Just about one year ago, when legislation to give the residents of Washington D.C. the “right to bear arms” was being debated before the U.S. Supreme Court, in a Letter published by the Los Angeles Times, I wrote:
I am well aware that the landmark case presently before the Supreme Court, a case that ostensibly seeks to apply the 2nd Amendment to residents of the District of Columbia will have a significant effect on gun-control legislation laws, far beyond the district.
It would be nice, however, if the same people and organizations, such as Vice President Dick Cheney and his hunting partners, who so generously want to give district residents the “right to keep and bear arms,” would work just as zealously to give the same Americans a far more fundamental right: the right to elect a voting representative in Congress.
As you know, in June of last year, in a landmark decision—Columbia vs. Heller—the Supreme Court struck down the 32-year-old ban on individuals in the District of Columbia having handguns in their homes. As I mention in my letter, this decision has had and will have significant effects on gun-control legislation laws, far beyond the district.
While the Cheney-Bush administration fought so hard—and successfully—to give Washington D.C. residents the right to have handguns in their homes, they fought every step of the way moves to give these same residents that far more fundamental right: the right to elect a voting representative in Congress.
Well, the New York Times reports today that “This could be the year that Washington gets a voting member of Congress.”:
On Wednesday, a Senate committee approved a bill to give the city a voting member of the House of Representatives, clearing the way for the full chamber to take up the matter in the coming weeks.
The legislation would permanently expand the 435-member House by two seats. One seat would go to Washington and the other to Utah, which narrowly missed getting an additional seat after the last census. Utah, which traditionally leans Republican, now has one Democrat and two Republicans in the House.
A similar bill passed in the House in 2007, but the Senate version received only 57 of the 60 necessary votes.
This year, however, with a strong Democratic majority in both houses, supporters of the measure are hopeful — particularly because President Obama, a co-sponsor of the 2007 bill, has said his stance is unchanged.
Of course, Republicans continue to oppose such a measure tooth and nail:
The Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, has led opposition to the bill , saying it is unconstitutional and that proponents first must pass a constitutional amendment. Republican opponents of the legislation also fear that giving Washington a House member will eventually lead to the city getting two senators, both of whom likely would be Democrats.
Even Republican leaning Lieberman says: “Men and women of the district have fought bravely in our wars, many giving their lives in defense of our country, yet they have no vote on the serious questions of war and peace…”
Well said, Mr. Lieberman. Perhaps you are back on the right page.
Perhaps district residents will now finally have representation to go along with their newly won gun rights.
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.