Fenty and Norton's War of Words Over Guns, Votes

Mayor: DC wants vote, even with weakened gun laws

WASHINGTON -- There seems to be escalating tension among D.C. officials over voting rights and gun control.

Mayor Adrian Fenty told the Washington Post he believes District residents support a voting rights bill even if amendments weaken the city's gun control laws.

Fenty told the Washington Post it would be a "tough call" to accept an amendment, but he hopes the city "won't have to make that choice."

Upon hearing that, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton fired back, saying his statement "undercuts the progress we have been making" to get the voting rights bill passed without making changes to the gun control laws. 

She also suggested that he actually read the bill before making statements like he did to the Post.

"He was on a conference call with the Majority Leaders, the Council Chair and me at the very beginning of the NRA episode, but he has not called me to ask about the status or the progress, especially about the conservative pro-gun Democrats who have been helping us," Norton said in a statement. "Perhaps the Mayor has not had time to read the bill, but I have repeatedly emphasized orally and in my written statements that the bill usurps entirely all D.C. mayoral and council jurisdiction over D.C. gun legislation in the future and gives the District’s jurisdiction over guns exclusively to the Congress of the United States, where the NRA has had no trouble maintaining a majority.

The voting rights legislation would give the mostly Democratic District a seat in the House and an additional seat for majority Republican Utah.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer pulled the measure from the House floor two weeks ago, fearing it would be amended.  

The Senate has approved a similar bill with an amendment overturning gun control laws in the city. The D.C. Council passed a resolution opposing the move.

Fenty suggests that gun-related amendments, if adopted with the bill, could be overturned.

Norton, however, has quite a different take.

"Mayor Fenty apparently spoke of coming back another day to remove the gun provision another day," she said. "A reading of the bill will show that there can be no coming back if this amendment is attached."

Perhaps Fenty could have taken the bill with him to read on his free plane ride to Dubai.  Or maybe Norton could have taken some time out of her busy schedule of taping segments for The Daily Show to give Fenty a call to discuss the issues at hand. 

Just a thought. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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