Pro-gun Democrats ask "how many more times they'd have to face such votes"
Democrats may enjoy a near filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, but when it comes to voting on guns, it's a party divided. In February, 22 Senate Democrats joined most Republicans to amend a District of Columbia voting rights bill so that it essentially forbids the city from restricting gun ownership. And when a GOP-backed amendment came up this week on credit card legislation that would allow carrying concealed loaded weapons in national parks, 27 Democrats voted for it.
"Initially, it looked like we might stop that amendment," says Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the party's chief vote counter. "There were some encouraging votes early on, but then the momentum started moving in the other direction and became a landslide. Half of our caucus voted for it."
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Durbin says some fellow Democrats who did vote for loaded guns in national parks asked him later how many more times they'd have to face such votes. His answer: I don't know. Tellingly, all but one of the seven Democrats elected in November to seats previously held by Republicans voted for the gun measure. . . . .
The WSJ has this summary of their take on things:
By 67-29, the Senate passed Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn's amendment to let law-abiding visitors carry legal firearms into national parks. This overturns a 1983 federal rule requiring that firearms be kept unloaded and in an inaccessible place such as a trunk of a car. The provision (now part of credit-card legislation) protects Second Amendment rights, and it preserves the right of states to pass firearm laws that apply consistently, even on federal lands.
As recently as the 1990s, guns in parks legislation would have provoked a Congressional uproar. But gun control has proven to be a consistent political loser, and last year the Supreme Court cast doubt on state gun bans. No fewer than 27 Democrats voted for Mr. Coburn's amendment, and the ayes included Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is up for re-election in Nevada next year.
Congressional liberals are furious, and are threatening to hold up the credit-card bill, much as they have held up Washington, D.C. voting-rights legislation to which Republicans attached gun-owner protections. Holding up both bad bills forever would be fine with us, but in any case it's clear liberals have lost the gun control debate even within their own party.
Now House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer weighs in:
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer admits that Democrats are conceding the gun issue to Republicans for now.
Republicans have been increasingly using pro-gun amendments to throw a wrench into Democratic legislation, attaching amendments to seemingly unrelated bills allowing for expanded gun carrying privileges in national parks.
The tactic seems to be working, with Democrats acknowledging that pro-gun members rule in both chambers.
"There clearly is a majority in both houses that the Second Amendment rights ... that relate to the national parks are too restricted," Hoyer told reporters Tuesday. "The reality is that a majority in both houses agree with that position." . . . .