DC Gun Laws are Bad but Congress' Power Over DC is Worse
Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and George Allen (R-VA) are the most recent members of Congress to try to repeal Washington, DC’s gun laws. The Senators think it’s wrong that they can’t so much as keep a handgun in their home.
They’re right that DC’s gun laws go too far and clearly violate the Second Amendment. While intended to protect residents and lower crime in a city all too familiar with murder, the gun laws go way beyond useful regulation. Simply put, they’re draconian.
But it is unconscionable that U.S. Senators would try to repeal the laws of a specific city. Under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, Congress does in fact have the authority to control the laws of the District of Columbia, but that provision is outdated and wrong. In fact, it is Congress’ power over DC that should be the focus of a repeal movement. No city should have to suffer the constant threat of Congress coming in and changing local law.
The residents of DC are the only American citizens denied representation in Congress but still forced to pay federal taxes. That in and of itself is a serious injustice that must be corrected. And that injustice is only worsened when Congress decides to exercise its control over the city by changing local laws.
If Senators Hutchison and Allen want to change DC law, they should vote in local elections like any other resident. Or they could run for city council. Or, if they were really brave, they could be arrested for owning a handgun and challenge the case in court on the grounds that the city is violating their Second Amendment rights. There are many democratic options open to them.
But abusing Congressional power to meddle is DC’s local affairs is just wrong.