Gun amendment not the real issue with DC voting rights bill
Gun rights–not a ‘poison pill’
Washington D.C. can survive restoration of gun rights
Federal judge edits ‘not’ out of ‘shall not be infringed’
According to the Washington Post, a bill to give Washington D.C. a voting member in the House of Representatives could be on the move again, after having seemingly died.
Congressional leaders intend to resurrect a D.C. voting rights bill as early as next week, despite opposition from many city leaders to an amendment that would eliminate most of the District’s gun-control laws.
That amendment, which would only have liberalized D.C.’s gun laws to the point of making them similar to gun laws in most of the rest of the country, is what had stalled the bill in the first place–with the New York Times going so far as referring to the amendment as a “poison pill.” That’s right–according to Times’ Carl Hulse, rights are “poison.”
Now, though, we’re told that those who want D.C. to have a voting member in the House are willing to take that “poison”–although they apparently hope to dilute it.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), the city’s non-voting House member, and congressional leaders said they are negotiating to weaken the gun amendment language. But Norton said she is unwilling to sacrifice the opportunity to win a long-sought voting seat for the District by insisting on a stand-alone bill.
As much as I would like to see the end of Washington D.C.’s gun laws, which are–even post-Heller–still ridiculously draconian, I have serious doubts about doing it this way, despite the recent setback (which may be more serious than initial appearances indicate) on the court front.
The first of those doubts is the obvious one–the premise of the bill, congressional representation for Washington D.C., is blatantly unconstitutional. The Constitution provides for congressional representation for the states, which D.C., of course, is not. Gun rights advocates hold the Constitutional high ground, but if we let ourselves be bought off with rights that we should demand, we give up that high ground.
Also, to sweeten the pot for congressional Republicans, the bill would compensate for adding a voting representative elected in Democrat-heavy Washington D.C., by also providing an additional congressman in Republican-heavy Utah. That, however, is not likely to last long, because that congressional seat’s location will be determined anew after the census. It could easily, in other words, end up in another Democrat-heavy voting area.
“This is the best chance we’ve had to get a House vote for D.C. in my lifetime,” Norton said. “Nobody would leave it on the table because it’s not at all clear when there will be another chance.”
The time is right, Norton and other advocates said, because the bill’s prospects could diminish if the Democratic majority narrows after this year’s midterm elections and if the release of 2010 Census figures undercuts the legislative deal.
And that brings up another point. Those who want this voting seat in D.C. want it now, because this is when they see the best opportunity. That makes it even more foolish to allow ourselves to sell the Constitutional high ground–while being paid in our own coin.
More from Gun Rights Examiners
Atlanta: Ed Stone | Austin: Howard Nemerov | Boston: Ron Bokleman | Charlotte: Paul Valone | Cheyenne: Anthony Bouchard | Chicago: Don Gwinn | Cleveland: Daniel White | DC: Mike Stollenwerk | Denver: Dan Bidstrup | Fort Smith: Steve D. Jones | Grand Rapids: Skip Coryel | Knoxville: Liston Matthews | Los Angeles: John Longenecker | Minneapolis: John Pierce | National: Dan | Parkersburg: Nicholas Arnold | Phoenix: Douglas Little | Pittsburgh: Dan Campbell | Seattle: Dave Workman | St. Louis: Kurt Hofmann | Tucson: Chris Woodard | Wisconsin: Gene German