As the meat of various civilian disarmament proposals passes through the legislative sausage making mash-up, all eyes are on the Senate Judiciary Committee to see what emerges. As Sam Stein laid out in yesterday’s HuffPo, the assault weapons ban may have to die so that other gun control measures might live to receive a Presidential signature. The big question is how the Judiciary work product is ultimately crafted. From wsj.com: “Senate Democratic leaders expect a gun bill to move to the Senate floor that includes most of the proposals backed by President Barack Obama, with the notable exception of a ban on military-style, semiautomatic weapons, a top aide to Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said.” But while that would seem to be a good thing, just because the Judiciary kielbasa doesn’t include an AWB in the mix doesn’t necessarily mean it’s dead . . .
Back to HuffPo:
If the bill emerges from the Judiciary Committee without an assault weapons ban in it, then Reid will allow for the ban to be introduced as an amendment on the Senate floor. If the bill emerges from the Judiciary Committee with an assault weapons ban in it, the expectation is that Reid will allow for a vote to strip it out. Leadership prefers the former, as it would give more conservative Democrats the chance to publicly say they beat back the ban. If the latter were to take place, it would put Reid in an uncomfortable position of allowing for the procedural axing of a measure that remains popular in the party.
And we sure wouldn’t want Harry to be uncomfortable. Did you catch that, though? If the bill comes out of Judiciary sans AWB, moderate Dems and those in swing states will (after breathing a HUGE sigh of relief) be able to throw their hands up and say, “Gee, I tried to ban those scary weapons of war to keep them off of our streets, but he NRA is just too powerful!”
As for the GOP . . .
A senior aide to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Republican support would depend on what the bill says. Mr. McConnell has said he would closely watch what happens in the Judiciary Committee.
I know I feel better. You?