D.C. Vote Allies Rally Against Guns

Posted April 21, 2009 at 6:34pm

Chants of, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, the gun amendment’s got to go,— could be heard on Tuesday, as about 75 people gathered at the corner of Independence and New Jersey avenues Southeast to protest an amendment attached to the D.C. House Voting Rights Act that would strip the city’s gun laws.

“What really pisses me off is before I go into the building I get searched for guns,— D.C. Shadow Sen. Paul Strauss said at the rally, referring to the Capitol. “How dare these guys block guns from their workplace but put it back in the workplace of others.—

The act, which would give the District a full voting representative in the House, passed the Senate earlier this year, but not before Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) attached a “poison pill— amendment that would overturn almost all of the city’s gun laws.

The rally was peppered with people from various organizations including DC Vote, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and Jews for Justice. Some appeared to be there to lobby for the vote, while others were there to protest gun violence.

“I moved to D.C. 17 years ago and the first time I was upset about an issue and realized that there was nobody to call or write, I just said, This is not right,’— said Ann Hoffman, who resides in the Chevy Chase neighborhood and was representing Jews for Justice. “I feel emasculated. I feel abused.—

The protesters banged on drums and other noisemakers as they marched in a circle on Independence Avenue, chanting. Speakers, including D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) and Strauss, took turns addressing the crowd through a bullhorn.

“After so many years of working so hard, you deserve better than the fight we are having,— Norton told the crowd as it erupted into cheers. “In order to have a vote you would have to lose the right to have your council and your mayor [protect you]. That is not a fair exchange!—

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) has said that he expects the bill to reach the House floor before the end of May.