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110th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     110-843

======================================================================



 
                NATIONAL CAPITAL SECURITY AND SAFETY ACT

                                _______
                                

 September 15, 2008.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Mr. Waxman, from the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 6842]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to whom was 
referred the bill (H.R. 6842) to require the District of 
Columbia to revise its laws regarding the use and possession of 
firearms as necessary to comply with the requirements of the 
decision of the Supreme Court in the case of District of 
Columbia v. Heller, in a manner that protects the security 
interests of the Federal government and the people who work in, 
reside in, or visit the District of Columbia and does not 
undermine the efforts of law enforcement, homeland security, 
and military officials to protect the Nation's Capital from 
crime and terrorism, having considered the same, report 
favorably thereon with amendments and recommend that the bill 
as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     2
Legislative History..............................................     4
Section-by-Section...............................................     4
Explanation of Amendments........................................     5
Committee Consideration..........................................     5
Roll Call Votes..................................................     6
Application of Law to the Legislative Branch.....................     7
Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the 
  Committee......................................................     7
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............     7
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................     7
Federal Advisory Committee Act...................................     7
Unfunded Mandates Statement......................................     7
Earmark Identification...........................................     7
Committee Estimate...............................................     8
Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate...     8
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     9
Additional Views.................................................    10

    The amendments are as follows:
    Amend section 3 to read as follows:

SEC. 3. REVISION OF DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FIREARMS LAWS.

  (a) Requiring District to Revise Laws.--Not later than 180 days after 
the date of the enactment of this Act, the District of Columbia shall 
revise the laws and regulations of the District of Columbia which 
govern the use and possession of firearms, as necessary to comply with 
the requirements of the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of 
District of Columbia v. Heller.
  (b) Conforming Amendment to Local Law.--Title VII of the Firearms 
Control Regulations Act of 1975 (sec. 7--2507.01 et seq., D.C. Official 
Code) is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

``SEC. 712. CONSISTENCY WITH FEDERAL REQUIREMENTS.

  ``The Mayor and the Council shall ensure that this Act and the 
regulations promulgated to carry out this Act are consistent with the 
requirements of the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of 
District of Columbia v. Heller.''.

    Amend the title so as to read:

    A bill to require the District of Columbia to revise its 
laws regarding the use and possession of firearms as necessary 
to comply with the requirements of the decision of the Supreme 
Court in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller.

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 6842, the National Capital Security and Safety Act, 
was introduced by Reps. Eleanor Holmes Norton and Henry A. 
Waxman on September 9, 2008. The purpose of H.R. 6842 is to 
require the District of Columbia to revise its laws, as 
necessary, in order to ensure they are consistent with the 
Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\ District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S.Ct. 2783 (2008).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    It is unlawful under the District of Columbia Code to carry 
an unregistered firearm.\2\ Prior to District of Columbia v. 
Heller, pistols were not allowed to be registered except in 
narrow instances.\3\ The Code defined a pistol as ``any firearm 
originally designed to be fired by use of a single hand.'' \4\ 
The District of Columbia Code required residents to keep any 
firearm unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock 
unless it was located in a place of business or was being used 
for lawful recreational activities within the District of 
Columbia.\5\ It was also unlawful to carry a pistol in the 
District without a license,\6\ though the Chief of Police could 
issue a license for up to one year ``if it appears that the 
applicant has good reason to fear injury to his or her person 
or property.'' \7\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\ D.C. Code Sec. 7-2502.01(a).
    \3\ D.C. Code Sec. 7-2502.02.
    \4\ D.C. Code Sec. 7-2501.01(12).
    \5\ D.C. Code Sec. 7-2507.02.
    \6\ D.C. Code Sec. 22-4504(a).
    \7\ D.C. Code Sec. 22-4506.12.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Dick Heller, a resident of the District of Columbia, 
challenged the District's handgun ban after the District denied 
his application to register a handgun he planned to keep at his 
home. The Supreme Court held in a 5-4 decision that the 
District's ban on handgun possession and the District's 
requirement that firearms in the home be kept unloaded or 
locked at all times violate the Second Amendment. The Court 
found that an absolute prohibition on handguns held and used 
for self-defense in the home is unconstitutional.
    The Court found that ``[l]ike most rights, the right 
secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.'' \8\ Heller 
listed categories of restrictions that the Court found 
presumptively lawful but clarified that the list was not 
exhaustive. These included prohibitions on the possession of 
firearms by felons and the mentally ill, laws forbidding the 
carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and 
government buildings, and laws imposing conditions and 
qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.\9\ The Court 
also recognized that the Second Amendment does not protect 
``those weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens 
for lawful purposes.'' \10\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\ District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S.Ct. 2783, 2816 (2008).
    \9\ Id. at 2816-2817.
    \10\ Id. at 2815-2816, citing United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 
(1939).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The District's prohibition on carrying a handgun without a 
license was not addressed directly by the Court but the Court 
pointed to a concession by Heller that the District's law is 
``permissible so long as it is `not enforced in an arbitrary 
and capricious manner.' '' \11\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \11\ Id. at 2819.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Court focused on the ability to use handguns for self-
defense in the home. The Court held that the District's 
requirement that a firearm in the home be kept disassembled or 
bound by a trigger lock at all times was unconstitutional 
because it would make it impossible to use the gun for self-
defense. However, the Court indicated that some laws regulating 
the safe storage of firearms would be permissible.\12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \12\ ``Nor, corespondingly, does our analysis suggest the 
invalidity of laws regulating the storage of firearms to prevent 
accidents.'' Id. at 2820.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    On July 15, 2008, the D.C. City Council passed, and the 
Mayor signed, temporary legislation allowing District residents 
to possess pistols in their homes if such pistols are 
registered.\13\ In addition, such pistols are required to be 
kept unloaded, disassembled, or secured by a trigger lock 
except while being used ``to protect against a reasonably 
perceived threat of immediate harm to a person within the 
registrant's home.'' \14\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \13\ The Firearms Control Emergency Amendment Act of 2008, amending 
D.C. Code Sec. Sec. 7.2502.02, 7.2502.03, and 7-2507.02.
    \14\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The D.C. City Council is expected to make changes to this 
temporary measure. On September 18, 2008, and October 1, 2008, 
the City Council is expected to hold public hearings on the 
issue of District gun laws. Soon thereafter, the City Council 
is expected to pass permanent changes to District gun laws.
    On July 31, 2008, a little over one month after the Supreme 
Court's decision in the Heller case, H.R. 6691 was introduced. 
H.R. 6691 is substantially similar to H.R. 1399, a bill 
introduced earlier in the 110th Congress prior to the Heller 
decision.
    The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a 
hearing on September 9, 2008, to examine legislative proposals 
related to the District of Columbia's firearms laws. The 
hearing examined the changes proposed by the bills and how 
these changes would impact the ability of law enforcement and 
homeland security agencies to fulfill their responsibilities.
    Witnesses testified that the District of Columbia's 
concentration of federal buildings including the White House, 
national monuments, and the Capitol, and the high-profile 
officials and dignitaries that live, work, and visit the 
District, make it a ``highly attractive target'' for foreign 
and domestic terrorists.\15\ District of Columbia Police Chief 
Cathy Lanier testified that a unique challenge for the District 
is the volume of motorcades that travel around the city every 
day. The President, Vice President, and the thousands of 
foreign dignitaries that visit each year move about the city in 
motorcades that do not have the benefit of the route closures 
performed when presidential and vice presidential motorcades 
travel outside of the District. The District also hosts 
numerous high profile events, including presidential 
inaugurations. Chief Lanier testified she had ``grave 
concerns'' about H.R. 6691. She also stated, ``providing easy 
access to deadly semiautomatic firearms and high capacity 
ammunition clips and allowing them to be carried in a large 
number of places outside the home will make this job much more 
dangerous and difficult.'' \16\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \15\ House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Impact of 
Proposed Legislation on the District of Columbia's Gun Laws, 110th 
Cong. (Sept. 9, 2008).
    \16\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                          Legislative History

    The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a 
hearing on September 9, 2008, titled, ``Impact of Proposed 
Legislation on the District of Columbia's Gun Laws.'' Witnesses 
included Cathy Lanier, Chief of the District of Columbia Police 
Department, Phillip Morse, Chief of the United States Capitol 
Police, Kevin Hay, Deputy Chief of the United States Park 
Police, and Robert Campbell, Director of Security for the 
Washington Nationals Baseball Club.
    H.R. 6842, the National Capital Security and Safety Act, 
was introduced by Reps. Eleanor Holmes Norton and Henry A. 
Waxman on September 9, 2008, and referred to the Committee on 
Oversight and Government Reform.
    On September 10, 2008, the Committee held a business 
meeting to consider H.R. 6842 and ordered the bill to be 
favorably reported by a vote of 21-1.

                           Section-by-Section


Section 1: Short title

    This section provides that the short title of the bill is 
the ``National Capital Security and Safety Act.''

Section 2: Findings

    This section includes findings of Congress. Some of these 
findings include that the District of Columbia is a local self-
governing jurisdiction and the seat of the United States 
government, with unique federal responsibilities; the 
President, the Vice President, and many cabinet and other 
federal officials reside in the District of Columbia; and 
unregulated firearms in the capital would preclude the ability 
of the Metropolitan Police Department to track guns through 
registration and otherwise to help ensure that guns do not 
endanger federal officials and employees, visiting dignitaries, 
and other individuals.

Section 3: Revision of District of Columbia firearms laws

    This section requires the District of Columbia, within six 
months after enactment, to revise its laws governing the 
possession and use of firearms as necessary to comply with the 
decision of the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. 
Heller. This section amends the Firearms Control Regulations 
Act of 1975 by adding a new section requiring the Mayor and the 
Council of the District of Columbia to ensure that the 
District's firearms laws are consistent with Heller.

                       Explanation of Amendments

    Rep. Issa offered an amendment to strike the language in 
the bill as introduced that would have required that revisions 
to the District of Columbia's firearms laws be based on 
specific criteria including the need to ensure the safety and 
security of the capital, including federal buildings, federal 
employees, and District residents and visitors, the need to 
ensure that the revisions will not interfere with the 
operations of federal and local law enforcement officials, and 
the need to ensure that the revisions will not compromise the 
ability of local and federal homeland security and military 
officials to carry out their duties to protect the capital from 
terrorism.
    Under the Issa amendment, the District is not prohibited 
from considering these criteria but the District is not 
required to do so. The Issa amendment was adopted by voice 
vote.

                        Committee Consideration

    On Wednesday, September 10, 2008, the Committee met in open 
session and ordered H.R. 6842 to be favorably reported to the 
House by a vote of 21-1.


              Application of Law to the Legislative Branch

    Section 102(b)(3) of P.L. 104-1 requires a description of 
the application of this bill to the legislative branch where 
the bill relates to terms and conditions of employment or 
access to public services and accommodations. H.R. 6842 
concerns the laws of the District of Columbia related to 
firearm possession and use and therefore does not apply to the 
legislative branch.

  Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the Committee

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause 
2(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives, 
the Committee's oversight findings and recommendations are 
reflected in the descriptive portions of this report, including 
the need for the District of Columbia to amend its laws to 
comply with the recent decision of the Supreme Court in 
District of Columbia v. Heller.

         Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives

    In accordance with clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee's performance 
goals and objectives are reflected in the descriptive portions 
of this report, including requiring the District of Columbia to 
revise its laws to ensure they are consistent with the Supreme 
Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Under clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House 
of Representatives, the Committee must include a statement 
citing the specific powers granted to Congress to enact the law 
proposed by H.R. 6842. Article I, Section 8, Clause 18 of the 
Constitution of the United States grants the Congress the power 
to enact this law.

                     Federal Advisory Committee Act

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not establish 
or authorize the establishment of an advisory committee within 
the definition of 5 U.S.C. App., Section 5(b).

                      Unfunded Mandates Statement

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
Control Act (as amended by Section 101(a)(2) of the Unfunded 
Mandates Reform Act, P.L. 104-4) requires a statement on 
whether the provisions of the report include unfunded mandates. 
In compliance with this requirement the Committee has received 
a letter from the Congressional Budget Office included herein.

                         Earmark Identification

    H.R. 6842 does not include any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9(d), 9(e), or 9(f) of rule XXI.

                           Committee Estimate

    Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires an estimate and a comparison by the 
Committee of the costs that would be incurred in carrying out 
H.R. 6842. However, clause 3(d)(3)(B) of that rule provides 
that this requirement does not apply when the Committee has 
included in its report a timely submitted cost estimate of the 
bill prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act.

     Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and with respect 
to requirements of clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives and section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has received 
the following cost estimate for H.R. 6842 from the Director of 
the Congressional Budget Office:

                                                September 11, 2008.
Hon. Henry A. Waxman,
Chairman, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 6842, the National 
Capital Security and Safety Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Matthew 
Pickford.
            Sincerely,
                                                   Peter R. Orszag.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 6842--National Capital Security and Safety Act

    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 6842 would have no effect 
on the federal budget. H.R. 6842 would require the District of 
Columbia to revise its firearms laws, as necessary, to ensure 
they are consistent with the Supreme Court decision in District 
of Columbia v. Heller.
    The requirement imposed on the District of Columbia would 
be an intergovernmental mandate as defined in the Unfunded 
Mandates Reform Act (UMRA). CBO estimates that the cost to 
change those laws would be negligible and would not exceed the 
annual threshold for intergovernmental mandates ($68 million in 
2008, adjusted annually for inflation).
    The legislation contains no private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA.
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Matthew 
Pickford (for federal costs), and Elizabeth Cove (for the state 
and local impact). This estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (new matter is 
printed in italic and existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

                FIREARMS CONTROL REGULATIONS ACT OF 1975



           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
TITLE VII--MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 712. CONSISTENCY WITH FEDERAL REQUIREMENTS.

  The Mayor and the Council shall ensure that this Act and the 
regulations promulgated to carry out this Act are consistent 
with the requirements of the decision of the Supreme Court in 
the case of District of Columbia v. Heller.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

    This is an ``Alice in Wonderland'' moment for the 
Committee--and it just gets ``curiouser and curiouser.'' We've 
been taken down a rabbit hole and through the looking glass by 
the Democratic Majority. This Cheshire Cat of a bill is about 
to disappear except for its grin. Take a quick look at H.R. 
6842--because it won't be around for long!
    We have asked repeatedly: why we are doing this now? The 
Republican Minority has been made a spectator in a convoluted 
drama with more characters than a Russian novel.
    Neither ``gun control'' nor ``home rule'' is a defined 
term. Each may mean different things to different people at 
different times--depending on the issue at hand and the 
underlying facts of a particular situation. But it does not 
appear we are going through this exercise because of either 
home rule or guns--but rather to provide political cover to 
some Democrats who want to cast a certain vote on the House 
floor before the November elections.
    I found the hearing on H.R. 6691--the ``Second Amendment 
Enforcement Act'' which was introduced by 48 Democrats and 5 
Republicans--to be somewhat bizarre and, for the most part, 
unhelpful. Ostensibly, the purpose of the hearing was to gauge 
the impact of changing the District of Columbia's gun laws. But 
we heard from only one District official who actually might be 
affected--the Chief of Police.
    Not one locally elected official was present to describe 
the process of amending and enforcing a constitutional gun law; 
not one constitutional expert was called to testify on the 
parameters of the Heller ruling and how it directs the District 
in formulating public safety policies; and not one advocate for 
the Second Amendment was asked to articulate how those rights 
should conform to increased community security. We did hear 
numerous tales of woe and implausible horror stories about 
loaded Uzis at the Inaugural Parade--as if a potential 
terrorist or criminal would first register a weapon.
    We also never heard from the Majority--which controls the 
agenda and called the hearing for a forum to decry H.R. 6691 as 
``threat''--that H.R. 6691 was introduced by 48 Democrats (and 
5 Republicans) some of whom sit on this Committee. And if the 
bill is such a threat to security, why is the House Democratic 
Leadership--which controls the House floor agenda--setting the 
stage for passage of the legislation?
    The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled the 
District of Columbia has been denying its residents protections 
guaranteed by the Bill of Rights--and no amount of hyperbole, 
hypotheticals, or political blind spots on the part of the 
Majority can get around this fact. Something must be done.
    I continue to believe Delegate Norton's basic approach has 
merit. But Republican members have become bit players in a 
blockbuster movie produced and directed by the Democratic 
majority. H.R. 6691 will come before the House no matter the 
action taken by this Committee.
                                                         Tom Davis.