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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Congress Overrides Stalling District

House Passes Rules Easing D.C. Gun Restriction
The House moved Wednesday to compel the nation's capital to broaden the rights of its residents to buy and own firearms, including semiautomatic weapons.

Critics, led by the District of Columbia's sole delegate to Congress, decried the action. They said the vote tramples on the District's rights to govern itself and could endanger both residents and political dignitaries who so often travel across the city.

But the National Rifle Association-backed bill passed easily, 266-152, with supporters saying they were determined to give D.C. residents the same Second Amendment right of self-defense that has been available to other Americans.

Many of those speaking for the bill in debate that went well into the night Tuesday were conservative Democrats from rural districts that strongly support gun rights. Eighty-five Democrats voted for the bill.
Eleanor Holmes Norton, the (thankfully) non-voting blowhard who "represents" the District in Congress used the occasion of the bill to grandstand for a vote in the House, saying:
The House has the gall to ask for a vote to nullify the gun laws in my district, depriving my district of the right to protect itself and visitors like yourselves while denying me a vote on this floor on passage. Have you no shame?
I think we can all agree that Congress - Ms. Norton included - is shameless, but the Constitution is clear-cut on the governance of her district, specifically Article I, Section 8, Clause 17:
The Congress shall have Power...To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States...
That would be you Eleanor.

Norton wasn't the only D.C. elected official to express their displeasure at the bill. District of Columbia council member Carol Schwartz said: I ask Congress, leave us alone and let us do our job. To which I say, if you were doing your job in a correct and timely manner Congress wouldn't have felt the need to pass the bill.

In case you're interested, here's a good article that explains the history and status of the District of Columbia.

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