Travis Childers’ DC gun-rights bill depends on DC voting rights bill

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said today that congressional leaders have given up on trying to approve the D.C. voting rights legislation until the District Council comes to consensus on accepting a companion bill supported by gun-rights supporters.

Hoyer said there was no way to approve the measure without a gun amendment that does away with the District’s strict gun-control laws and makes it difficult for District officials to restrict gun rights in the future. That measure has left local officials and residents divided over whether the right to have a vote in Congress, after more than 200 years of non-voting representation by a delegate, trumps sacrificing control over the city’s gun laws, which are considered some of the strictest in the nation and resulted in a Supreme Court ruling last year overturning the ban on all hand guns.

However, an overwhelming majority of lawmakers in both chambers supported the gun rights amendment, offered in the House by Rep. Travis Childers (D-Miss.) and in the Senate by John Ensign (R-Nev.). Despite the gun-control positions of most leaders in congressional Democratic ranks, the Democrats have had huge electoral successes in the 2006 and 2008 elections by electing pro-gun Democrats from rural and southern regions, who like to appear in campaign commercials toting shotguns.

More than 20 Democrats supported the gun amendment in the Senate, and more than 100 House Democrats supported the gun amendment there.