By Peter Granitz
Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives are indicating a voting rights bill could hit the floor as early as this week. Local leaders are forming their opinions on how to proceed if the measure strips the District of its ability to regulate guns.
D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton says Congress needs to proceed with the bill now. She's spent the last year trying to strip the gun language from the Senate-passed version but has failed to do so.
But, D.C. Council chairman Vincent Gray says the federal language regulating guns effectively dismantles the Council. Gray, who is challenging Mayor Adrian Fenty for his post, hints this will be a contentious issue between the two.
"The mayor supported this originally. It's absolutely puzzling as to why anybody would support giving up rights to get a right," says Gray. "As a matter of fact, I think we're giving up more than we ultimately get."
Gray says District residents want stronger gun regulations and public safety is the primary concern. A Washington Post - ABC News poll shows white residents are slightly more likely to support the voting rights bill than African Americans, with the Northwest quadrant of the city showing the most support for it.