Statement from Sen. Orrin Hatch regarding the the District of Columbia's Personal Pro


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shooterx10
July 17, 2003, 01:24 PM
Statement of Senator Orrin G. Hatch

(Editor's Note: The following is a floor statement from Sen. Orrin Hatch regarding the the District of Columbia's Personal Protection Act.)

FLOOR STATEMENT: THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PERSONAL PROTECTION ACT

Statement of Senator Orrin G. Hatch

before the United States Senate

"The District of Columbia Personal Protection Act"

Mr. President, I rise today to introduce the District of Columbia Personal Protection Act. This is an extremely important piece of legislation. Most importantly, this bill goes a long way toward restoring the constitutionally guaranteed right of Americans who reside in the District of Columbia to possess firearms.

Mr. President, it is no secret that the District of Columbia, our great Nation's Capital, suffers from the most startling violent crime rates in the country. It has the highest, the absolute highest, murder rate per capita in the country. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and despite the most stringent gun control laws in the country, in 8 out of the 9 years between 1994 and 2002, Washington, DC had the highest murder rate in the country. In fact, the results are in for 2002, and unfortunately they continue to paint a grim picture. Mr. President, the District of Columbia has again reclaimed its rather unenviable title as the "Murder Capital of the United States".

It is time, Mr. President, to restore the rights of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and to defend their families against murderous predators. All too often, we read in the paper about yet another vicious murder carried out against an innocent District of Columbia resident. Try to imagine the horror that the victim felt when he faced a gun-toting criminal and could not legally reach for a firearm to protect himself. We must act now to stop the carnage and put law-abiding citizens in a position to exercise their right to self defense. It is time to tell the citizens of the District of Columbia that the Second Amendment of the Constitution applies to them, and not only to their fellow Americans in the rest of the country. The District of Columbia Personal Protection Act would do exactly that.

Let me take a moment to highlight what this legislation would do. This bill would: (1) permit law-abiding citizens to possess handguns and rifles in their homes and businesses; (2) repeal the registration requirements for firearms and ammunition; (3) eliminate criminal penalties for possession and carrying of firearms in their homes and businesses; and (4) correct an erroneous provision which wrongly treats some firearms as if they were machineguns.

Over the years, Mr. President, I have heard over and over again from some of my friends on the other side of the aisle that the way you reduce violent, gun-related crime is by prohibiting the possession of firearms. Even if law-abiding citizens are prohibited from possessing firearms, my liberal friends argue, it is a small price to pay for safety and security.

Well, I want to take this opportunity to dispel these unfounded myths. These myths, I might add, are exposed as such by situations like we have today in the District of Columbia. I have said it before, but I will say it again, excessive regulation and the systematic erosion of the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment do not deter violent, gun-toting criminals. Enacting and vigorously enforcing stiff penalties for those that commit crimes with guns deters violent crime. Not only is this the proven and effective approach to reducing gun violence, it also preserves the constitutionally guaranteed rights of law-abiding men and women to own and possess firearms.

In fact, I recently held a hearing that examined the Administration's gun crime reduction initiative, Project Safe Neighborhoods. This initiative has been incredibly successful. It takes the precise approach that I have advocated - strict and vigorous enforcement of crimes committed with guns. It says to criminals, "If you use a gun during the commission of a crime, you will do very serious and very hard time." And it does so, Mr. President, without trampling on the rights of law-abiding American men and women.

Today, unfortunately but not surprisingly, the state of affairs in the District of Columbia has highlighted exactly what those of us who care deeply about the Second Amendment of the Constitution have always feared: murderous criminals possess firearms and are free to prey upon law-abiding citizens; and law-abiding citizens - precisely because they are law-abiding citizens- may not possess a firearm in their homes to protect themselves and their families.

Mr. President, the prohibition of firearms in the District of Columbia is as ineffective and deplorable as it is unconstitutional; it is high-time we rectify this wrong. I urge my colleagues to support this measure.

Here is the link. (http://www.townhall.com/news/politics/200307/CUL20030717a.shtml)

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papercut
July 17, 2003, 01:57 PM
:cuss: I actually contend that Hatch's bill is a bad thing. Here's why:

As some of you know, several residents of Washington, D.C. are currently suing in federal court to get the district's de-facto gun ban ruled unconstitutional. (AFAIK, there really isn't a ban. However, the district requires that all guns be registered, and they stopped accepting registrations back in 1970-somthing.)

One of the arguements of the gun-banners has been that the Supreme Court has never ruled that the 2nd Amendment is a personal right that the states must honor, as they have most of the other Bill of Rights amendments. (Note that this is a different arguement than the "2nd amendment only allows the states to keep arms" one.) One of the suppositions of this position is that it only means that the federal government cannot ban personal ownership of firearms, but the states can.

The lawsuit by the D.C. residents is perfect for that position, because D.C. is under direct federal rule (per the Constitution), and I think, if it makes it to the appeals level (and especially to the Supreme Court), then the courts will *have* to rule that the D.C. de-facto ban is a federal infringement on a personal right, and even the most wacked-out leftist would have to (over time) concede that if the federal government cannot infringe on that right, then neither should a state. In other words, the lawsuit is the perfect vehicle to settle the issue once and for all.

If Hatch's bill passes, the federal court would then rule that the plaintifs no longer have standing, and dismiss the case. This would, of course, get around the whole issue of having the courts rule on the 2nd at all, and a court ruling is what we really need.

For further reading:
"Repeal Of D.C. Gun Ban Urged," By Spencer S. Hsu and Arthur Santana
Washington Post Staff Writers; Thursday, July 17, 2003; Page A01
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A2789-2003Jul16.html?nav=hptop_tb

GregoryTech
July 17, 2003, 02:10 PM
If Hatch's bill passes, the federal court would then rule that the plaintifs no longer have standing, and dismiss the case. This would, of course, get around the whole issue of having the courts rule on the 2nd at all, and a court ruling is what we really need.

Have you seen what this court has done lately? Perhaps Hatch is trying to save the 2am by preventing this court from ruling on it.

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