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D.C. Vote: Obama should veto any bill that weakens District gun control

D.C Vote, which suffered a setback this week when the voting rights bill stalled in Congress, publicly called on President Obama today to state he will veto any legislation that includes provisions to roll back the city's gun control laws.

"We have started swinging back," said Illir Zherka, executive director of D.C. Vote. "We look forward to working with the council, mayor delegate and D.C. residents to convince the president to take that stance."

D.C. Vote, an umbrella organization for dozens of advocacy and non-profit organizations that support District voting rights, initially supported the proposal on Capitol Hill that would have given the city a vote in Congress but also weakened gun laws. But Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), who initially was open to the gun language in exchange for voting rights, ultimately decided the price was too high to move forward on the legislation this year.

Even though the voting rights bill is likely dead for the year, many congressional observers and city leaders expect the gun lobby to seek to try to attach the amendment to the city budget or other legislation that affects the District. And on the voting rights issue, some city leaders and advocates have criticized Obama for not pushing harder to get a clean bill out of Congress.

Zherka's statement comes in response to a DC Wire entry Thursday that mentioned some city leaders were starting to question the effectiveness of D.C. Vote, which was formed in 1998. Zherka counters D.C. Vote has had a number of successes, including helping the city remove congressionally imposed restrictions on abortion funding, needle exchange programs and medical marijuana.

He also reiterated the organization shares the views of many council members that the ultimate goal should be statehood.

"Don't count us out," Zherka said. "Within the remaining months of the year, we will fight against attacks to our gun laws, improve Home Rule and work to create an opportunity for passage of the DC Voting Rights Act."

--Tim Craig

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By Tim Craig  |  April 23, 2010; 5:14 PM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig , Voting Rights  | Tags: District of Columbia voting rights, Eleanor Holmes Norton  
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Perhaps a general strike of all DC workers should be organized until DC is given voting rights? Cause, um, isn't this what the American Revolution was about? This shouldn't be a political issue at all. The status quo is unacceptable and anyone standing against it should be deported to China or Saudi Arabia or somewhere else where there are no voting rights.

So yeah, why not massive protests and general strikes? I don't understand the lack of action on this isue.

Posted by: cassander | April 23, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

After 15 months, DC Vote and its less than stellar Executive Director finally decides that Obama needs to be pressured on DC voting rights.

First, Mr. Zherka needs to move from Maryland into the District. Maybe DC voting rights will then have a priority for Mr. Zherka other than as a pay check to pay his Maryland mortgage.

Second, new leadership and direction is needed at DC Vote including the make up of its Board of Directors. How about a little grass roots organizing in the District among its African American population rather than silly e-mails about defeating Utah representatives or dressing up a fool in an Abe Lincoln costume.

DC Vote is out of touch and is of no importance to DC residents.

Posted by: NewEra | April 26, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

1. The Constitution provides for representation apportioned to the States. D.C. is not a State. Since it is a territory, it can participate in presidential elections, but THAT'S ALL.

2. D.C. v. Heller struck down D.C.'s draconian gun laws. D.C.'s answer? Rewrite them with essentially the same restrictions struck by the Court. That chicken will come home to roost.

"No." is an answer. You may not like the answer, but it is the answer.

Get over it.

Posted by: teebone | April 26, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

DC is a territory not a state? A territory of what?

Posted by: peace4all2 | April 27, 2010 3:19 AM | Report abuse


D.C. is a federal enclave - a federal territory. There is no provision in the Constitution to apportion voting representation for territories.

You mean, you really didn't KNOW that?

Posted by: teebone | April 27, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

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