DC turns down voting, doesn't want guns

This story broke yesterday, but the DC Voting Rights Act has died. DC's favorite non-voting delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton pulled the legislation due to that pesky Ensign Amendment that would have eliminated most of DC's gun regulations. Now, of course, most of DC's gun regulations were already struck down by the Supreme Court in Heller. The Ensign Amendment would have permitted all sorts of crazy things such as armor piercing sniper rifles and would lower the age of gun buying to 18, rather than 21.

DC wouldn't go for this at all, because we are still thinking that letting people legally purchase firearms will somehow make crime even worse than it is. Clearly this would put some sort of burden on the city to register all these sniper rifles and tanks and nuclear weapons and so forth that would be legalized. Also people were up in arms (ha ha, but not taking up arms) because the Ensign Amendment would allow DC residents to purchase guns outside of DC. They say this creates interstate weapons trafficking problems. That might be so, except, DC isn't a state, and it's ridiculous to say that people in DC can own firearms but can't buy them anywhere except at the maybe one gun dealer in the city. That would be similar to saying people who live in Richmond can't buy guns outside the city limits.

Honestly, I'm not trying to gain favor with the NRA here, I just think this whole thing is stupid. I believe the DCeiver touched on this a while ago: This is probably one of the only times in the history of the human race where a government wants to give people both voting rights and guns. We are asking for more representation, we are angry, and the government wants to give us guns? Why don't we just take them? C'mon!

People are also upset that Obama hasn't commented on this issue and didn't put pressure on Congress to make this work. Well, that probably is some crap. Barack's got bigger fish to fry and whatever, he's not changing his voter registration to DC. He's got all sorts of representation back in IL. But dude. You've still got some political capital.

In the end, Norton and the DC Council and everyone else should have just bit the bullet and accepted the Act with the amendment. It gets us a vote, we can stop complaining about not having it, and we can have some pretty sweet gun parties. And, if, down the road Congress decides to stop being assholes, our for realsies Congressperson can propose a repeal to the Ensign amendment. This was never about statehood. Even with a voting member of Congress, we'd still have to bend over and take it anytime Congress wants to dabble in our business. With our without the Ensign amendment, Congress could still repeal our gun laws without giving us votes. Sure, we have a Democratic and maybe even liberal majority now, but that's not going to be forever. It's a lot easier to take the voting rights now, which would NEVER be repealed and work to change the gun laws at a future date.

How about we stop bitching that democracy isn't fair when we are bitching that we want a slice of that democracy. Attaching amendments to bills is part of the sausage factory on the hill. Maybe we should just attach DC voting rights as an amendment to the "Don't Slaughter Puppies on Live TV Act of 2009."


  1. AnonymousJune 10, 2009

    I think the point here was that congress was trying to overturn gun laws that DC citizens had already voted on. DC has been fighting for the same rights as states, so it doesn't make sense to give us the vote but then not let us make decisions for ourselves. It's dissapointing that DC voting rights have turned into a pawn for gun legislation.

  2. Oh I know the arguments that are being made. But this has never been about statehood. We aren't deciding on statehood. an untainted DC voting rights act still wouldn't have changed the fact that we have to bend to the whims of Congress.

  3. AnonymousJune 10, 2009

    Excellent summary! My feelings exactly. Unfortunatley, the "anti gun" attitude here is institutionalized, and no local pol has the leadership to start changing peoples minds about it.

  4. "Sometimes when you try too hard to get quoted in the Express, it doesn't happen. Let the process unfold organically, Dave."

    M@, a writer for Why I Hate D.C. comments on Dave Stroup's post about D.C. voting rights.