Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune issued the following statement after the Senate voted today by a margin of 62 to 36 to accept an amendment to the DC Voting Rights Bill (S. 160) offered by Senator John Ensign (R-NV) which would ensure that the District of Columbia abides by last year's Supreme Court ruling overturning the District's previous comprehensive handgun ban. Senator Thune is an original cosponsor of the amendment.

"The Supreme Court clearly ruled last year that the District of Columbia's gun ban was unconstitutional, and District officials promptly responded by passing new restrictions designed to circumvent the ruling," said Thune. "The District of Columbia has an extremely high violent crime rate, and its citizens are unable to legally defend themselves. I am proud the Senate acted to restore the constitutional right to residents of the District, which also sends a message to other communities with restrictive gun laws.

"However, I am dismayed that the Senate ultimately passed the so-called DC Voting Rights Bill. The underlying bill is clearly unconstitutional, and it is my expectation that the legislation will ultimately be struck down by the courts. Fortunately, the Ensign Amendment will remain law even if the underlying legislation is declared unconstitutional."

Senator Thune earlier this week offered his bipartisan stand-alone legislation, the Respecting States Rights' and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act (S.371), as an amendment to the DC Voting Rights Act. Senator Thune withdrew his bipartisan amendment because of objections to a recorded vote, but was able to get an explicit commitment from the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) that the bill would receive a hearing in this session of Congress.

The Senate passed the DC Voting Rights Act by a vote of 61 to 37. The bill will now be sent to the House of Representatives.

Video of Senator Thune's introduction of his concealed carry amendment on the Senate floor can be viewed below.