April 20th, 2010
12:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Victory for gun-control advocates as Dems kill DC voting rights bill

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Tuesday that he was ‘extraordinarily disappointed’ that House Democratic leaders killed a bill that would have given Washington, DC residents a voting representative in Conrgess.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Tuesday that he was ‘extraordinarily disappointed’ that House Democratic leaders killed a bill that would have given Washington, DC residents a voting representative in Conrgess.

(CNN) - House Democratic leaders have killed a bill that would have given Washington, DC a voting representative in Congress because the measure included a provision that would have wiped out the District's strict gun laws.

"I am extraordinarily disappointed," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said as he announced the House of Representatives will not vote on the measure this year.

It's a victory for gun control advocates but a disappointment for activists who have been working for decades to get a voting representative in Congress and saw this Democrat-controlled Congress as their best chance. The District has an elected delegate in the House of Representatives, Democrat Eleanor Holmes-Norton, but she cannot vote on the House floor.

"This legislation should be focused solely on the central premise of American democracy, that citizens have a fundamental right to be represented in the policy-making body of their country, a representative with not just a voice but a vote," Hoyer told reporters off camera.

When the Senate took up the DC voting rights bill last year, Republicans attached a gun provision that a number of pro-gun rights Democrats helped pass. It was expected to pass the House, which also has a pro-gun rights majority, as early as Wednesday. But Hoyer said "the price was too high," and the bill was scrapped, a decision ultimately made by Holmes-Norton.


Filed under: Gun rights • Steny Hoyer
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Steve (the real one)

    Wait a minute! Are you telling me that the big tent and tolerant democrats will not allow American citizens in DC to be fully represented in the U.S. Congress? The so-called party of the little guy just turned their backs on the little guy! How'd that happen? Let me guess some may say it was due to the rider that would over turn the city's gun laws. I guess that means the Dems trample the 2nd amendment and disallows representation in Congress all in one swoop! Nice!

    April 20, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  2. todd

    It was a poison pill. I actually think it would have been to great a cost. Besides, do we really need more guns this close to the White House?

    April 20, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    The business of combining totally unrelated matters in a single bill, is something that should be banned in the Congress.

    April 20, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  4. James Klimaski

    The voting rights bill is a sham and getting it with the gun legislation was simply making the District residents eat crow for little or no benefit. This legislation is unconstitutional and anyone who has studied the issue would have to agree. The District deserves Statehood – 2 senators and one representative, just like the citizens in the rest of the country. The voting rights bill would only move the District residents from 3rd class to 2nd class citizens. It would not alter the power of Congress to veto any legislation passed by the District's local government or give the District real control over its taxes.

    April 20, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  5. kd

    ugly and predictable move by the Republicans. The DC folks have a right to representation. Sticking the gun thing in was a chicken move. What do you expect from Republicans?

    April 20, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  6. Me, In TX

    "When the Senate took up the DC voting rights bill last year, Republicans attached a gun provision that a number of pro-gun rights Democrats helped pass. "

    First of all, The Senate IS where good ideas go to DIE.
    Well, not so much die as in mutate into some horrible legislation monster.
    For the love of GoD and all things holy, Why, OH WHY did they want guns on the capital?

    April 20, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  7. Jim

    I am just curious. If there IS a pro-gun majority in both houses, why not just pass a separate bill? Attaching it to another, completely unrelated bill is a way to pass it without having the necessary votes. So, on those grounds, way to go Dems. Let's debate the gun law separately so that we can have an open and honest conversation about it. Or are you pro-gun nutjobs against that?

    April 20, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  8. Fitz in Texas

    "disappointment for activists who have been working for decades to get a voting representative in Congress and saw this Democrat-controlled Congress as their best chance."
    *********************************************
    Yeah, a real disappointment to folks like Democrat State Senator R.C. Soles who has made a career at being against gun ownership, yet when two men broke into his house R.C. Soles got HIS GUN and shot one of the men. Typical Liberal hypocritical crap....'Do As I Say And Not As I Do'

    April 20, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  9. TOTUS 4 PRESIDENT

    The will of the vast majority is trumped yet again by the wacked out loony lib fringe Dems.

    April 20, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  10. John Hennessy Black

    ANY rider slipped into legislation to attempt to deprive ANY American of his/her right to own and use a gun is an assault on ALL Americans and the Constitution... whether that rider is built into legislation by the D's or R's or both!

    April 20, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  11. once upon a horse

    well now President Obama can go back working on taking all our guns away from us as some of these mis-informed right wing wackos claim he is going to do. Nevermind it is under Obama that now allows them to carry their guns into National Parks. It's amazing how these folks see things and we are in an era it seems that FACTS mean nothing once your mind is set. Or as the right wing mantra goes.."Don't confuse me with facts"!

    April 20, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  12. rs

    It is unthinkable that Republicans tried to remove a local gun ordinance to hold up voting rights. Citizens of DC should have the right to vote AND be safe from gun violence if that is what they want.

    April 20, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  13. U.S. Common Sense

    What a joke. Hoyer, out of one corner of his mouth, says "citizens have a fundamental right to be represented in the policy-making body of their country," yet out of the other he says the gun provision makes "the price ... too high."

    Seriously? If it is a "fundamental right" (which it isn't because DC is not a state and would require a Constitutional Amendment to change the law), then "price" shouldn't be an issue.

    And Congress wonders why they have such a low approval rating.

    April 20, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
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