House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) abandoned the long-sought legislation with the blessing of Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), who had pushed for the measure. Hoyer said they pulled the bill because of an amendment that would have repealed most of the District’s gun-control laws and had caused deep divisions among city leaders, including two Democratic mayoral rivals, incumbent Adrian M. Fenty and D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray.
“The price was too high,” Hoyer explained during a news briefing in which he said he was “profoundly disappointed” at “his inability to get this legislation passed.”
It was an extraordinary reversal that came less than a week after Hoyer said he would revive the legislation on the House floor as early as Wednesday in spite of the gun language. Norton said she asked Hoyer to change course when she learned that gun-rights advocates were seeking to further loosen the city’s firearms laws.
Norton said the “egregious changes” by Reps. Travis Childers (D-Miss.) and Mark Souder (R-Ind.) would “directly proliferate guns throughout the District” in addition to eroding support for the bill among liberal Democrats, particularly in the Senate. Norton said that legislation would have restricted the District from prohibiting concealed or openly carried firearms.