Gun law dispute sinks voting rights bill for D.C.

For some residents of the nation's capital, a bill to…

For some residents of the nation’s capital, a bill to give them a voting member of Congress wasn’t worth the price: severely weakened gun laws.

“As much as I want the vote in the city, I think the gun ban is hugely important,” said Betsy Cutler, 41, a paralegal who lives in Adams Morgan, a neighborhood of bars and restaurants where she has heard gunfire more than once.

House members had been expected to vote this week on a bill that would have granted, for the first time, the District of Columbia’s 600,000 residents a voting representative. But politicians said Tuesday they had decided to pull the measure, calling an amendment supported by the National Rifle Association destructive to D.C.’s gun laws.

The NRA pushed to bar the city from prohibiting or interfering with the public carrying of firearms, either concealed or openly. Opponents said the amendment would have made it easy for people to carry firearms without permits and would have stopped D.C. from prohibiting guns in city-controlled buildings.

NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said the measure was needed because the city has not complied with a 2008 Supreme Court ruling requiring it to revise its gun laws.

A federal judge in D.C. recently ruled, however, that limitations on gun ownership that Washington put in place after the ruling were acceptable. Dick Heller, the plaintiff in the original case, had challenged the new regulations.

The voting rights bill would have increased full House membership from 435 to 437, giving D.C. residents a vote while adding a temporary at-large seat for Republican-leaning Utah, which narrowly missed out on getting an extra seat after the 2000 census.

Source: Jessica Gresko for Yahoo! News AP

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