By now you’ve probably heard that Dianne Feinstein’s Assault Weapon legislation was killed in the Senate by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)Â after the legislation narrowly passed out of committee. Many areÂ understandablyÂ saying that this is good news, and by itself I agree. Having said that, I wish that Feinstein’s legislation would have gone to a vote, and here’s why.
Senator Reid said that he didn’t allow the assault weapons and magazine capacity legislation to brought to the floor for a vote because it had no chance of passing. This I agree with – it has no chance. It’s obvious to anyone paying attention that the dear sweet Democrats did not have the votes needed to pass the legislation even in Senate, let alone in the Republican controlled House. Here’s how Senator Reid phrased it:
I’m not going to try to put something on the floor that won’t succeed. I want something that will succeed. I think the worst of all worlds would be to bring something to the floor and it dies there.
On the surface this sounds great, but what happens next? Senate Democrats are currently working on gun control legislation that will be brought to the floor for a vote sometime after the Easter break. What exactly will be in this legislation is not clear at this time, but Reid did say that he would allow both the ban on assault weapons (semiautomatic weapons) and high capacity (standard capacity)Â magazines to be voted on as separate amendments to the legislation. So this is something we definitely need to keep an eye on.
What’s Really Going On
Here’s what’s going on, and why I wish Reid had let the legislation come to a vote.
What you are seeing is politicians who are worried about the not too far off 2014 elections. There are several Senate seats open for contest in 2014 in conservative states, and the Democrats are scared that even voting on gun control would kill their chances. And you know what? They’re right for a change.
Think about it for a second – by not letting the legislation come to a vote, Senator Reid protected the 30-40 senators who would have voted for it. Now their opponents in next year’s election can’t run ads saying “Senator XYZ voted to take away your guns”. This one issue alone could have turned the Democratic controlled Senate into a Republican controlled Senate.
This is exactly why I wanted Feinstein’s legislation to come to a vote. Voting would have identified the enemy to the common voting public who isn’t paying attention, and it would have secured us a couple more years of not having to worry about gun control legislation with a Republican controlled House and Senate.
As it stands now though, barring another high profile mass shooting, the 2014 elections will determine the next round in the semiautomatic weapons and magazine capacity debates.
Constant vigilance my friends.