Coalition Senate Letter Opposing HR 6842

(pdf version)

September 19, 2008

Dear Senator:

We urge you to reject H.R. 6842, the National Capital Security and Safety Act, because it violates democratic principles by stripping Washingtonians of their power to enact local gun laws.

This measure, amended on the House floor, attempts to fix a problem that no longer exists. The duly-elected DC government enacted emergency legislation on September 16 that significantly changes DC law by allowing people to own most semi-automatic firearms, keep them assembled and loaded in their homes, and substitutes a child safety provision for a previous provision that forced owners to keep firearms under locked storage. The DC Council is now considering permanent legislation that would codify the law they just passed.

H.R. 6842, as amended, creates serious threats to public safety and homeland security by: allowing dangerous persons to stockpile semiautomatic assault weapons with high capacity ammunition magazines in DC; undermining federal laws to curtail gun trafficking; and prohibiting DC from passing laws that could regulate gun possession or use, including even basic safe storage requirements or age limits for the possession of assault rifles.

A national poll conducted by KRC Research shows that 69 percent of Americans oppose Congress passing a law to eliminate Washington, DC’s local gun laws. Additionally, the poll showed that 60 percent of Americans also believe that Washington will become less safe if Congress takes that step.

We call on the Senate to allow Washingtonians to complete their local, democratic process when rewriting local gun laws. Other localities are going through this same legislative process. Congress should afford Washingtonians the same respect and deference it is showing to communities around the country.

Sincerely,

DC Vote
Alliance for Justice
Americans for Democratic Action
Anacostia Coordinating Council
Barney Circle Neighborhood Watch Association
Black Leadership Forum
Bread for the City
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
Common Cause
DC Action for Children
DC Appleseed Center for Law and Justice
District of Columbia Chamber of Commerce
DC Democratic State Committee
DC NAACP
DC Fiscal Policy Institute
Greater Washington Urban League
Jews United for Justice
League of Women Voters US
National Black Justice Coalition
National Urban League
National Council of Jewish Women
National Congress of Black Women, Inc
Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO
Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism
Progressive Democrats of America
Public Citizen