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. Dylan

    I don't think this report is correct. If my memory serves me right, that handgun ban was overturned a year or two ago by the US Supreme Court. It's got to be a different cost. The Jobs Bill and Financial Reform Bill are going to take up alot of the political clout for a while, so it's probably better that the debate takes place next year.

    April 20, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  2. jeff jackson, alabama

    I got a question for all you hand gun
    control backers out there.
    If no hand guns are allowed by law
    abiding citizens in D.C., then why in
    the heck is the violent crime rate
    higher than most other cities the same
    size ????????????

    April 20, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  3. Chris

    Well, that did it for DC!!! Because if the Democrats don't get their act together for the November elections, DC voting right will not be on the books for a long time coming. Oh well it was close this time.

    April 20, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  4. Bob in Pa

    Like DC isn't the murder capital of the US already. I bet most of the Senators and Congressman carry while in DC though.

    April 20, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  5. SocialismBad

    So it wasn't enough for the DemocRATS to deny these American citizens their Constitutional gun rights. Now they want to deny them their right to vote as well. It shows you how much the DemocRATS care about the Constitution and the rights of Americans.

    April 20, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  6. File under "Sarcasm"

    Just what is it about the specific wording in the Constitution that doesn't give DC the same voting rights as the "states" don't the Democrats understand. Just because they don't think it's "fair" doesn't override the langauge of the Constitution. If they disagree with "habeus corpus", can they pass a law to eliminate it?

    April 20, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  7. Chris D.

    Steny, you stand on principal, and I respect that.

    April 20, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  8. Greg in VA

    Why can't a bill just stand as is, why do idiots have to add stupid ____ on to cause the bill to fail. REPUBLICANS need to fall even further before they realize that they are not part of the US. REPUBLICANS need to listed to the people.

    April 20, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  9. Dave

    As a resident of DC, I'm appaled that either party would tie voting rights to the elimination of the handgun ban. So Congress is saying to DC residents, in exchange for the right that every other American has you'll need to allow handguns in your streets. I can't even begin to outline all of the things wrong with this statement.

    April 20, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Stop adding on addendums to bill that are not related!
    Had this vote been for representation and the addendums been for rules governing that representitive it would have passed.
    Gun control was not the issue of this bill. It should be addressed separtaely.
    When will Congress pass the one reform bill that would benefit all parties and the American people and stop this arcane practice of piling-on to bills?

    April 20, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  11. tom_gwynn

    Doesn't make a difference one way or the other. Any attempt to give the so-called DC representative a vote would be clearly unconstitutional, and it would be quickly ruled as such by the courts.

    The Constitution establishes that the number of representatives is 435, not 435 + 1 . Congress cannot change that without amending the Constitution itself.

    April 20, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  12. Anthony Thomas

    This just shows that the Democrats cannot govern. They have embarrassed the president, who just publicly encourage them to pass the legislation over the weekend. These idiots should have just pass the same bill that the Senate last year, thus sending it directly to the president for his signature.

    April 20, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  13. Nini

    I have never held a gun in my hand.
    I have never owned a gun.

    But I support our Constitution and I am glad for this Victory.

    April 20, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  14. Annie, Atlanta

    If I were in charge I would have removed the gun control provision in the bill and given the good people of Washington DC representation. It doesn't take rocket science, guys. Why do we continue to pay them large amounts of money for being stupid? Worse yet, why do we keep voting for them?

    April 20, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  15. Broad

    That is why their crime rate is sky high. Might as well be unarmed peasants. I live in a part of the country where most people have home protection and that is a deterrent. Criminals do not want to break into someone’s home with a gun pointed at them when they come in. To bad DC residents don't have a choice like the rest of the country.

    April 20, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  16. John Tighe

    How is this a victory for the gun nuts? The ban is still in effect isn't it?

    April 20, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  17. Timothy

    This is pitiful. The DC leadership would rather maintain failed gun control laws than allow their citizens to have representation in the House. Why does the notion of law abiding citizens owning firearms put so much fear into big city politicians?

    April 20, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  18. miles1967

    Republicans and the NRA should be ashamed of themselves...

    April 20, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  19. Wisconsonite

    Good for the Democrats for sticking to their guns . . . so to speak. I really wish that Congressmen could not (and I'm speaking about either party right now) add ammendments to bills which have nothing to do with the original bill . . . just to try to blackmail the other party into passing the ammendment!

    Besides, after the freak-show of gun-totin' idiots on parade YESTERDAY, it is more apparent than ever that gun laws that already exist NEED to stay in existance . . . . especially in our nation's capital!

    April 20, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  20. Victim of GOP Taliban

    The gun nut militias are hyping this up into an assault on the 2nd amendment to justify their activist agenda. If you want to own 100 guns for "self defense" and CCW permits because you feel so threatened when going to pickup groceries, then simply move out of D.C or Chicago. What's the big deal? Only 2 cities in the nation of 300 mil have a ban.

    April 20, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  21. Steph

    Nice try Republicans...what on earth do guns have to do with voting rights. Sad to see how the people of DC continue to be taken advantage of by the people they serve dinner to at local restaurants. Sick and wrong. Give them voting rights without any strings attached!!!!

    April 20, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  22. Stephen Berg

    Most of the time the broader principle should be the winner. That is, in this case the right to representation for D.C. folks should take precedent. However, the lesser issue, by comparison, in this instance, i.e,, gun control, is the more important one. Guns and ammo need to be controlled. Gun totting people are a danger to society. Criminals will always find a way to get guns. How adding non-criminals to the mix of people on the street with guns and expecting less death and maiming defies logic. In the most perverse sense, giving the up vote to include a D.C. voting representative would result in lots more folks getting shot and, I guess, would give that would be representative a greater shot at success because he/she would have fewer constituents to deal with.

    April 20, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  23. harold

    Oh well.. you know how it is in the USA... a Democracy that includes a filibuster rule requiring 60 votes out of 100 in the USA..when a Democracy only requires 51 votes out of 100... Democracy huh....USA?

    April 20, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  24. Obama the Liar

    another victory for the party of 'know' and another sign of the democraps demise come November.

    April 20, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  25. svscnn

    Another bill led to slaughter for its pork content. Oh well, that's politics, right?

    April 20, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
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