Biden admin urges court not to allow guns on DC Metro trains

The Biden administration on Friday urged a Washington, D.C., court to uphold the District’s ban on carrying handguns on its Metro trains. 

The administration filed a statement of interest, which is meant to declare the country’s interests in a federal court case, to oppose a lawsuit four individuals filed to block D.C.’s law banning handguns on public transit. 

The lawsuit originated after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a New York law that increased the difficulty for individuals to obtain a permit to carry a handgun outside their home.

Legal experts have said the ruling could have major implications for other gun laws that may have less steady constitutional grounds after the decision. 

The administration said in its statement that the court reiterated in its ruling that “longstanding” laws that prohibit the carrying of firearms in “sensitive” places like schools and government buildings are presumably valid. 

The statement says that the Transportation Department has an interest in ensuring that states, localities and transit systems can impose “reasonable” restrictions on firearms carried in public transportation systems. It also states that the federal government’s workforce relies heavily on the Metro to travel to work. 

The administration argues that D.C.’s limits on carrying handguns on the Metro are comparable to the court allowing weapon restrictions in sensitive places. It argued the federal government’s interest is in the security of the metro system because its employees regularly use it. 

The administration also argued that the crowded nature of the Metro and that “vulnerable” individuals often use the transit system make it a sensitive location. 

D.C. also considers schools, government buildings, medical offices, businesses that serve alcohol and polling places where voting is taking place to be sensitive locations where firearms are forbidden.

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Biden calls for Latino, women’s museums to be built on National Mall

President Biden on Friday called for the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Latino and the American Women’s History Museum to be built on the National Mall in Washington.

Speaking at the White House’s official Hispanic Heritage Month reception, Biden endorsed the push to include the museums in the country’s most-visited national park, lending his support to a key symbolic demand made by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) on Thursday.

“You’re proof that Hispanic history is American history,” Biden told attendees in opening his remarks.

“For that reason Congress should take action to honor the Latino community and women with their own museums on the National Mall. It’s time,” said Biden.

The presidential endorsement is a major victory for the CHC and the museum’s backers, who had put significant public pressure on Biden to back their bid.

All 36 members of the CHC on Thursday wrote to Biden, asking him to explicitly endorse the idea of building the Latino Museum and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum on the National Mall.

“Today’s remarks by President Biden make clear that he stands with Latinos across this country and wholeheartedly believes our stories deserve their rightful place on the National Mall. As we move forward in the site selection process for the National Museum of the American Latino, I look forward to his continued support,” said Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.), who led Thursday’s letter.

Biden’s endorsement reflects a similar move by former President George W. Bush, whose support of the National Museum of African American History and Culture was a significant step in getting that museum built in its current location.

Biden earlier this month called for the museum to be built in Washington , but his endorsement of a location on the National Mall is likely to strengthen that effort.

“Today, President Biden stood by the over 62 million Latinos in the United States and affirmed that the National Mall is the only rightful place for the National Museum of the American Latino,” said Estuardo Rodriguez, president and CEO of the Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino. 

“We applaud the President for leaning into the efforts of hundreds over the last 30 years to ensure our complete story is told on our country’s grandest stage. We will continue to work with the Biden Administration, Congress, and the Smithsonian to ensure all pathways are cleared for our nation’s next great museum to be built where it belongs—on the National Mall,” added Rodríguez.

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