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Posted at 12:07 PM ET, 04/19/2010

Gray could oppose D.C. voting rights bill

By Washington Post editors

D.C. Council member Vincent C. Gray, a Democratic candidate for mayor, said Monday that 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 a 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Under the bill approved by the U.S. Senate last year, most of the District's gun-control laws would be repealed. Although she initially opposed the National Rifle Association-backed amendment, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) is trying 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, whom Gray is challenging in the mayoral election this year, 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 hold views similar to Gray's.

But Gray's position puts him at odds with at least two of his council colleagues. Council member Yvette D. Alexander (D-Ward 7) and Council member 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 Washington Post editors  | April 19, 2010; 12:07 PM ET
Categories:  DC  | Tags:  District of Columbia voting rights, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Gun Control, Vincent C. Gray  
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Vincent Gray is an absurd man. He has confirmed that he wants his constituents to have no rights-He wants absolute control; no voting rights, no gun rights. What is next? No free speech? He can come sleep over your house anytime he wants and search it? What a MORON. What a DONKEY. What a P.O.S.

Posted by: civilrightist | April 19, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Gray - 2 Sold Out 2 Quit.

Posted by: SofaKingCool2009 | April 19, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I hope the high court rules against Chicago too. Then maybe DC will get it when it comes to stupid gun laws.

Posted by: FLvet | April 19, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Vince Gray's decision is the right one. The people of the District shouldn't be asked to trade a vote on the Hill for less self determination here in the City. It is not a choice we should have to make and one that the NY Times and the Washington Post both agree with Gray on that we should turn down.It is self defeating to accept the Ensign amendment.

The President recently spoke up for the vote for DC in Congress but he didn't address this issue. And the Washington Post poll awhile back also asked whether people want a vote on the Hill but didn't ask about this trade-off.

Many constitutional scholars have suggested that this vote will be taken away by the Supreme Court anyway and then the question is how separate is the gun measure and could we end up losing our autonomy to pass gun laws and still have no vote.

Gun advocates consistantly make no allowance for the difference to laws in a large city vs. a rural area. What people in Washington have shown they tend to hunt are other people. Just two weeks ago an AK 47 was used to gun down four young people. Should we now allow more AK 47s legally into our City. That is absurd and rational people everywhere should agree. I am not a hunter but believe people should have the right to hunt. This is something totally different.

Let's not accept the benefit of a vote in Congress if it means less home rule. That is not a trade-off we should have to make and the President should speak up on that issue.

Posted by: peterdc | April 19, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Well, Mr. Grey and WaPo have me confused.
-- Any bill supporting DC representation in Congress is unconstitutional per Article I, Section 8. You can legislate will take a Constitutional Amendment.
-- And DC gun control laws have already once been declared unconstitutional; and their attempts to circumvent the court's ruling, a la Alabama in the 1950's, will get DC slapped again.

So Grey won't support an unconstitutional bill unless an unconstitutional law stays on the books. Stunning....oh great intellects...stunning.

Posted by: wjc1va | April 19, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

wjc, you are wrong. Article I, Section 8, does not mean what you think it means (if it did, then the DC Council would be unconstitutional). In fact, that is the provision that *supports* Congress giving DC residents representation, since that clause of the Constitution grants Congress "exclusive" legislative authority over the District, which means it is the very clause that allows Congress to pass legislation that grants DC voting representation in Congress. You clearly are not a lawyer; see, by actual legal scholars.

Posted by: esmerelda123 | April 19, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Constitutionally, DC is properly a federal district under the control of Congress. The Control Board should be reconstituted. If DC wants voting rights, the Constitution should be amended per its provisions. Quit fooling around with this amateur garden club politics.

Posted by: SteveDC1 | April 19, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

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