While both bills were introduced by Democrats in the House, and both bills "allege" that they are intended to enforce The Court's ruling from Heller, they are as different as night and day.
The first bill, HR 6691- The Second Amendment Enforcement Act, was introduced by Rep Travis Childers (D-MS) and has 51 co-sponsors. The bill, based on my reading, is correctly named.
This bill does several things. First and foremost, it removes from the Mayor and Council of DC the ability to make gun laws. From the bill:
The District of Columbia shall not have authority to enact laws or regulations that discourage or eliminate the private ownership or use of firearmsThe bill also repeals the ban on semi-automatics, it repeals the registration requirement, it repeals the ban on Handgun Ammunition, it repeals all criminal penalties for carrying a gun in your own home, it restores the right to self defense, and authorizes DC residents to purchase firearms in Maryland or Virginia.
From The Washington Post:
It would abolish the city's gun registration requirements and allow residents to own semiautomatic pistols and rifles. It also would permit them to buy guns in Virginia and Maryland and would scrap a regulation that firearms in homes be kept unloaded and safeguarded except in cases of imminent danger.This, I believe is what the Court intended with the Heller decision.
The second bill, HR 6842- The National Capital Security and Safety Act, is a weak attempt to pay lip service to Heller, but leaves the fox guarding the chicken coop. It was introduced by Delegate (not Congresswoman) Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and is co-sponsored by Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) (need I really say more?).
The bill gives D.C. 180 days (from passage of the bill, in theory) to comply with Heller. It also leaves the Mayor and Council of DC in charge of making any and all regulations regarding firearms in D.C. To date, the D.C. council has done virtually NOTHING with regard to the requirements of Heller. In fact, their "interpretation" of Heller seems to be that they need to make no changes.
DC is, of course, in favor of the second bill, HR 6842, and against HR 6691. They are attempting to paint the picture that if HR 6691 becomes law, citizens would be able to walk the streets of the capital with .50 caliber sniper rifles and have machine guns on their persons.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier told Congress, "Imagine how difficult it will be for law enforcement to safeguard the public, not to mention the new president at the inaugural parade, if carrying semiautomatic rifles were to suddenly become legal in Washington."
The truth is that they hate the Second Amendment, and hate the people who seek to exercise their rights under the Second Amendment.
HR 6691 The Second Amendment Enforcement Act is a law that MUST be passed. Although this legislation only directly affects the citizens of D.C., it is sends an important message. The first being that the Supreme Court ruling in Heller actually had meaning and that it cannot be disregarded. Second, the legislation keeps the people who would seek to destroy the Second Amendment from continuing to write laws that keep Americans from their Constitutional Rights.
Although HR-6691 is expected to pass, everyone who believes in the Second Amendment should call or write their Congressman to ask for their vote. The NRA is backing this bill.
There is some concern that the bill will not have time to make it through the Senate before end of session. This is probably good for Senators Obama and Biden; they will not need to actually make a stand before the election. Neither of them supported the Individual Right to Bear Arms. But then again, with Sen. Obama's record, he would probably just vote "present" anyway.