Monday, April 19, 2010

We've come too far to compromise now

There so many hot topics this week and it's only Monday. I was in the Wilson Building for the mark-up on the District Facilities Master Plan Bill. It finished early, so I popped into the Public Roundtable on the March 30th shootings in SE. Miss V will write thoughts on that hearing later in the week. In that hearing, Councilmember-at-large Mendelson asked some of the panelist about their thoughts on the repeal of the DC gun laws attached to the DC Vote Bill which is going to the House this week for vote.

No one asked my opinion, so I will take my blog as an opportunity to offer it. I am completely and utterly against the gun law amendment that is attached to it. Violence is already bad enough with the gun laws that we have in place. In some situations, the gun laws allow MPD to get known drugdealers off the streets when they can't get enough evidence to charge them with distribution. It is absurd that we are allowing non-DC residents the power to push this amendment on us.

Furthermore, I'm extremely disappointed in Congresswoman Norton, Mayor Fenty, and President Obama for voicing their support in the Bill as it stands. I know it has been a long fight, but some times you have to say "No Compromise" and keep fighting. I'm for compromise, but getting representation at the expense of safety doesn't seem like a fair trade-off.

Washington Post quoted Congresswoman Norton from a statement she made last year: "There is no choice between a vote for American citizens and a completely unrelated and reckless gun bill . . . . That is an absurd exchange that no one would accept." Today a statement on her website reads: "I have given this fight all that I had. There is nothing left to do but make the hard decision. I believe residents would not want us to pass up this once-in-a-life-time opportunity for the vote they have sought for more than two centuries."

I encourage you to email your views to the Congresswoman. If you don't know what to say, you can thank my neighbor for example language.

Dear Honorable Congresswoman Norton,

My name is [Name], and I am a resident of Ward [x]. I have lived in [neighborhood] for the last [x] years. I am very aware of the "taxation without representation" reality of the District, which is why I am pleased to learn of the DC Voting Rights bill that is currently being endorsed by President Obama. This bill will give DC residents the voice that they are entitled to, and will help the city move forward on local issues. As a taxpayer, I am very excited to see the that the tide is finally changing in the right direction; but as a DC resident, I am very concerned about how the passing of this bill will lead to the decimation of DC's gun laws, per the efforts of Senator John Ensign.

First of all, DC is a federal city, and I don't understand how Congress would want to endorse the repealing of gun laws that help to keep our communities safe. Secondly, many communities east of the Anacostia River, are in the midst of upswing, but the reality is that crime continues to be a major problem. It was not that long ago that nine people were shot on South Capitol Street in Ward 8. The socioeconomic problems in Wards 7 and 8 are being addressed and conditions continue to improve, but we need gun laws to help keep our streets safe...especially for our children. And I am not just speaking on behalf of Ward [x], but rather as a resident of DC. We need safe streets...and that includes all streets in SE, SW, NE and NW.

If our guns laws are eliminated, all of our communities are at risk! I would encourage Senator Ensign to reevaluate his efforts on this bill. I don't believe that DC taxpayers should finally get the voice that they deserve at a cost. Safe streets equals safe communities, which also means future growth with the hopes of increased prosperity. Let's not take one step forward and two steps back!

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and I look forward to your response.


[Your Name]
Concerned and Proud Resident of DC


  1. I do not feel strongly about the gun control part of the bill, because - from what I can tell - there is nothing keeping criminals from getting guns to commit crimes. I just don't think it will make a difference in the overall scheme of things, when balanced against the "vote" that we stand to lose.

    In my opinion, take the "vote".

  2. I respect that opinion. For me it's less about the repeal of gun laws and more about DC will lose it's ability to control gun laws at the local level. It's one of those things that seems like a good deal now, but come back to bite us in the future. The criminals do have the guns, but as I stated some times those gun laws allow police to charge drugdealers and other criminals if they can't get other charges to stick.

    At the end of the day, I've come to accept that my little opinion doesn't matter too much.

  3. I agree with Ms. V. Think about it like this...our current laws are in place to maintain civility in our communities. There are good citizens that will do the right thing, no matter what the laws say. There are others who don't care...those that will commit crimes regardless of the laws. And finally, there are some people who intend to do crime, but don't because of the laws. Since everyone does not have the same value system, then the existence of laws is absolutely critical. The removal of gun laws might lead to more is not only about getting guns out of the hands of those that already have them, but also about deterring those that are on the brink of going down the wrong path. Anacostiaque - a question for you...if it was legal to steal cars tomorrow, would you do it? If your answer is yes, then it is a good thing that we have laws in place to keep "potential car thieves" like you away from my ride!

    Bottom line - To accept this vote is like saying that we must compromise the safety of our communities to have a voice. Let's work on gaining our voice without the risk of losing more members of the next generation (as we did recently due to the South Capitol Street shootings). Why have a collective voice if there might be fewer people around to use it?