Norton Will ‘Never Accept’ Gun Amendment

Posted April 6, 2009 at 7:38pm

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) said Monday that she would “never accept— a controversial gun amendment to the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act, despite warning last week that there was a possibility the amendment would be attached and become law.“I will never accept it. That doesn’t mean that the Majority Leader’s promise to bring it to the floor— will disappear, she said Monday in an interview with Roll Call.But Norton also asserted that she would never have to decide whether to vote for the bill if the amendment is included because Members will recognize the amendment’s repercussions.“I think the amendment is outrageously dangerous, and I’ll never have to accept it,— she said. “I’m saying I will never have to make that choice.—The amendment would wipe out most of the District’s gun laws, including the gun registration requirement and the ban on residents owning AK-47s. The provision is already attached to the Senate-passed version of the legislation, which would give the District its first-ever voting Representative. It passed easily in the Senate in February, 62-36.When it became clear that Republicans would offer a similar amendment in the House, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) pulled the voting rights act from the calendar. Ever since, voting rights advocates have been working to convince centrist and conservative Democrats to vote for a “closed rule,— which would prohibit such an amendment from being attached. But they’ve had trouble, partly because the National Rifle Association has reportedly threatened to view such a vote as anti-gun-rights.A bill similar to the amendment easily passed the House last year. But on Monday, Norton asserted that very few Members would vote for it if they knew what it would do.“My view is that no self-respecting Member of the House or the Senate would pass this bill as a standalone or as a rider if they had an opportunity for their staff to look at it,— she said. At a House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee hearing last week, local and federal law enforcement officials agreed that the amendment would have negative effects on the Washington, D.C., area. Officials from the Capitol Police, Metro Transit Police, National Guard, Department of Homeland Security and other agencies said the amendment would complicate training, escalate violence and increase the influx of semi-automatic weapons into the area.“We’re going to pass the D.C. House Voting Rights Act. We’re not going to let anything get in our way,— she said at the hearing, seeming to accept the amendment might be included in the end. “There’s also no question in my mind that if we have this attached to both bills, it’s law.—