Interfaith letter opposes effort to ‘undermine’ D.C. gun laws


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Any attempt to "undermine" Washington’s ability to regulate firearms should not be included in the District of Columbia’s voting rights legislation, an interfaith coalition said.

In a letter to the U.S. Senate, the 31-member group, organized by the Jewish Coalition for Public Affairs and including more than a dozen Jewish organizations, said that "though proponents of such legislation claim it would restore Second Amendment rights in the District of Columbia, in actuality it prevents the 600,000 District of Columbia residents from enacting comprehensive, constitutional, common-sense regulations to reduce gun violence and ensure their community’s safety."

On Wednesday, Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) introduced an amendment that would repeal all of the district’s gun laws enacted since the Supreme Court overturned Washington’s law banning handguns last year.

The Senate could vote on a final version of the voting rights bill this week after a cloture vote limiting debate on the bill succeeded Tuesday. The legislation would permanently add two seats to the U.S. House of Representatives, one to the heavily Democratic District of Columbia and the other to Republican-leaning Utah until reapportionment in 2012. Utah had narrowly missed acquiring an additional seat after the last reapportionment in 2002.

In addition to JCPA, Jewish signatories include the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, Hadassah, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, Jewish Women’s International, Jews United for Justice, the National Council of Jewish Women, Na’amat USA, the Union of Reform Judaism, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Women of Reform Judaism, Women’s League of Conservative Judaism and Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring.

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