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House urges D.C. to loosen gun laws for troops

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The House voted late Thursday to urge the District of Columbia to allow U.S. troops to carry personal firearms within the nation’s capital — and the city’s non-voting member of Congress is vowing a fight to try to block the move.

By voice vote the House passed the measure, which expresses the “sense of Congress” that active-duty military personnel who live or work in Washington should be exempt from the city’s strict gun-control laws. Rep. Phil Gingrey, a Georgia Republican, sponsored the amendment, which was attached to the annual defense policy bill.

But Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the city’s representative to Congress, said she’ll rally fellow Democrats who control the Senate to try to remove the language when the defense policy bill goes to that chamber.

“We will fight every attack on our rights as a local government, particularly when we are singled out for unique treatment,” she said.

She demanded to know why Mr. Gingrey didn’t offer a broader amendment that would apply nationwide, rather than just to the District.

The city has long had the most restrictive gun laws in the country, though a 2008 Supreme Court ruling did carve out some protections for legal gun owners.

The Washington Times reported this week on the case of Army National Guard Lt. Augustine Kim, who served two tours in Afghanistan and is preparing to deploy to Kosovo but who had his personal firearms collection confiscated by D.C. officials two years ago when he stopped in the city for a doctor’s appointment.

Charges against him were dropped, but the city has refused to return his firearms.

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