By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Every time I hear that gun issues have ground the D.C. voting rights bill to a halt in the House of Representatives, I wonder to myself: Didn't the U.S. Supreme Court already strike down D.C.'s ban on handguns as unconstitutional?
The answer of course is "yes." So why is it still an issue? Well because, despite what some advocates would have you believe, the gun issue isn't about constitutional rights.
I've had a, ahem, running battle with Doug Heye over at The Hill's "Pundits Blog" on the voting rights issue. He wrote:
Robert—you've also argued that the right to keep and bear arms is a "secondary" issue compared to D.C. voting rights. Let me assure you that when someone in the District is the victim of a crime, proper self-defense is their primary concern, not Eleanor Holmes Norton's voting status or committee assignments.
Thanks to the Supreme Court, D.C. citizens can keep and bear arms. They simply have to register them, and cannot have any of the semi-automatic variety. Only radical gun rights advocate suggest these are unconstitutional limitations—and if they are unconstitutional, then under-armed D.C. citizens can gain redress through the courts.
What they can't do is try to gain redress through Congress, where the 600,000 D.C. residents lack a real voice. Which wouldn't stop Congress from dictating what kind of gun laws D.C.'s 600,000 residents should have.
So yes, in this instance the right of representation before government is unquestionably more important than whether a D.C. resident has to register his gun.
My friend Doug advocates that instead of their right to representation in their government, D.C. residents should trade that right for freedom from taxation. I'd bet that voting rights are more popular with D.C. residents than the right to own a gun, so I wonder: Would he trade a gun ban for freedom from taxation?
Keep watching the D.C. voting rights battle; keep in mind that 600,000 Americans are being denied their fundamental rights. And remember that the National Rifle Association used an attempt to solve this basic outrage as a cheap vehicle to advance their agenda.
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