WASHINGTON – Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) “exploited” the ballfield shooting that seriously injured House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and four others by introducing gun legislation shortly after June’s rampage that would force the District of Columbia to recognize out-of-district concealed carry permits for firearms, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said today.
Norton joined D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser in an annual event on Capitol Hill condemning congressional interference with local laws in D.C. While touching on laws that concern marijuana, abortion and budget autonomy, the congresswoman accused lawmakers of using D.C. as “political fodder,” given that it’s a progressive district at the forefront of radical shifts on various national issues.
Massie, chairman of the Congressional Second Amendment Caucus, introduced the D.C. Personal Protection Reciprocity Act the day after 66-year-old James Hodgkinson opened fire during a GOP practice session for the annual congressional baseball game between Republicans and Democrats. Hodgkinson, the shooting’s only fatality, died as three U.S. Capitol Police officers fired back. Massie later reasoned that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
Along with Massie’s legislation, Norton condemned two other bills – H.R. 1537 and S. 162 – which together would remove an assault weapons and large capacity magazine ban in D.C., as well as limit registration requirements and bar the district from passing future gun laws.
“The District of Columbia will simply not tolerate interference with its local laws,” Norton said.
Norton and Bowser also expressed concerns about legislation included in the House’s fiscal 2018 D.C. Appropriations bill, which the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee passed. They raised objections against a rider that bars D.C. from spending local money on marijuana commercialization, another measure that repeals D.C.’s budget autonomy referendum and one more that prohibits D.C. from spending local funds on abortion services for low-income women.
Norton noted that a number of organizations that appeared at Monday’s press conference – including NARAL, the Marijuana Policy Project and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence – helped prevent 26 congressional attempts in the 114th session to supersede D.C. laws. She vowed that the group will continue the fight until Congress agrees to drop such legislation or until D.C. is granted statehood.
Bowser said that D.C., which includes 670,000 residents who churn out about $25 billion in federal taxes annually and pay more per capita than 22 states, should carry the rights of every other American citizen. She boasted of 23 consecutive balanced budgets, calling D.C. a good government “run effectively.” The congressional riders, included every year in the appropriations process, don’t make D.C. any better and only serve as a reminder of D.C. residents’ limited citizenship, she said.
There is one area the D.C. mayor said that Congress should allow federal contributions: the city’s Metro system, a 117-mile network that carries about 750,000 riders daily and has long been criticized for its safety and efficiency records.
“We think that the federal government needs to pay its fair share,” Bowser said, noting that a Yellow Line Metro bridge that runs over the Potomac River is in need of $200 million in work. That bridge, she said, is owned by the National Park Service. “We want to tell the Congress to mind their business, but there’s certainly federal business that they can take care of.”
She called on lawmakers and residents to “preserve and protect” D.C. values to ensure that “Washingtonians, taxpaying residents that we are, have every right that every American does.”