D.C.-area governments shun Obama's gun control

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

In a stunning rebuke to President Obama, four Washington-area governments, one just 19 miles from the White House, have rejected his sweeping anti-gun agenda and are threatening to quit a regional government group pushing for Democratic-style gun control.

Loudoun County, Va., Frederick County, Md., Manassas City, Va., and Fairfax City, Va., have all signaled that they oppose a gun control measure adopted by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, with Loudoun, Frederick and Manassas City threatening to stop funding the influential group.

"The problem is if COG becomes a tool by which those who have a political agenda bring forward issues which are not unique to the D.C. region but are controversial, hot-button political issues, it will completely destroy the organization," Loudoun Supervisor Matthew Letourneau told Secrets.

Recently, COG endorsed broad gun control measures pushed by the International Association of Police Chiefs, including resumption of an assault weapons ban and other efforts promoted by the president.

Letourneau said that Loudoun officials do not support such sweeping gun control, and in fact just approved clay pigeon shooting in the more congested eastern side of the county. He called the police chiefs resolution "an urban-based style of approach" to gun control.

The president of Frederick County's Board of Commissioners, Blaine Young, said COG was overstepping its bounds, that local law enforcement officials haven't endorsed the president's plan, and that there's no proof gun control will curb gun violence.

Their rejection mirrors that of some 15 state sheriff associations that have threatened to ignore the president's gun control laws if they go into effect.

The Loudoun County rebuke is especially painful to the president: Obama turned the county Democratic blue in 2012, has used Loudoun businesses for photo ops, and even dispatched his wife to rally voters in Leesburg, Va., last fall.

A COG spokeswoman said the angry reaction has "sparked a discussion" among board members, though it is not clear if they will reconsider their vote to back gun control.