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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.

By Tim Craig  |  April 8, 2009; 12:40 PM ET
Categories:  Voting Rights  
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Comments

"Rhetoric" and "theatrics" as you say...

Posted by: mendelsonmustgo | April 8, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

More lies from the proletariat of the People's Republic of the District of Columbia. What a sad bunch of anti-Americans. No need to deal with the Hugo Chavezes abroad. We have Mary Cheh and Vincent Gray and Kwame Browne eroding our Constitution from within. These people are ugly on the inside, oppose our 2nd amendment rights, while telling us they will protect us if we just hand all authority to them and just lay in our cribs and wait for their parental guidance. Not one of those aforementioned could hold any job other than Oppressor for the District of Columbia. Shameful people that should be thrown in jail for hiding behind the guise of the DC council to promote their individual beliefs of oppression while antagonizing congress and the SCOTUS. Any individual that withheld a right outlined in the Bill of Rights over another individual would already be in jail.

Posted by: civilrightist | April 8, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Great night last night, with the D.C. residents in attendance taking a strong and unified stand against the NRA and its Ensign Amendment. The people of D.C. see the madness that the NRA has led us into in mass shooting after mass shooting, and we reject its ideology totally.

Congrats to the Council for launching this effort and thinking seriously about how to gain voting representation for D.C. residents in a way that preserves our right to self-determination.

Posted by: gritsjr | April 8, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Great night last night, with the D.C. residents in attendance taking a strong and unified stand against the NRA and its Ensign Amendment. The people of D.C. see the madness that the NRA has led us into in mass shooting after mass shooting, and we reject its ideology totally.

Congrats to the Council for launching this effort and thinking seriously about how to gain voting representation for D.C. residents in a way that preserves our right to self-determination.

Posted by: gritsjr | April 8, 2009 2:04 PM


"Preserves your right to self-determination"? OMG! You talk like a senseless DC Councilmemmber Lol !!!

How about, "preserve your right to self defense"? Self-determination is not going to get you anywhere when Larry Crackhead and Lola Cannabis break down your door in the middle of the night, and knife you. Oh wait, your silly DC Counsel will take care of you; that wouldn't happen because they would not approve of it. If you ever wanted to see a gathering of losers, there you had it; in front of the DC Council last night.

Posted by: willtill | April 8, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Given that of the more than 40 people who testified last night, only 2 think the gun amendment is legitimate (one was Dick Heller of legal fame, the other an Alexandria, VA resident), I'd say the comments on this post are not representative of where the public is.

I hope that all DC residents who supports our rightful local autonomy will write to Eleanor Holmes Norton [go to http://www.norton.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=649&Itemid=] and 1) thank her for her efforts to get a clean VR bill, 2) tell her if this is not possible, withdraw it.

I am hoping that based on last night's testimony, the Council will take prompt action to oppose a VR bill that effectively repeals our Home Rule Charter.

Posted by: keshinil1 | April 8, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

civilrightist,

Do you understand that Mary Cheh, Vincent Gray, and Kwame Browne are ELECTED officials of the District of Columbia. Any time we want to, we can vote them out of office. They are not following their "individual beliefs." The people of DC want strict gun control laws and resent outsiders, who have no interest in our welfare, pushing themselves into our business. You want to imprison our government officials for daring to follow the will of the people who put them there. The second amendment was designed precisely to prevent this sort of thing.

willtill: If you don't like what the district council is doing, why not run for council yourself. I'm assuming that you are a resident of the District of Columbia.

Everyone knows that this amendment grows out of the National Rifle Association. Their headquarters are out in Fairfax County, just off 66. I suggest that the good people of the district go out there and demonstrate or perhaps even hold a sit in. My impression is that most people in this country don't know that we don't want this law and are having it forced on us. I think some direct action against the NRA might inform them of this fact. I would be interested in discussing this with other DC residents and possibly organizing something.

Posted by: sjpatejak | April 9, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

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