Mark Souder, declaring “the time is now for Congress to step in to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans” – at least those in Washington, D.C. – has decided to stick his nose into the Washington, D.C. gun battle. It isn’t enough for Souder that the Second Amendment has now been interpreted in a friendly way for gun enthusiasts and owners; Souder thinks that D.C. cannot manage its own regulations fast enough now that its laws have been struck down.

Souder recently introduced a gun bill co-sponsored by Mike Ross (D-Ark.) aimed at weakening D.C. laws before D.C. legislators have had a chance to enact legislation in line with the June Supreme court decision of Heller v. D.C. The Bill isn’t aimed at nationwide application, which would be understandable since Congress passes laws that impact the nation as a whole. Instead, the Bill is aimed specifically at D.C.

Souder apparently thought two months was long enough to get everything straightened out in D.C. But the Bill stalled in committee.

Not to be deterred, Souder has now introduced a discharge petition which would allow the measure to bypass House committees. His object is to force the Democratic majority to allow the full chamber to vote on it. Naturally, those in Washington, D.C. are upset, and rightly so.

I just have to ask, “Who does Souder think he is?” Would Souder sit quietly by while representatives from sister states introduced bills specifically aimed at addressing issues in Indiana? I think not. His arrogance when it comes to his self-image, his power, and his righteousness is staggering.

But, even if the Ross-Souder bill passes the House, there is no guarantee that it would become law. The bill probably would not make it through the Senate this year because they appear to be deadlocked. Perhaps by that time, D.C. will have modified its laws to suit Souder’s tastes.

Souder recently made a commercial in which he opines that he just doesn’t have time to campaign because is “too busy” taking care of his constituents here in the Third District. Perhaps he should mind his own business as well as the Third District’s business.

Photo Credit: Politicalbase


About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
This entry was posted in Congress, Government, Gun Control, Guns, Politics, Second Amendment, Third District, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


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  2. kent strock says:

    Obviously he has time to chat with the Fox “News” folks at WOWO. This is sad as a kid I grew up with WOWO and now…
    What is interesting is the Kelty folks who were so upset with him….

  3. xbradtc says:

    Perhaps the good Congressman has a better understanding of the US Constitution than you. From Section 8:

    To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States

    While the Congress may, and has, delegated the authority for the day to day administration of the District to “home rule”, it may not delegate its responsibility to do so. In effect, you are complaining that your Congressman is following the Constitution.

    As to the rapidity with which he has submitted proposed legislation to bring the District into compliance with Heller, what’s wrong with timeliness? The District has already proposed new regulations for firearms, the purpose of which is to place such a high bar that gun ownership remains impossible. This is hardly in keeping with the Court’s decision, and in fact, the District has been sued again for this willful disregard of Heller.

    Sounds to me like Representative Souder is in fact busy doing just what he is supposed to do.

  4. clint jenkins says:

    He is a United States Congressman! What better way to score points with the folks up in Northern Indiana “clinging to their guns and bibles”

  5. clint jenkins says:

    “His arrogance when it comes to his self-image, his power, and his righteousness is staggering.” I guess I dont understand the attack. There are no wolves in Indiana but you fight for them, telling the folks in Montana and other states how they can treat the wolves. He is actualy fighting for a human right and its his job. How does his opponent up there feel about guns?

  6. kent strock says:


    Doing what he is supposed to? You mean sponsoring meaningless crap so as to inflate his conservative point scale and get more political funding? Give me a break…what happened to less government and STATES RIGHTS. After the Kelty fiasco his integrity is finally being recognized even by blinded Republicans. Sorry he is DESPERATE. If it wasn’t for the Republican strangle hold…economic, journalistic and legal in DeKalb, Noble and Steuben county he would have had to actually honor his pledge to not serve too many terms. Help me here if his honor is tied to his promise to not serve more than 2 terms…

  7. Clint:

    I am not sure how Montagano – Souder’s opponent – feels. He does not have his opinions on his website, which is pretty irritating. I am a firm believer that politicians should put their positions out there as soon as possible.

    As to the wolves, I may fight for them, but I have no power to pass legislation. Our legislators do. Congressional legislation generally impacts actions or activities within the United States as a whole, not one particular entity such as the District of Columbia.

    The Endangered Species Act, for example, applies to species regardless of where they are, even though a species may inhabit a limited number of states. The Act does not single out one specific state with the legislation tailored to that state.

    For example, the Indiana Brown Bat is on the endangered species list at both the federal and the state levels; however, its habitat is limited. It is found within the central portion of the eastern United States, from Vermont to Wisconsin, Missouri and Arkansas and south and east to northwestern Florida. Its status protects the bat and does not focus on the states it inhabits.

    D.C. is unique in that it is a federal district with home rule given to its citizens to manage their on affairs. Although Congress has oversight, the District has been given, through delegation, the right to pass its own laws.

    What Souder is attempting to do is get legislation passed that impacts only Washington, D.C. The legislation has no validity outside D.C., thus it is being tailored to target only one location.

    I remember when our sister states of Michigan and Illinois disapproved of the BP permit process in Whiting. Congress passed a Resolution that disapproved of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s (IDEM) issuance of the permit that allowed increased discharge of ammonia and suspended solids into Lake Michigan.

    Souder was furious. But a Resolution is simply that – it has no teeth to force compliance and is simply a statement. Congress would not have dared pass legislation targeted at IDEM and its approval of the BP permit.

  8. Xbradtc:

    The “good” congressman usually interprets things the way he wants, and that includes the Constitution.

    As you noted, the District has been granted home rule which provides its citizens with some assurance of running their own affairs.

    You cited the provision of the Constitution that applies:

    “To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States.”

    But what you forgot to include was that the framers, long before Congress deigned to give the District control, envisioned that Congress would delegate some of its power to the District to handle its own affairs.

    James Madison stated in a discussion in Federalist #43 that, “a municipal legislature for local purposes, derived from their own suffrages, will of course be allowed them.” Thus, it was expected that Congress would delegate some control over the district’s affairs to its own citizens.

    The issue then becomes how much power was delegated to the Council on behalf of its residents? Under the “Home Rule” government, Congress reviews all legislation passed by the Council of the District of Columbia before it can become law and retains authority over the District’s budget.

    The gun laws that the Council of the District passed were set in place over 30 years ago. Why didn’t Congress just deny approval of the gun legislation in 1976 when it was passed?

    Perhaps it is as Clint Jenkins says – maybe Souder simply has latched onto an issue that he sees will enhance his standing in the Third District.

  9. xbradtc says:

    Or perhaps now that the Supreme Court has found the District’s prohibition unconstitutional, now is the time for the District to come into line with the Heller decision. Prior to that decision, there was no need for any congressional action, as there was no definitive standing that the district was wrong. What was OK in 1976 is not OK now.

    Since the District is now trying its best to avoid complying with the decision, why shouldn’t a Congressman propose legislature? And as I said, they delegated authority, but they cannot delegate their responsibility. If not Rep. Souder, who should propose legislation? Our Constitution is silent on which particular representative should initiate legislation for the District. So why not him. And if it improves his standing in the Third District, that is fine with me.

    Mr. Strock asks about states rights. Which state? The District is specifically not a state, and is in fact under the direct control of the Congress. How does this conflict with support for states rights. And while I may advocate for less government, I don’t advocate for NO government.

  10. Congress could have decided long ago to make decisions on D.C. gun laws. As you noted, and as is evident from the creation of the district, it is not a state. The 14th amendment, which has been used extensively to apply rights found in the Bill of Rights against the states, does not apply to D.C.

    I would argue the Second Amendment has applied to the District all along since that amendment was specifically aimed at the federal government. Thus, I believe Congress would have had the right to have modified or overturned the District’s laws in reference to guns since Congress had the right to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases.

    If the Second Amendment has applied all along to the federal district, as I believe it has, then what excuse did Congress have for not acting to modify the D.C. laws? To say that now all of a sudden Congress is taking an interest because of the Court’s decision is not accurate. Congress could have done so years ago and chose not to.

    The focus of past arguments dealing with the Second Amendment has been whether the right was an individual right or whether it was a collective right to be exercised as a part of a militia. In the Heller decision, the Court found an individual right that isn’t attached to residency in a state or in the District. The individual right attaches in whatever location the person may find him or herself. The distinction between the District and states no longer matters now since it has been found to be an individual right.

    It won’t improve Souder’s standing. He has said he is busy working on issues that affect the Third District. If anything at all, constituents might wonder why he is paying attention to D.C. and not to our district.

  11. xbradtc says:


    The Second Amendment always applied, of course, to the District. The Congress never addressed the local laws because it felt no need to, and there was in fact a reasonable argument that the District was within the limits of the Constitution. If there had been no question of that, there wouldn’t have been a need for Heller.

    And, if in the wake of Heller, the District hadn’t promptly proposed new regulation, the sole purpose of which was to make the possession of a firearm a practical impossibility, then Congress would have no need to further visit this topic. But the fact is that the District is acting in bad faith and in a manner designed to disregard the Supreme Court’s decision. That is what has prompted the Congress, in the person of Rep. Souder, to propose legislation. I suspect if it had been, say George Bush or Dick Cheney acting in such a manner, you might find this willful disregard somewhat more alarming.

    I hold no brief for or against Souder (other than being a Republican myself), but I don’t think a Representative acting to fulfill a specified duty of Congress is strong grounds to attack him on politically.

    As an aside, I would note that Heller doesn’t apply to the states (yet), but only to federal territory.

  12. Xbradtc:

    I guess what I find odd is that many individuals have chafed against the District’s laws over the three plus decades they have been in place. Why, if those laws caused so much discussion, didn’t Congress act?

    In reading the relevant constitutional paragraph, it doesn’t appear that Congress needed a reason to act. What on earth kept it from taking control of the situation? Laziness, ignorance, apathy?

    The Miller decision back in the late 30s was the last time any major discussion of the Second Amendment and its applicability was undertaken by the Court. The Court focused on the collective right vs. the individual right and the nature of the weapon that was being transported by the defendants.

    The Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment did not guarantee defendants the right to keep and transport a shotgun. The weapon was not part of any ordinary military equipment and its use did not contribute to the common defense. The Court found that there was no evidence that possession of a shotgun had any relationship to the preservation of a militia.

    In the Heller decision, the Court found an individual right as opposed to a collective right attendant to membership in a militia. But the Court also made it clear that it was not declaring all restrictions unconstitutional and gave several examples of what it thought might be appropriate controls.

    What will happen now will be attempts by states to fall in line with the decision. Existing and new regulations will be challenged and will end up in the appellate courts for resolution.

    Since no right in the Bill of Rights is absolute, the individual’s right to bear arms will be restricted. It is just a matter of how much and under what conditions.

  13. xbradtc says:

    In reading the relevant constitutional paragraph, it doesn’t appear that Congress needed a reason to act. What on earth kept it from taking control of the situation? Laziness, ignorance, apathy?

    That’s actaully a fair point, but as I said, there was a great deal of ambiguity over what was and wasn’t permissible pre Heller. That ambiguity has been removed by the decision, and the District has quickly moved to regulate weapons to an unreasonable degree so as to impose a de facto prohibition in lieu of the de jure prohibition. That act of bad faith is what has prompted Congress to step in. Had the District announced regulations that were not an obvious attempt to circumvent the ruling, there likely would have been no intervention by Congress.

    To pick a nit, Sullivan decided that particular shotgun was not a useful means of providing for the common defense, and not that shotguns in general were unsuitable or outside the protections of the Second Amendment. Otherwise, you’d see a lot fewer shotguns around. The prohibition on sawed-off shotguns, however (like the one in Sullivan) is likely to withstand challenge.

  14. xbradtc says:

    Hey Charlotte, with neighbors like this, don’t you think maybe the option of being armed isn’t so bad? (Slightly naughty, but more weird than anything else…)

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