For Release: Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Bill Would Repeal DC Handgun Ban, Allow Semiautomatic 50 Caliber Sniper Rifles and Assault Rifles to be Carried Throughout City
Following today’s House vote to repeal the District of Columbia’s gun laws, the Violence Policy Center released the following statement from Legislative Director Kristen Rand:
Since its passage, repeal of the DC handgun ban has been the National Rifle Association’s Holy Grail. This effort is being undertaken without regard for the safety of DC residents or our national leaders. This bill not only repeals DC’s handgun ban, but also legalizes semiautomatic assault weapons and 50 caliber sniper rifles in the District of Columbia. One out of five police officers slain in the line of duty is killed with an assault weapon. Yet this bill legalizes the possession of all assault weapons in DC and even removes restrictions on armor-piercing ammunition. Under the bill, AK-47s and AR-15s can legally be carried on city streets or virtually any other place in the District. [The VPC has b-roll of examples of assault weapons that would be legalized under the legislation.]
The bill would also legalize the sale of semiautomatic 50 caliber sniper rifles. These guns are used by our troops in Iraq and are valued for their ability to destroy parked aircraft, bring down helicopters, and pierce light armor the type of armor used on armor-plated limousines. They are accurate up to a mile, roughly the distance from the West Front of the Capitol to the Smithsonian metro station. Under this measure, from DC, snipers could legally travel and position themselves to target and destroy passenger aircraft at National Airport. This measure gives its blessing to anyone who decides they want to take their loaded 50 caliber sniper rifle to the roof deck of their condominium or office buildingï¿½even if they live near a federal building or common motorcade route.
To think that at the same time that DC is being turned into a virtual fortress with vehicle checkpoints on public streets and cement barriers at every turn the House of Representatives has voted to allow handguns, assault weapons, and semiautomatic 50 caliber sniper rifles to be sold and transported throughout the city is sheer lunacy. If Congress truly believes the rhetoric used by proponents of the bill, then it should also repeal the ban on guns in the U.S. Capitol and Congressional office buildings.
The Violence Policy Center is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. Follow the VPC on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.