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Old February 25, 2009, 04:49 PM   #1
ZeSpectre
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D.C. Voting Amendment - Merged Threads

D.C. Vote Amendment Would Repeal Gun Laws

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D.C. Vote Amendment Would Repeal Gun Laws

By Mary Beth Sheridan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 25, 2009; 1:34 PM

A Nevada senator introduced an amendment today to the bill to give D.C. a voting member in Congress that tries to weaken the District's gun-control laws.

The D.C. Council has established "onerous and unconstitutional firearms regulations" for residents despite a Supreme Court decision overturning the city's ban on handgun ownership, Sen. John Ensign (R) said on the Senate floor.

His amendment would repeal the gun laws enacted by the city after the court decision last year.

Gun amendments are typically popular in Congress, raising the possibility the measure could succeed.

The amendment was offered during debate on the D.C. voting rights bill, which would add two seats to the House of Representatives: one for the heavily Democratic District, and the other for the next state in line to pick up an additional representative. For the next few years, that seat would go to Republican-leaning Utah.

A Senate vote on the D.C. bill could occur as early as tomorrow. After supporters of the bill won a procedural motion yesterday, the legislation proceeded to the floor. This is the first time in three decades that a D.C. voting rights bill is being considered by the Senate.

The House Judiciary Committee was scheduled to vote today on a similar bill, which would send it to the House floor.
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Old February 25, 2009, 05:21 PM   #2
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The more interesting angle of this is that the Dems are going to pad their lead in the House by adding DC.

And the fact that DC is not even a state... that's reprehensible.

Seems to me a Constitutional Amendment would be necessary to give DC a vote in the House.

Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution:

The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.



Doesn't say anything about Federal Districts or Territories getting representatives in the House.

I smell a SCOTUS challenge.


ETA: Congress definitely didn't want DC to have House or Senate votes as of 1961, according to Amendment 23 to the Constitution:

The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct: A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.

They would have included such wording in this amendment, otherwise.

I'll be raising holy heck with my representatives over this, I'm certain.
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Old February 25, 2009, 05:27 PM   #3
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Makes me glad i voted for Ensign.


Unfortunately, efforts to unseat Reid were not as successful...
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Old February 25, 2009, 05:40 PM   #4
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the Dems are going to pad their lead in the House by adding DC.
That was my first thought also, but Utah is getting another one at the same time. It's a wash.
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Old February 25, 2009, 05:46 PM   #5
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It won't always be a wash.

As California bleeds into Utah, Nevada, and AZ, so will their politics.

DC, on the other hand...

My only hope is this makes the bill un-appealing enough to the libs that they decide to deep-six it.

Although... I think there is a strong case to deny the DC rep via Constitutional challenge, but still pick up the Utah rep. I could go along with that and a repeal of DC gun laws.
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Old February 25, 2009, 08:11 PM   #6
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The fact that residents of DC have NO representation at the national level is pretty scabrous. While the vast majority of residents are Dems, I suppose in simple fairness they ought to have a say in affairs. And given the crime situation, who knows, they might well prefer something in the way of self-protection by and by.

BTW, it's pretty clear that all this is race-based.
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Old February 25, 2009, 09:51 PM   #7
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BTW, it's pretty clear that all this is race-based.
???

That's a pretty loaded statement without presenting any backing to it. 'splain, please.

I'll happily admit to discrimination based upon someone's espoused political beliefs... that's my right to do so. However nothing in this thread touches on race whatsoever.

Frankly, I'm tired of people pulling out the voodoo race card any time Constitutional process is called into question.

So... got anything to back that statement up with?
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Old February 25, 2009, 10:07 PM   #8
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"BTW, it's pretty clear that all this is race-based."



Right.

The Founding Fathers and the Framers got out their all-seeing crystal balls 200+ years ago and said "You know, they're slaves now, but in 200 years Washington, DC, will be primarily populated by free blacks, so let's stick it to them now with a little clause in the Constitution say says that anyone who lives in DC doesn't have voting representation on Congress. It's a good way to keep the black man down."

Sigh.
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Old February 25, 2009, 11:37 PM   #9
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bob. a , race-based? I missed something. Trying to figure that statement out. Are you by chance meaning: race =`s Republican vs Democrat? As requested please explain.
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Old February 25, 2009, 11:59 PM   #10
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Well, folks, population of Washington DC is about 75% African-American. It was only in the 1970s that they were permitted to vote for, and be governed by, their own local officials. Until that time, they had no vote, and were controlled by the US Congress. That includes having any say as to how and where thier tax money was allocated.

At that time, around the time that the concept of civil rights was being promulgated by Pres Johnson (and you may recall that a lot of people all over the country didn't care for the idea at all), DC was ruled by a mayor appointed by congress. Congress itself had a lot of folks in it who didn't think that black folk could successfully govern themselves, much less run a city, much less the capital city of the US.

It took a decade or two before the city was permitted to vote for end elect its own officials. Even now, visitors to the city are sometimes surprised to see the local license plates, which read "Taxation Without Representation". (You may remember this slogan from about 225 years ago). Folks in the area like to refer to the District as the "Last Colony", but of course we still have Puerto Rico and American Samoa, also governed by the US and also pretty well unrepresented at the national level.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to jump to the conclusion that many of the folks who do represent their districts at the national level did not care to permit the locals to have too much say, and that the reasons might well be based on what you might call local color. Certainly the locals feel that way. While your mileage may differ on the subject, you'd be hard pressed to convince most of the city's residents that they would still be second-class citizens if the demographics were less melanin-enhanced.

Lord knows that "Home Rule", which is the buzzword for letting the people who live here govern themselves, has not produced a model of local govt. Still, it must be remembered that Congress still provides much of the city's funds. These funds are meant to compensate the city govt for services that are provided for the Federal presence, and to account for the fact that a large amount of local real estate is not subject to taxation, belonging as it does to the federal govt. And of course, in real estate it's Location Location Location. You can bet that it's prime property, all excluded form the tax base. With its hand tightly on the controls of local finance, the city govt must still go hat in hand to Congress to get bucks for roads, schools, police etc.

This might have wandered a bit far afield, but I thought I might as well be comprehensive.

BTW, I no longer live in DC, but to my chagrin I'm not far away, in the Peoples' Republic of Maryland, where I am not permitted to protect myself or my family outside my home. Interestingly enough, while I was a District resident I could have purchased a handgun, and it'd be grandfathered legal, though of course it couldn't have been loaded or able to be used for more than a paperweight until Heller.

Many of you folks are pretty lucky, living where you do, and having a full range of constitutional rights. Someday I hope to join you, one way or another.
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Old February 26, 2009, 12:18 AM   #11
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Well, folks, population of Washington DC is about 75% African-American. It was only in the 1970s that they were permitted to vote for, and be governed by, their own local officials. Until that time, they had no vote, and were controlled by the US Congress. That includes having any say as to how and where thier tax money was allocated.
So all them white folks that lived there from 1800 to 1970 got to secretly vote just to spite them black folks that came along later?

DC was not always 75% black. Some historical perspective would be a good thing to have when discussing constitutional matters.

The facts are... DC is not a State. It's not a State for a reason... it's the seat of federal government. Frankly, it's small enough that no one should be living in it except Congress, the President and the Supremes. Everyone can commute from Virginia and Maryland.

It is unconstitutional for DC to have a Senator or a Representative. That's the facts. No "color" in it, it's been that way since 1788.

If you don't like it, then get 2/3 of the States to approve a change to the Consitution, or get DC turned into a State. But then we have to move the FedGov somewhere else.
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Old February 26, 2009, 01:09 AM   #12
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Well then, let's move it to Arizona. All these lawyers and such make me nervous anyway.

All that BS that I got in civics class doesn't cut it in the real world anyway. Taxation without representation is tyranny? One man, one vote? Actually, it's more like Them As Has, Gets. The lobbyists on K Street make a herd of wild hogs feeding seem like a tea dance. And it's my government they're buying. Wish I could afford it.
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Old February 26, 2009, 08:37 AM   #13
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Wasn't there a (mostly tongue-in-cheek) movement a while back to move the capitol to the actual geophysical center of the country (Lebanon, Kansas if I remember correctly)?
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Old February 26, 2009, 09:21 AM   #14
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DC from its inception was designed to be ruled exclusively by and for Congress. Any DC voting representation to the Congress should be by Constitutional Amendment. Good luck in getting that passed.
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Old February 26, 2009, 10:27 AM   #15
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Quote:
All that BS that I got in civics class doesn't cut it in the real world anyway. Taxation without representation is tyranny? One man, one vote? Actually, it's more like Them As Has, Gets. The lobbyists on K Street make a herd of wild hogs feeding seem like a tea dance. And it's my government they're buying. Wish I could afford it.
The language that created DC called for it to be (if my memory serves correctly) 10 miles by 10 miles square, to be filled with buildings needful to the running of Government, and to equipping and maintaining a Navy and Army, to include forts, munitions storage and shipyards along with other needful things.

It says nothing about McDonalds, Starbucks, welfare housing, discrete high end brothels, lobbyist housing or other tripe that's there now.

The only other people who have any business living in DC, IMO, besides the key 545 people that run our Federal Government, are ambassadors and their staff in embassies and any armed services personnel deployed at forts, shipyards or airbases in DC.

Every single one of those people that are citizens can vote via Absentee Ballot in their true home state.
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Old February 26, 2009, 05:07 PM   #16
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Voting representation for DC bill passes Senate, BUT...

with the admentment that strips a good chunk of DC's gun laws ATTACHED.

Ah, which pill do you swallow, Neo? Red, or Blue?

They're both bitter!




The Senate today passed a bill that for the first time would give the District a full voting member of the House of Representatives. But senators managed to attach an amendment that would scrap most of the District's local gun-control laws.

The 61-37 vote marked the first time in 31 years that the Senate had approved a D.C. voting-rights bill. The addition of the gun language could complicate the bill's passage into law, however, since it will be necessary to reconcile the Senate version of the legislation with the companion bill in the House. Voting-rights supporters hope the gun amendment can be removed in those negotiations.

story continues at the Washington (Com)Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...l?hpid=topnews
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Old February 26, 2009, 05:10 PM   #17
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its unconstitutional anyway isnt it?

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Old February 26, 2009, 05:17 PM   #18
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If allowed to stand unmolested, the next move is for DC to have 2 senators.

Totally unconstitutional.

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Old February 26, 2009, 05:42 PM   #19
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If allowed to stand unmolested, the next move is for DC to have 2 senators.
I think that is the ultimate goal. 1 representative doesn't have as much power and it will not in anyway sway the balance of power in this country.
2 Senators on the other hand will drastically shift the balance of power.

This will certainly be challenged in the courts. If the consitution had intended to give DC representatives and Senators it would have done so explicitly.
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Old February 26, 2009, 05:46 PM   #20
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Not to mention that D.C. is a pretty good source of inane, indefensible federal firearms laws and now that we are working to broaden Heller, the last thing we want to do is help D.C. be more reasonable. In fact, the more outrageous and obstructionist they become, the better it is for us in the long run.
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Old February 26, 2009, 06:05 PM   #21
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Doesn't this bill actually add 2 representatives to the House, 1 for DC and 1 for the next state in line to increase it's representation based on census growth (Utah, most likely)? Thought I read that somewhere.

On balance wouldn't likely shift the balance of power in the house since the Utah rep would likely be Republican.

Doesn't make it constitutional though..........
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Old February 26, 2009, 06:13 PM   #22
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Giving reps to DC does seem unconstitutional. With that said, if they pass this and the big O signs it, I suspect the Supreme Court would toss that part of the law onto the scrap heap of history. That would leave the gun part standing. Food for thought.
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Old February 26, 2009, 06:17 PM   #23
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Not to mention that D.C. is a pretty good source of inane, indefensible federal firearms laws and now that we are working to broaden Heller, the last thing we want to do is help D.C. be more reasonable. In fact, the more outrageous and obstructionist they become, the better it is for us in the long run.
Good point.

DC makes an easy target for court challenges to expand and further define the right to bear arms at leadt until incorporation is decided.
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Old February 26, 2009, 07:38 PM   #24
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Article II, Section 1, clause 2:
No Person shall be a Representative who shall not ... when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

Article III, Section 1, clause 2:
No person shall be a Senator who shall not ... when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

Any way you try to read this, the Constitution requires a Representative or a Senator to be a resident of the State from which he was chosen. Any change to this requires a Constitutional Amendment. Mere legislation cannot make D.C. a State. Mere legislation cannot give a Constitutionally defined Federal Enclave representation within the Congress.
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Old February 26, 2009, 08:24 PM   #25
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The DC Voting Rights Act must have been huge for the Democrats.

The Senate agreed to the following amendments:
S.Amdt. 573 - Fairness Doctrine Prohibited
S.Amdt. 575 - 2nd Amendment Enforcement Act (DC)

They also rejected the following amendments:
S.Amdt. 582 - .50 BMG Sniper Rifle (NFA classification)
S.Amdt. 583 - Foreign Convictions (firearms disability)
S.Amdt. 586 - Misdemeanor Sex Offense Against Minor (firearms disability)
S.Amdt. 589 - AG Firearms Authority re: Terrorists
S.Amdt. 590 - Gun Show Loophole Closing

I think it is particularly important to be familiar with the proposed amendments that were rejected. They represent the "canned" legislation that has not been filed as a separate bill, but are held in waiting to attach to another bill as an amendment. As such, I think they are more dangerous than the separate bill proposals.
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