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Opinion

Examiner Local Editorial: Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments owes member jurisdictions an apology

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Opinion,Local Editorial

Local jurisdictions are staging a rare revolt against the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments over its new gun control policy, threatening to withhold hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual dues unless MWCOG reverses itself at its Wednesday meeting.

MWCOG's sole purpose is to provide its 22 members -- all county and municipal governments that support it with their tax dollars -- a place to deal with issues such as air quality, traffic congestion and homeland security on a regional basis. It is not to act as a regional legislature and take political positions on issues not exclusively regional in scope, particularly controversial national issues like Second Amendment rights and gun control.

But on March 13, MWCOG's board did just that when it officially endorsed a gun control position paper by the International Association of Chiefs of Police on a 15-5 roll call vote, with only Loudoun board Chairman Scott York, Fairfax Supervisor Penny Gross, Loudoun Supervisor Matt Letourneau, Gaithersburg Councilwoman Cathy Drzyzgula and Manassas Councilman Jonathan Way voting in opposition.

The IACP, which is known for its radical anti-Second Amendment stance, advocates a national ban on all "assault weapons" and the sale of body armor and bulletproof vests to anybody but sworn law enforcement officers, criminalization of the private sale or transfer of all firearms and the weakening of concealed carry laws like Virginia's.

The gun control resolution is so far afield from MWCOG's own stated mission that Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart called for its complete reversal before his county forks over almost $300,000 in annual dues. To its credit, Prince William has been joined by the boards of Loudoun and Frederick counties and the cities of Fairfax and Manassas. They represent millions of local residents, so their departure from MWCOG will doom it to irrelevance.

MWCOG members who voted for the resolution, including Fairfax board Chairwoman Sharon Bulova, are trying to walk back the damage, but that's not possible. During a recent budget work session, Loudoun's entire board voted to withhold MWCOG dues unless the gun ban resolution is reversed. There's no room for compromise on a measure decried as "inappropriate and disrespectful of the individual positions of the member governments and our law enforcement entities." The only thing left for the MWCOG board to do now is to reverse Resolution R13-13 completely and then apologize for clearly overstepping its bounds.

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