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Gray: Voting rights bill unacceptable without changes in gun provision

D.C. Council chairman Vincent C. Gray, a Democratic candidate for mayor, said today he will not support the D.C. voting rights bill pending before Congress unless substantive changes are made to the provision that restricts the city's ability to set its own gun control laws.

Gray, whose position puts him at odds with Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D), called the gun amendment "too high of price to pay" for securing a vote in Congress.

"I do not support a bill that would have us give up our right to legislate and have us give up our gun control laws," said Gray.

Gray said he could change his position once final language on the gun amendment is drafted. Under the bill approved by the U.S. Senate last year, most of the District's local gun control laws would be repealed. Although she initially opposed the National Rifle Assocation-backed amendment, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) is going to try to get the U.S. House of Representatives to approve the voting rights bill later this week.

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Norton is trying to negotiate to weaken the gun language, but plans to move ahead even if she can't reach an agreement with the NRA.

Fenty has said he will do everything he can to help Norton, arguing the District can work on getting the gun language changed after it secures a vote in Congress. Gun control advocates, including the Washington Post editorial board, hold views similar to Gray's.

But Gray's position puts him at odds with at least two of his council colleagues. Yvette D. Alexander (D-Ward 7) and Kwame Brown (D-At large), a candidate for council chairman, announced last week they support the voting rights bill even if it includes the gun amendment.

--Tim Craig and Ann E. Marimow.

By Tim Craig and Ann E. Marimow  |  April 19, 2010; 11:54 AM ET
Categories:  Ann E. Marimow , Tim Craig , Voting Rights  | Tags: District of Columbia voting rights, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Vincent C. Gray  
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Fenty/Norton deserve credit for getting Obama to support this bill. Also, like it or not, freedom to bare arms is in the constitution. All things considered, good deal.

Posted by: politicalrealist | April 19, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Fenty deserves no credit at all in that it was his foolish bullheaded opposition to gun rights that landed to the District before the Supreme Court where that smug arrogance resulted in the landmark decisions that is now being used against the city through this bill.

You may be political, but certainly not a realist.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | April 19, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

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