DCVRA Reactions

Both Roll Call and the WaPo have pretty good articles on this topic. It looks like the Dems were on board with moving the bill, until there was an attempt to fix DC’s carry laws, which soured the deal. It looks like it would have made DC Alaska carry, but it’s hard to say whether that’s really the case, or whether it was a shall-issue provision. It’s Elanor Holmes Norton, and I doubt she understands the issue in detail.

Why up the ante? I don’t really know, since NRA doesn’t share with me the details of their legislative strategy. I can only speculate what’s going on. There are folks who believe they are conspiring with the GOP to kill the DCVRA, using the gun language as a hammer. I’m not sure why NRA would be all the concerned about DC voting rights (and they shouldn’t be), but it’s quite possible the minority critters are using the gun issue strategically in this manner. If you’re a lobbyist, what are you going to do? “No, we’ll score that vote against you and lower your grade if you offer that that amendment which favors our issue!” You’ll lose credibility quickly if you start doing that.

But either way I think we come out ahead. There’s not much to lose by upping the ante. The worst that happens is we don’t pass anything, and the Court cases challenging DC’s laws go ahead. That’s a slower, and less predictable path, with the possibility of setting bad precedent, but there’s at least a way to move forward. But even if you lose the legislative battle, you win, because the fight reveals useful information. We’ve had a few gunfights in the Senate already, the most important one being when we barely lost on the Thune Amendment. We haven’t had a gunfight in the House because the leadership isn’t allowing votes to come to the floor. Ahead of the 2010 elections, it would be really nice to get some of these newer “pro-gun” mostly Dem politicians on record with a vote. So I could see reasons why NRA wants to pick a fight, rather than just letting the Senate version move ahead without one. This puts the anti-gun leadership in a very tough position, and forces a lot of the newer politicians to put their money where their mouth is.

It sucks that rights of DC residents are tied up in this game, and I’m sympathetic to that frustration, but I think, in the end, one way or another, this is going to work out. We have a lot more options today than we did ten years ago.

16 thoughts on “DCVRA Reactions”

  1. Pity the poor residents of DC. Their actual choices are to push through a constitutional amendment giving them representation in the House and Senate, or to be returned to the gentle care of Maryland.

    Not every state wants to dilute the power of their federal representation, especially with an absolute certainty of two more Democrat Senators and one more Democrat Representative. The question here is, will the Democrats ever have enough power in enough states to push this amendment through enough state legislatures?

    I am equally certain Maryland does not want another urban blight on its state budget. The question here is, can Maryland say “No Thanks!” if the District wants to come back and be part of the state again?

  2. I thought you had said that legislative resolutions were superior to judicial resolutions? Why not remove registration, an AW ban, and the extreme difficulty of simply getting a firearm first and then come back for more later?

    Frankly, this smells.


  3. It smells, but I don’t know of what yet. If it were me, I’d want to get some repeal passed, but I can see the logic of a fight in the house. The question is whether a fight forecloses victory in the end.

    I still would prefer a legislative solution. But at least you do have the courts to fall back on if none of this works out. I prefer legislation, but I’m not against using the courts.

  4. Sebastion,

    Excellent straight forward write up, which, although I don’t agree with you always is why I like your blog.

    Call me a conspiracy nut, but I find it hard to believe that the carry amendment was added without at least the tacit approval of the NRA after seeing their ability to work the back halls on other issues. There could be any number of reasons why the NRA may have done this.

    To me the true test will be if we see any pro-DC gun legislation in the next session. If we do, then I am wrong. If none of the number of opportunities are taken, or pushed by the NRA, then I think we have the answer.

    To date, however, I have not seen anything from the NRA to support DC gun rights that is more than lip service and unrealistic demands.

    I am used to it. DC is used as a punching bag for a number of issues like school vouchers, etc.

    But I am getting tired of waiting.

  5. Oh, and I will disagree with you on “there is not much to lose.” We had the chance to, in one fell swoop, put in place the most sweeping gun law reform of any state or municipality in history…in the Nation’s Capital…at the doorstep of the President. You don’t think that would have sent a message?

  6. Call me a conspiracy nut, but I find it hard to believe that the carry amendment was added without at least the tacit approval of the NRA after seeing their ability to work the back halls on other issues. There could be any number of reasons why the NRA may have done this.

    Your theory is plausible, and I can’t say for a fact that it’s wrong. The big question with it is why NRA would care about DC Voting Rights? I can see why the GOP might want to stop it, but I can’t see why NRA would care.

  7. Oh, and I will disagree with you on “there is not much to lose.”

    What I mean by that is if we fail to get a legislative solution, we don’t lose anything. We just fail to move ahead. And even in that instance we still have the Courts to fall back on.

  8. Sebastion,

    I don’t think the NRA cares about voting rights. I could be as simple as a Congressman saying “Hey, I’ve been good to the NRA. I want to use the gun bill to kill DCVRA. Do me a solid and don’t go against me on this.”

    Or, “If you go along with this, I promise to reintroduce the Thune measure sooner rather than later in the next session.”

  9. It very well could be. I’m not in a position to judge the wisdom or stupidity of what NRA is doing in this case. All I can do is offer possibilities based on what information I do know, which isn’t really more than anyone else who’s not an insider.

  10. One of their lobbyists hangs out at my local DC bar. I’ll try to get him drunk for some details.

  11. You haven’t been to the Tune Inn? Come on, they got a big NRA wallhanging over the door and enough dead animals to drive a PETA supporter to drink. (The owners husband just added a black bear).

  12. Naw, Bfeathers is too wonky. Head up to the Tune Inn next time your are in DC. Big NRA wallhanging over the door, (old non functional) guns on the wall, and tons of ratty trophies.

  13. That dumb thing the call the constitution says that only states get represention and DC is no a state, yet the constitution kin of gets lost in the whole matter, doesn’t it?

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