Council Stands Firm Against Gun Amendment
At a public hearing last night, District Council members stepped up their rhetoric in opposition to Congress approving a voting rights bill that also restricts gun control.
About 100 people attended the hearing before the Special Committee on Statehood and Self-Determination, which is chaired by Council member Michael A. Brown (I-At Large).
In recent weeks, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) has indicated the city should continue to press for the voting rights bill, even if Congress insists on keeping the gun amendment. After district residents have full congressional representation, Fenty indicated, the city could push to have the gun amendment moved.
But several Council members unleashed heated rhetoric last night in speaking out against the amendment. The theatrics appeared aimed at the audience, who appeared to overhwhelmingly support gun control.
Council member Kwame Brown (D-At large) tore into U.S. Sen. John Ensign of Nevada, who attached the gun amendment onto the voting rights bill.
"This senator from Nevada, his own county has a 72-hour waiting period to get a gun," Brown said. "For him to say the District can't have a wait at all is absurd."
Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) then said, "It's time for us to stand up an resist."
Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) questioned whether District residents should boycott the 4th of July.
"Why do we celebrate July 4?" Gray asked. "What are we celebrating? Hypocrisy? Why don't we all work on Independence Day?...What do we need to do to raise the activism?"
At one point, Council member Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7) asked Paul Strauss, the District's shadow senator, what would happen if the city just accepted the gun amendment.
Strauss responded, "the problem with this amendment, unlike other things that the NRA has tried, if it passes none of you will ever have the ability to legislate on guns and public safety."
"It sets a too dangerous precedent in my opinion," Strauss said.
April 8, 2009; 12:40 PM ET
Categories: Voting Rights
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