Accepting Representation at the Point of a Gun

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘Samer Farha’

There’s a hard choice on the table. The Senate will be taking up the revised legislation that would grant the District a voting Representative in the House, but would do so only if we also accepted that all of the District’s gun laws would have to come off the books for good.

The decision puts DC in between a rock and a hard place, as representation that the city has long sought is within grasp, but comes at what could be a terrible price. So, it seems we’re stuck. Compromise one principle to get access to one we’ve been long after? Or stick to your guns (uh, or lack thereof) and keep the dream of true voting perception at arms length still. It seems a bit of a Foustian bargain for the city. What are our leaders saying?

Mayor Fenty’s on the record for representation. He says it’s a “tough call,” but that the City still deserves a vote it’s never had in the House before, and that the gun laws can be fought on the floor of the House, or through other means in the future. So, gun-law-repeal warts and all, the Mayor says, “Yes, please,” to the new seat for Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton.

What’s our Delegate think? Eleanor Holmes Norton says, I don’t think so. She believes that there’s no coming from the amendment to the Voting Rights Bill, and that getting stringent gun control in the city would be all but impossible in the future.

So, where do you stand? Are you tolerant of the proliferation of firearms, in exchange for representation? Or would you rather fewer legal firearms in exchange for passing on this round of voting rights?

I live and work in the District of Columbia. I write at We Love DC, a blog I helped start, I work at Technolutionary, a company I helped start, and I’m happy doing both. I enjoy watching baseball, cooking, and gardening. I grow a mean pepper, keep a clean scorebook, and wash the dishes when I’m done. Read Why I Love DC.

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6 thoughts on “Accepting Representation at the Point of a Gun

  1. It’s absurd to think a law would keep guns out of the hands of criminals. This only punishes law abiding citizens, and as someone who lived in SEDC, I would feel much safer if I had a gun (at all times, not just in my home).

  2. If it were a fully equal, permanent form of representation, I’d have no problem living with whatever gun laws the rest of the country has.

    But this is a scrap of unequal, temporary representation (to be repealed as soon as party majorities change again).

    Why bother?

  3. I agree with citizenw.

    The bill itself is a compromise that was written for a Republican controlled congress, and now we are being told we need to compromise again?

    The biggest irony is that the amendment was added in the Senate and even if the bill passes, residents of the District of Columbia will still be denied representation in the Senate.

    Moreover, even if the bill passes and our gun laws are changed, the legislation will be challenged on constitutional grounds. It all adds up to more delays and less equality.

    Taxation With 1/3 Representation? There should be no compromise when it comes to full equality for the residents of the District of Columbia.

  4. With or without the gun control going from DC, those wishing to commit a crime will still have a gun so let the citizens be armed. But the should have someone in Congress and the Senate. It is the seat of the Government why should they not have a voice?

  5. Does it change anyone’s vote if you consider that it may be another decade or more before its reasonable to think that you’ll get a clean bill? We’re talking about having to change 20-30 House Democrats (and probably 10 Senators) from Moderate to Liberal or a major generational sea-change in pro-gun attitudes amongst western state Liberals.

    Besides that, there isn’t really anything to keep someone from attaching these pro-gun provisions to the district budget later this year, or some other bill, and it passing there because the NRA will score that vote too.

    (BTW, I’m not really asking this question to those of you who think that neutering gun-control in the district is a good idea, because you are wrong, and bad.)

  6. Take the gun amendment, get the vote. DC’s current gun laws will either be knocked down in court (again) or Congress will just insert it into the budget.

    If this all goes bad, blame Mendelson and the Council for ignoring SCOTUS