Coalition Letter to Senate: Against Repeal of DC Gun Laws

July 14, 2005

United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator:
We are writing to express our strong opposition to S. 1082, a bill that would strip the District of Columbia’s voters and elected officials of the power to pass gun laws.

The citizens of the District of Columbia should have the power to decide by democratic means whether and how firearms are regulated in the city where they live. DC’s current gun laws were passed almost 30 years ago by an elected city council, and these laws continue to enjoy broad support among business executives, law enforcement officials, health care professionals, civic organizations, and ordinary citizens. When legislation to repeal DC’s gun
laws was introduced last year, it generated widespread opposition – and attracted virtually no support – among DC residents.

DC has made great strides in recent years, both in reducing violent crime and in encouraging people to establish businesses, buy homes, and build their lives in the city. The city’s finances are in order (it has an “A” rating from bond analysts), the homicide rate is down (by 55 percent over the past ten years), and commercial as well as residential real estate markets are booming.

The city has many challenges ahead, but its citizens and political leaders are working to build consensus and solve problems like any other municipality in the country – through vigorous debate, hard work, and participation in democratic political institutions. While some members of Congress might have different ideas about what’s good for the city, we believe the choices made by DC citizens and their elected representatives in local government should be entitled to respect.

The debate over S. 1082 is about democracy, not the Second Amendment. By denying the citizens of DC – who have no representation in Congress – the right to decide how best to protect public safety and reduce violent crime, this bill would violate basic American values, and we urge you to reject it.


Alliance for Justice
Americans for Democratic Action
American Jewish Committee
Anti-Defamation League
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
Break the Cycle Washington, DC
CeaseFire Maryland
Ceasefire NJ
Ceasefire PA
Children’s Defense Fund
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
Common Cause
Consumer Federation of America
DC Action for Children
DC Democracy Fund
DC Vote
The Episcopal Church, USA
Episcopal Diocese of Washington
Florida Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
Florida Consumer Action Network
Hoosiers Concerned About Gun Violence
Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence
Iowans for the Prevention of Gun Violence
Jewish Women International
The League of Women Voters of the United States
Legal Community Against Violence
Maine Citizens Against Handgun Violence
Michigan Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
National Black Police Association
National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW)
New Yorkers Against Gun Violence
North Carolinians Against Gun Violence Education Fund
Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence
Oregon Consumer League
Physicians for Social Responsibility
States United to Prevent Gun Violence
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
United States Conference of Mayors
Virginians Against Handgun Violence
Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort
Women Against Gun Violence (California)