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Norton fears new attack on D.C. gun restirctions

Thursday - 1/24/2013, 6:51am  ET

Amanda Iacone, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - A Georgia congressman who has challenged D.C. gun laws in the past wants to allow active duty military members to carry their firearms within the District, a move that Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton calls an attack on home rule.

Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey introduced a non-binding resolutionTuesday that says the highly trained members of America's service branches should be allowed "to exercise fully their rights under the Second Amendment."

"Unless these individuals are granted a waiver as serving in a law enforcement role, they are subject to the District of Columbia's onerous and highly restrictive laws on the possession of firearms," the resolution says.

The resolution, which would not carry the force of law if it passed, was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

In a statement, Norton says she fears the move signals that Republicans will try to weaken D.C. gun laws, which are considered among the toughest in the nation, as Congress considers gun legislation in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., massacre.

"Its introduction this early in the new Congress is an indication that Republicans plan to continue to attack D.C.'s gun safety laws at every opportunity. While I applaud Democrats for announcing that the Senate will consider legislation to prevent gun violence, the District of Columbia and its allies will need to prepare for a fight to protect D.C.'s gun safety laws," Norton says in the written statement.

In 2009, a D.C. voting rights bill was derailed because amendments were added that would have eliminated the District's gun restrictions, according to Norton's office.

According to a blog from Gingrey's office, Gingrey has authored or cosponsored 56 Second Amendment- related bills during his decade in office, including a D.C. military right-to- carry bill that passed the House last year.

Gingrey also says he filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the 2008 Supreme Court case that struck down the D.C. handgun ban and its requirements that rifles and shotguns be kept unloaded and disassembled.

"The right to bear arms is a constitutional guarantee that ensures law-abiding citizens the right to protect and defend themselves and their families," Gingrey says in his blog, posted in the wake of President Obama's announcement of executive actions he would take to address gun violence. "I will work with House Republicans to oppose the restrictions the president put forth. Safeguarding our Second Amendment rights is of paramount importance."

Gingrey, a doctor, made national headlines earlier this month when he defended former Rep. Todd Akin's comments that women's bodies can avoid pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape."

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WTOP's Mark Segraves contributed to this story. Follow @SegravesWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

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