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The good of public voting records
4 October 2004 - Los Angeles Times

Letter-writer Mary Ann Morrison decries the House of Representatives’ vote to repeal the Washington, D.C. gun ban on two counts - the safety of citizens and getting politicians on the record - she’s dead wrong on both.

The repeal of the senseless D.C. gun ban will do more to safeguard citizens than any victim disarmament - sorry, "gun control" - law will ever do. Homicides dropped by more than half in the 29 years since the ban’s enactment in 1976, but that’s not anywhere near the whole story, as the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports shows. Over the five years before the ban, D.C.’s murder rate was already in decline, from 37 per 100,000 residents in 1971 to 27 per 100,000 in 1976. Over the next five years, with the ban in place, the murder rate went back up to 35 per 100,000 by 1981. Twenty years later in 2001, D.C. led the nation in murder rate at 46.4 per 100,000 - while Arlington, VA just across the river (but without D.C.’s unconstitutional gun ban) was relatively murder-free at 2.1 per 100,000. Which town would you feel safer living in?

I honestly can’t fathom why any constituent would not want to know how their elected officials are voting, although I can certainly see why politicians wouldn’t want that. If a congressman is afraid to cast a vote on a sensitive issue that might get him voted out of office, shouldn’t it be clear to him that he may not be representing the majority of his constituents? The first question on politicians’ minds shouldn’t be, "Will this get me re-elected?" but instead, "Is this what my constituents want?" In the days before the Constitution was ratified, towns and states actually drafted detailed instructions to their delegates on how they wanted to be represented. Failure to act accordingly resulted in their recall. Voting records are the only way states and districts as populous as today’s can hold their representatives accountable - shame on any congressman or senator who’s afraid to subject their voting record to public scrutiny!

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