WASHINGTON (AP) — A Kentucky congressman behind an amendment that would undo the District of Columbia’s strict gun control laws said Thursday he doesn’t think it will become law.
The GOP-controlled House on Wednesday approved Republican Rep. Thomas Massie’s amendment, which blocks the District from spending any money to enforce local gun laws. A day after he got the language in a spending bill, Massie said he suspects his amendment will not get through the Senate.
“I’m fairly confident that it will get killed by Harry Reid,” Massie said of the Senate majority leader, a Democrat.
Still, he called the amendment an opportunity for “an important vote” on gun rights.
“Regardless of where you are on this issue I think you deserve to know where your representative stands,” he said.
Twenty Democrats joined 221 Republicans in voting for the amendment, while four GOP lawmakers voted against it. Congress has the final say over the District’s local laws and budget.
District of Columbia lawmakers, meanwhile, said during a press conference on Capitol Hill that the amendment is dangerous. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat who represents the District in Congress but cannot vote on the House floor, said the amendment “presents a clear and present danger” to residents and tourists.
Mayor Vincent Gray said it was “shameful” the city must constantly fight attempts by Congress to involve itself in local affairs.
“We’re not a toy. We’re not a pawn,” he said.
The District of Columbia’s gun laws have changed in recent years. A 2008 Supreme Court decision struck down the city’s longstanding ban on handgun possession. A new law passed after the decision requires residents who want to own guns legally to be fingerprinted and photographed, register their guns every three years and complete a safety class.
Massie’s amendment would leave only federal gun control laws to govern the District.
The spending bill approved by the House on Wednesday also includes language that would reverse the city’s decision to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. That law went into effect Thursday. The fate of that amendment will likely depend on negotiations between the House, Senate and White House.
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