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Campus Notebook: Battle for Concealed Firearms in D.C. Stalls

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Rep. Louie Gohmert's amendment would have made it so state-licensed gun owners could also bring concealed weapons into the District, even though the it has no "concealed carry" laws.

"It is a good idea ... [but] if D.C. residents will not receive the same reciprocity as nonresidents, then the mechanism by which to achieve the goal needs to be reviewed," he said.

Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), another gun-rights supporter, agreed with Gowdy, though he took a more hard-line position with a "no" vote.

"What's good for the goose is good for the gander, but it seems here like the goose is getting a gun and the gander is getting cooked," he said.

Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) urged colleagues to vote against the amendment because he said it went beyond the scope of the underlying bill, which takes deference to states' rights.

"By requiring the District of Columbia — a jurisdiction that does not currently allow any concealed carry permits — to recognize the concealed carry permits of nonresidents is at odds with an important tenet of this bill," Smith said.

On Thursday evening, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) issued a statement praising the amendment's defeat.

"This amendment took disrespect of the District to a new low," Norton said.

Though she called it a "great victory," she said D.C. activists must remain on the lookout for potential infringements on home rule rights.

"Continued vigilance will be key," Norton said. "We have no illusions that the gun lobby will give up their efforts to overturn D.C.'s gun laws. They persist, even though two federal courts have upheld the constitutionality of D.C.'s revised gun laws."

She cited a bill introduced by Jordan and Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.) as one potential threat: If considered and passed, the measure would repeal D.C.'s current gun ban and allow all of its residents to carry concealed firearms. It currently has 166 co-sponsors, 24 of them Democrats.

And as far as Gohmert's future course of action is concerned, Norton and Zherka expect him to seek other avenues for advancing the amendment.

He did not reveal Friday what specifically his next steps might be.

He did, though, pledge he would not give up his "fight to give Second Amendment rights to the residents of the District of Columbia."

"You lose some battles," he continued, "but you keep pushing so ultimately you can have everyone in the country be entitled to exercise their rights under the Constitution."

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