Democrats lack votes (and possibly courage) for assault weapons ban

Apparently it’s going to be a touch slog passing the assault weapons ban in the Senate.  To be fair to Democrats, there hasn’t been any mass shooting of school children in a few weeks, so it’s gotta be really hard finding a way to convince the American that guns are bad.

The Democrats can be thankful at least that the Republican Party, with all of its wacky out-of-touch political positions, is in chaos — otherwise the Democrats would have a problem on their hands. Since most Americans are in favor of an assault weapons ban (74%) it’s not even a radical position to take. The biggest problem facing Democrats is campaign money, and obviously too many Democrats are afraid of either losing it, or of having gun-nut money used against them.

Bloomberg on the chances of passing the assault weapons ban:

walmart gunAt least six of the 55 senators in the Democratic caucus have expressed skepticism or outright opposition to a ban, the review found. That means Democrats wouldn’t have a 51-vote majority to pass the measure, let alone the 60 needed to break a Republican filibuster to bring it to a floor vote.

A ban on the military-style weapons is among the legislative goals President Barack Obama outlined in his recommendations to Congress on curbing gun violence after the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School slaughter of 20 children and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut. Vice President Joe Biden said yesterday it will take “persuasion and information” to gain the necessary support to enact the White House package.

“We have an obligation to act — not wait,” Biden told reporters after a more than two-hour roundtable at Virginia Commonwealth University to discuss the administration’s push for new gun-safety measures.

It’s possible that Biden may be able to help in the Senate. He’s right that the political class does have an obligation to act. But will they?  And even if we don’t have the votes, let them vote to kill the assault weapons ban, only a month after Sandy Hook.  LET THEM.  It’s about time Democrats starting forcing conservative Dems, and their Republican brothers, to defend the indefensible in front of the American people.  If they want to support murder, let them do it proudly, loudly, and publicly on TV so all of America can see them.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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  • samizdat

    Disingenuously parsing over semantics and etymology: “…a completely childish response to these situations.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/mike.kavan.9 Mike Kavan

    Where in the hell does this article get “Since most Americans are in favor of an assault weapons ban (74%)”?

  • TuxedoCartman

    Tell ya what: when my freedom of speech starts claiming the lives of 30,000+ people a year, you have my permission to start talking about curtailing it. In the meantime, shut up with the false equivalencies.

  • Bill Tuttle

    1st “assault weapons” is a relatively meaningless political term. It is not a classification of firearms. Any weapon used to commit assault is an “assault weapon”, be a rock, steak knife, or whatever. The “oh my god, we have to do something (even if it is ineffective, irrelevant & unconstitutional) is a completely childish response to these situations.

  • lynchie

    But that is exactly why the filibuster was not changed. They can phone in their objection, Reid does not bring the bill to the floor and we never know who voted for or against. If the Congress never has to be accountable but can invisibly vote the wishes of the corporations and 1% we are truly screwed as a country.

  • Bill Tuttle

    How exactly do these “things” not qualify for protection under the 2nd?

  • Bill Tuttle

    So “Courage” is what you call violating the Constitution, eh? So it would be “courage” to eliminate your freedom of speech to post this article. It would be “courage” to re-instate slavery.

  • lynchie

    Tie another yellow ribbon around a tree. Get a good photo op by the politicians. Behind the scenes the gun lobby (NRA) fill the off shore accounts and we all go back to sleep

  • Badgerite

    There is absolutely no legitimate reason for a citizen of the United States to have access to such weaponry. There is a reason why anti government terrorist groups (for that is what they are and if you don’t think so just inquire as to how much the Southern Poverty Law Center has to spend to protect it’s own people from these nut jobs who have killed a judge, a radio personality and tried to kill Morris Dees and as well as having succeeded in killing others less well known) and organized crime like this kind of weaponry. It is like having your own little military arsenal, the better to harm people with. When weaponry like this proliferates in society it will inevitably fall into the hands of the mentally ill as well as those with hateful and murderous political or non political motives. Please don’t tell me that the enjoyment someone gets from owning shooting these things for fun on a range justifies the danger that this weaponry poses to the public. These things do not qualify for protection under the Second Amendment. Period. This is not a civil rights issue. This is a public safety issue.

  • UncleBucky

    Here’s courage: Let’s bend, break and melt ‘em. Any arguments, and you go to raw food vegan and/or vegetarian labor camps. Yeah. Hahhahaha!

  • pauljgo

    I disagree with the talking point that creates a false dichotomy between
    prosecution of white collar and violent street crime. I hear this all
    the time on left- leaning blogs. Most citizens want both categories to
    be addressed.

    Another thing that really irks me are these
    ridiculous gun turn-in programs in cities. I hope they are not using tax
    dollars to pay people to “surrender” illegal guns..no questions asked.
    Slippery moral slope aside, it’s just a meaningless feel good tactic.
    It let’s them reinforce the leftist delusion that people who obtain
    illegal firearms are not really responsible for doing so…that they
    were somehow tricked into buying them by “the gun culture” or “poverty”
    or some such nonsense.

    Just like people who gleefully took out
    mortgages for mcmansions that they couldn’t afford were also allegedly
    “tricked” into doing so by nefarious bankers.

  • RepubAnon

    No, no, no – Wall Street criminals don’t get a “slap on the wrist” – they get moisturizing lotion and a soothing massage.

  • RepubAnon

    To enforce the laws already on the books, one must first repeal some other laws – the ones the NRA’s lobbyists got passed to prevent the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) from enforcing the “laws already on the books” regarding illegal sales and possession of guns. Isn’t it funny how the NRA never brings up that point?

    Harsher penalties for gun-related crimes are already in place – they mere fill up the prisons. Nobody’s getting a “slap on the wrist” any more for gun-related crimes. (Wall Street criminals aren’t punished at all – but that’s a different issue.) We tried ever-harsher penalties for illegal drug use, and it doesn’t work very well unless one can also dry up the rest of the supply chain. The same story’s playing out for sentencing enhancements for gun-related crimes.

    As for possession of an “unregistered or otherwise illegally obtained weapon” – there’s the little problem of the NRA’s staunch opposition to any laws regarding gun registration or purchasing (gun-grabbers, Hitler, the usual talking points.) Smart criminals will say “I bought it from this guy at a gun show… why?” This was why the “Fast and Furious” sting didn’t work – buying a gun and then selling it to someone else later is legal in Arizona unless law enforcement can prove that the person buying and selling the gun never intended to keep that gun. How do you prove that? Brain biopsy? (Remember, it is illegal for the BATF to keep a database of who purchased which guns – thanks, NRA!)

    We really need to start by drying up the supply chain by which criminals get their guns and ammunition. National background checks plus a national gun ownership registry would go a long way toward this goal. So would requiring photo ID for the purchase of ammunition, and having a database tracking ammunition purchases. We’d see a lot fewer bullets flying at the next drive-by shooting if ammunition was harder for the gang bangers to obtain.

  • Ford Prefect

    The Dems decided to let the GOP keep their obstruction precisely to avoid this:

    It’s about time Democrats starting forcing conservative Dems, and their Republican brothers, to defend the indefensible in front of the American people.

    If the Democratic Party stood for anything but, “For Sale To The Highest Bidder,” they would agree with you and do precisely what you seek.

  • http://blogvader.tumblr.com/ Blogvader

    I hate being right about this, but it’s just as I said when Sandy Hook happened.

    We’d wring our hands, cry, and ultimately nothing would change. Americans love to express their condolences but hate to be inconvenienced. In this case, the possibility of being inconvenienced (having to reload more often and/or have your background checked to buy a gun) is a more important concern than the possibility that lives might be saved.

  • HolyMoly

    Haha table reservations. True, though…nobody in politics likes becoming persona non grata in public establishments. Works for the Amish, works for me. “You, sir, are shunned.”

  • HolyMoly

    When you have hundreds of thousands (perhaps millions) of citizens convicted and imprisoned for nonviolent crimes that do harm to no one, such as simple possession of a controlled substance, the book is thrown at them — hard. And that’s just for something that shouldn’t really even be treated as a crime. Violent criminals do not get a slap on the wrist either. Like caphilprof said, only members or relatives of the financial (and I would add political) elite get a slap on the wrist and, honestly, they often don’t even get that.

    If I’m not mistaken, most if not all of the things that Obama has proposed for executive order are simply enforcing what’s on the books, or making them easier to enforce, such as more accessible and detailed criminal background databases for use by law enforcement and gun retailers. More detailed/more regularly updated information on lost or stolen guns. Training first responders/school officials for active shooter situations. And a number of not-unrelated healthcare-related issues, such as mental health; and removing any ban on doctors asking patients about guns in their house (which IS a healthcare-related issue). I see nothing off the wall or “tyrannical,” as some might say, about proposed executive orders. They appear to me to conform to the laws that are already on the books.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001426939279 Carl Kerstann

    No, it just depends on the color of your skin. If you’re white (and not obvious trailer trash) you’ll walk on a first second or even third offense.

  • caphillprof

    The bill needs to be simple, it cannot be loaded up with all sorts of nonsense. 1) Universal security checks and 2) no assault weapons in private hands and 3) no personal nuclear devices in private hands.
    Put it to a vote in the Senate and let the Republicans and stupid Democrats vote no. Then when we have the next mass killing a week later, show their faces, read their names, lose their table reservations.

  • caphillprof

    You live in a fantasy land of slaps on the wrist. That happens only on Wall Street.

  • TheOriginalLiz

    Courage … money … for whatever reason, nothing will change significantly. When the next slaughter of innocents happens we’ll go through this whole drama again, and again nothing will happen … it’s all part of our American religion – sacrifiing to guns, crocodile tears, moving on.

  • pauljgo

    Bill Clinton just warned democrats about gun control, and I have to agree. I’m libertarian on gun rights and have a broad interpretation of 2nd amendment. God help me but I watched Ben Shapiro dismember Piers Morgan on his show and loved every minute of it. If democrats are serious about fighting gun deaths, then they should start enforcing the laws that are on the books.

    When criminals are arrested for a violent crime and are in possession of an unregistered or otherwise illegally obtained weapon, they are being given a slap on the wrist and sent back on the street. This has to stop. We need mandatory minimum sentences for illegal gun possession concurrent with the commission of a violent or property crime.

  • FunMe

    Latinos were a major factor of having him elected in Nevada. I hope next time they will see Harry for what he is … another CORPORATE WHORE. NV get rid of him!

  • FunMe

    When the American Public was so in favor of getting rid of DADT by an overwhelming majority, both the Senate and Congress didn’t care. After all, they are part of the 1% that is not affected. But eventually DADT was removed, and it was because of the PRESSURE that was placed on the Democrats.

    Now is the time to get the pressure back on the Democrats. And since they are all CORPORATE WHORES (yup I capitalized for an obvious reason) it is now time to start protesting the DEMOCRATS who are in the way of getting rid of the filibuster to get things done like having an assault weapons ban..

    Yeah, I’m looking at you CORPORATE WHORE Harry! I’m so over him!

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    One possible upside is Obama may not be able to pass his oft-tabled cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

  • Naja pallida

    I fully expect any legislation in the next two years to go as well as filibuster reform did.

    Your United States Senate, functioning as intended.

  • josephebacon

    Now you know why Harry Reid decided to drink the Super Sauce and become Super Chicken.

  • TuxedoCartman

    Thanks Harry! Good thing we didn’t reform the filibuster, huh? Starting to wonder if this is the exact reason why he backed down on real filibuster reform.

  • cole3244

    the further we get away from the election the more gutless the dems get, par for the course, courageous at election time and cowardly thereafter until the next cycle.

  • Jim Olson

    The Democrats lack the votes *because* they lack the courage. There isn’t 74% approval for anything in DC these days. Gutless fucks. *grr*

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