is taking up a bill to repeal Washington, D.C.’s gun-registration requirements and make it easier for residents to legally buy semiautomatic weapons, reports the Washington Post. The measure is raising alarm among city officials that the measure would effectively end local gun control. Chiefs of the D.C. police, the Capitol Police, the Secret Service, and other law enforcement agencies are expected to testify against the bill today. But it has won the backing of 48 Democrats, many facing reelection in strongly pro-gun areas, and is expected to pick up broad support among Republicans.
The legislation has four goals. Repeal the ban on semiautomatic pistols and rifles; eliminate the city’s gun-registration requirements; allow Washington residents to purchase guns in Virginia and Maryland; and abolish the regulation that guns kept at home be unloaded and either disassembled or fitted with trigger locks. “You could drive a truck through this language,” said Peter Nickles, acting D.C. attorney general. He noted that the bill would bar the D.C. government from passing laws that would “unduly burden” residents wanting to have or use firearms as long as they met federal requirements. Opponents fear that if the bill became law, people could carry loaded semiautomatic weapons or .50-caliber sniper rifles in the city. Supporters said such worries were wildly exaggerated.