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This afternoon, At-Large Councilmember Phil Mendelson sent out a press release urging for a voting rights bill that does not include that pesky gun amendment. Fenty said in a Post interview that we should bite the bullet on this one.

Mendelson ain’t backing down from the NRA lobby. The chair of the Judiciary Committee, which oversees police and crime issues, thinks Fenty is wrong to accept the gun amendment.

Here’s what the councilmember said in a statement released today:

“Today, Councilmember Phil Mendelson (D, At-Large) again stressed the critical importance of ensuring that the DC Voting Rights Act is free of a dangerous NRA amendment that would put the lives of District residents at risk.

The NRA is giddy over the so-called ‘Second Amendment Enforcement Act’ – an amendment to the DC Voting Rights Act.  The amendment, introduced by Senator Ensign, would repeal most of the District’s gun control law, a law which was revised in response to the Supreme Court decision in DC v. Heller. This amendment is reckless.  It would:

– hand a dangerous firearm to persons with a history of violent behavior or domestic violence;
– result in the proliferation of assault-style weapons;
– hamstring Chief Lanier’s ability to arrest chronic gun offenses, because possessing unregistered weapons will not be illegal;
– make it unnecessarily difficult for police to trace guns – unregistered guns – used in crimes; and
– make it more difficult for Chief Lanier to be proactive about gun violence, because federal law only records gun information such as ballistics after a crime has occurred.

Residents of the District of Columbia should not have to choose between representation and public safety.  It’s disgraceful that the NRA is using the District as a political football in its national quest to weaken gun control.

Now more than ever, we must stand united for a vote in Congress, and against this reckless assault on our safety.  The Council and the region have called for a clean bill. There must be no gun amendment.”