Don't tread on D.C.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

It was unpleasantly ironic that The Post chose to publish a letter from a Virginia resident criticizing the D.C. government's position on the voting rights bill proposed in Congress this year ["Voting rights now; gun issue later," June 12]. Both the D.C. Council and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) eventually opposed the House bill that promised the city one vote in the House of Representatives but also would have stripped away nearly all the city's gun laws. Letter writer Robert T. Mansker declared this opposition "preposterous" and called D.C. leaders foolish for failing to seize upon the "gift" of a House vote.

For one thing, the proposed legislation would have inflicted major and long-lasting harm on the District's gun laws, which, whatever the preference of the populace may be in Virginia, are of real (some might say life-or-death) importance to many D.C. residents. The D.C. Council and Ms. Norton were right to oppose it.

More essentially, however, Mr. Mansker is free to vote for both local representatives in his commonwealth's legislature and national representatives and senators in Congress. His views on gun control and all other subjects are represented in his government. D.C. residents, in contrast, are limited to votes for council members whose legislative acts are ultimately subject to congressional veto.

Our views are stifled enough. The D.C. Council needs neither Congress nor Mr. Mansker overseeing its decisions.

Amy S. Tryon, Washington

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