Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has declared that he will bring the Democratic gun control package to the floor of the Senate for a vote when senators return from their Easter break next week. We have already detailed Reid's intention to allow Dianne Feinstein to offer her "assault weapons" and magazine bans as amendments to a less aggressive package, thereby giving senators plenty of really bad stuff to vote against as proof that they're not "anti-gun" before they turn around and vote for a package of less onerous-sounding anti-gun infringements. The idea is to complicate, confuse and obfuscate in hopes of squeaking out a win for "universal background checks" and expanded "anti-trafficking" provisions – or at the very least, painting the evil Republicans as supporters of rapists, murderers, terrorists and wife-beaters if they can effectively stop the bill.
As he has in the past, Reid will give Democrats from more conservative states a pass to vote no on the more aggressive provisions, but he will do everything in his power to force all members of his party to vote in favor of the final package. Reid is likely to vote against the Feinstein amendments himself, but he will pull out all the stops if he sees any way of handing President Obama a Senate victory on guns – including bribes and blackmail, as we saw during the votes on Obamacare.
While there is ostensibly a pro-rights majority in the Senate, many of the Democrats who ran on a pro-rights platform with good grades from the NRA have signaled a willingness to support Reid's base package. Throw in anti-rights Republican Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and "moderates" and "mavericks" like Susan Collins, R-Maine, and John McCain, R-Ariz., and there's potential for just about anything to happen.
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Gun Owners of America is predicting a Reid-controlled propaganda fest depicting the base bill as a moderate proposal of "common sense" provisions to protect women and save children, which only the most heartless of bought-and-paid-for Republican NRA shills could possibly oppose – and the media circus will undoubtedly run full tilt with that message. If that is allowed to happen, there is a high probability of full support from Democrats and their "Independent" allies, and a good chance of several defections among the Republicans. That's why the whole charade must be stopped before it ever gets started – with a filibuster.
Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, have pledged to mount a filibuster in opposition to the "motion to proceed" to debate on the gun package. To overcome the filibuster, Reid would need 60 votes. That means he would need five Republicans to cross the line. I can think of three that are probable and at least three more possibles – using the excuse that the bill deserves a fair debate, or in the spirit of Senate collegiality, etc. An additional challenge in keeping the Republicans unified is the fact that the NRA, as a rule, doesn't score "procedural" votes. That means that these Republicans could cross the line and open the door to passage of the gun control package without fearing any negative impact from the NRA.
Republicans need to be reminded that there is NO political gain from supporting an override of a filibuster and allowing this anti-rights package to come to the floor. They need to be reminded that there is NO political gain in voting for any part of the anti-rights package, and there is NO negative impact from voting against the package. There are no hordes of anti-gun voters waiting to punish anyone who crosses them. There are however millions of pro-gun voters who vote guns first, and they will be watching the events next week very closely. Anyone who casts any vote of support for Obama's anti-rights package – or a vote to help bring it to the floor – will be targeted by GunVoters as an enemy of the Second Amendment, and we will do our utmost to make sure those senators are never elected to any public office again.
The stage is set, and Republicans have the opportunity to contain this fight to a single, uncomplicated and unequivocal vote that clearly divides the camps between supporters of gun rights and opponents of gun rights. Whether Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and the Republican leadership have the brains and balls to play this smart and weather the media storm that will undoubtedly ensue could very well determine whether there will be a Republican majority in the Senate any time soon. GunVoters are notorious for punishing betrayal even more zealously than they go after acknowledged enemies.
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Better to guide senators to the right decision than to punish them after a wrong one. Make the call and make sure your senators are sticking to the straight and narrow. The Senate switchboard number is 202-224-3121.