House Procedure in Action: Pro-Drug War Amendment OK, Pro-Gun Rights Amendment Prohibited

US House of Representatives rules were strictly enforced Tuesday to prevent a full House vote on a pro-gun rights amendment offered by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) despite the earlier incorporation into the bill of a pro-drug war amendment that would also appear to be barred by a strict application of the procedural rule.

Massie’s attempt on the US House of Representatives floor to protect gun rights in the District of Columbia through offering an amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act (HR 5016) was ruled out of order by Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), the floor debate chairman, who ruled:

The Chair finds that this amendment includes language requiring a new determination by the District of Columbia as to the state of Federal firearms law. The gentleman has not shown that this determination is already required.

The amendment, therefore, constitutes legislation in violation of clause 2 of rule XXI.

While supporters of Massie’s amendment may shrug their shoulders and declare “oh well, rules are rules,” in the US House the rules appear to be quite flexible depending on what type of legislating an amendment proposes.

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