U.S. Senate Stands with the NRA against the UN’s ATT? Really?

You’ve got to hand it to the NRA. At a moment when the news is all-budget, all-the-time, the NRA has succeeded in getting the U.S. Senate to Take A Stand against the UN’s arms treaty, which appears to be leaning toward regulating the private ownership of guns. How? They’ve asked each member to stand up and be counted, by sending a letter expressing their position on the issue to President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton. Would that this were all of the story. 

Getting 50 Senators to agree to do anything but say “no” is a pretty good trick nowadays. Aside from voting along party lines (see: “Cut, Cap and Balance”) to vote something down, the Senate seems a great place to get nothing done. This, however, does not deter the NRA one whit. And say what you like about LaPierre, Cox & Co., when it comes time to lean on some elected officials, these guys deliver the goods. Imagine you’re a Senator. You’re not really pro-gun or anti-gun. You’d prefer not to think about it at all. But current events conspire against you. You’ve become adept at position-avoidance. Say one thing to one group, another to another, and then be missing when it’s time to vote. (Hey – for fun, check out Obama’s Senate voting record. I think he may hold the record for not taking a position – or vote – on issues.)

So you’re doing great NOT ticking off your gun-loving constituents and their opposite numbers in the anti-gun lobby. Then the NRA comes a-knocking. “We’d like you to sign this letter, stating that you’ll oppose ratification on the UN’s ATT treaty unless it specifically exempts private gun ownership.” Whoops. Now you have a decision to make. Do you fold like a house o’ cards, play it the NRA’s way, and live to see another election, or do you kick the can down the road, hoping you won’t raise the ire of the single most-powerful lobby in all of Washington D.C.? If you are 50 members of that august body, you’ll fall in line with the NRA. That’s 50 so far. No idea yet if that’s the extent of their haul, or if they’re leaning on the other 50. Certainly, you can expect some of them to Just Say No to the NRA. Feinstein, Schumer, and that bunch. They could care less. But others either need the NRA’s help to stay in office, or at the least, need the NRA to stay out of things, and maintain low tones.

The NRA helpfully issued a press release on this coup today. Fifty Senators is enough to kill any treaty, which requires a 2/3rds majority vote. That is, fifty’s enough, if none of those Senators defect. (In Washington, rare is the politician that stays bought.) So I’d really like to see the list of the NRA’s Senate pals. Only they didn’t release that. I suspect, they sat on the info to give some of the, shall we say “marginally-enthusiastic” members some much-needed cover, at least for now.

But the one name I’d love to see if it is on the list is that of the Senat Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV). If you’ll recall, Harry “Light-in-the-loafers” Reid voiced some support for the NRA in his last, hotly-contended race, and succeeded in getting some major porkage for the NRA’s Country Club Range facility in Nevada. Reid is no friend to the 2nd Amendment, but the NRA seemingly overlooked that at election time. So my question stands – did Harry Reid sign a letter opposing the treaty, or not?