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Departing Texas Republican Wants Firing Range In D.C., No Traffic Cameras

Stockman is leaving Congress after this session is over.
Stockman is leaving Congress after this session is over.

Though Congress is in the closing weeks of its current session, one departing Texas Republican has introduced a pair of last-ditch bills targeting the District of Columbia.

Last week, Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, introduced two bills that would apply to D.C.: One bill would require that a public firing range be opened within city limits, and the second would prohibit the city from using traffic cameras.

There are currently no public firing ranges in D.C., forcing gun-owners to travel to Maryland or Virginia to practice their aim. Congressional Republicans periodically introduce bills that seek to scrap the city's restrictive gun laws.

The traffic camera bill, co-introduced by Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, R-Mich., would withhold 10 percent of certain federal aid highway funds from any state or municipality using speed or red light cameras, while fully prohibiting the use of the cameras in D.C.

D.C.'s hundreds of speed and red light cameras issued over 666,000 tickets in 2013, totaling $88.8 million worth of fines. Proponents say they have helped slow drivers and create safer streets — they point to dropping revenue as proof that the cameras promote better driving — while critics say they entrap drivers and do little more than feed the city's budget.

In a statement, D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton criticized Stockman and Bentivolio — both of whom are leaving Congress — for the traffic camera bill.

“These two Members, on their way out of Congress, have turned their focus away from their own constituents. So, free from accountability to their own residents, they are making a last ditch attempt to secure a legacy on the backs of District of Columbia residents," she said.

Though D.C. is allowed to govern itself, Congress retains the authority to review and amend local laws, as well as introduce measures affecting the city.


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