White House flack Josh Earnest announced on Friday that Congress should not interfere with the District of Columbia’s restrictions on gun ownership. Earnest was referring to a bill introduced by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) that would “roll back” the city’s current firearms restrictions.
“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.”
Josh, here’s what’s really important: the Constitution also grants exclusive jurisdiction of the District of the Columbia to Congress “in all cases whatsoever.” The 1973 Home Rule Act established a local government for the District of Columbia, but Congress still retains authority over that government and can revoke it at any time.
The WH’s Home Rule argument is certainly bizarre considering the White House has no problems summoning up federal control and involvement in situations where Congress has far less authority to intervene at the state and local level. Situations like voting rights, the Ferguson shooting and also the Florida case involving Trayvon Martin — all of those instances became big federal issues because the White House decided to make them big issues.
Perhaps the WH might respond that civil rights issues are federal issues — and I would respond that the Second Amendment to the Constitution is most certainly a federal issue.
The Second Amendment suddenly becomes an issue of federal overreach for this administration because they want restrictions on firearms. But the Supreme Court didn’t agree that D.C. can make whatever laws it wants in violation of the Constitution. In 2008, SCOTUS struck down restrictions for gun ownership in Washington, D.C.
Rubio made a statement on Thursday saying: “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.”