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Old January 25, 2013, 10:52 AM   #1
Bartholomew Roberts
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How the Senate Will Attempt to Pass Gun Control

It occurs to me that some of our members may not be familiar with the Senate rules and not understand how the game works.

What is likely to happen is that a bill will be offered that everybody agrees on. When this bill makes it to the Senate floor, any Senator can offer "relevant amendments" and usually the meaning of "relevant" is interpreted broadly.

Once that happens, Senators will offer individual amendments to the overall bill on things like magazine bans, assault weapons bans, registration (also known as "universal background checks"), etc. If the vote on those amendments is successful, they become part of the larger bill. Once all the amendments have been voted on, the entire bill is offered for a vote. If that bill passes, it is sent to the House.

If you have a politicially sensitive issue like say, gun control, one popular way to get it passed is your party leadership organizes it so that only the bare minimum of Senators necessary to pass each amendment votes "YES." Then you rotate that responsibility around... so for example, you have one Senator vote "Yes" on an AWB; but no on mag bans and registration. Then you have another Senator vote yes on mag bans, but not on AWB and registration, etc.

In this way, each Senator can point to votes where he opposed gun control and claim he supports the Second Amendment - and when the overall bill comes to the floor for a vote, they will vote to pass the overall bill and point to all the good, non-controversial things it does.

If you are opposed to ANY additional gun control, you must make it clear to your Senators that:

1) You are aware of this game
2) You will be watching every single vote during the bill very closely (and we will be discussing it here)
3) ANY support of gun control anywhere in the process is going to cost them
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Old January 25, 2013, 04:45 PM   #2
Alizard
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Quote:
It occurs to me that some of our members may not be familiar with the Senate rules and not understand how the game works.
I understand: any new law has to pass BOTH houses of congress. The House is 2/3 republican. The chances of another AWB passing into law is ZERO, ZERO, ZERO.

I honestly don't understand the panic. The senate can stand on their hands and do cartwheels, because they know they will NEVER get any new AWB through the HOUSE. It's all political noise going nowhere.
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Old January 25, 2013, 04:56 PM   #3
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Normally I would agree that the House Republicans would stop any ban but given their recent track record of caving in to that idiot in the WH, I don't count on anything.
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Old January 25, 2013, 05:01 PM   #4
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Constant pressure to members of Congress via e-mails, phone messages, and letters imploring them to strongly oppose any additional gun control measures is the best way to help defeat the forthcoming bills.
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Old January 25, 2013, 07:11 PM   #5
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The House is 2/3 republican. The chances of another AWB passing into law is ZERO, ZERO, ZERO.
Disagree. I think if second amendment supporters are passive the chance of significant gun control is better than 50/50. there is a boatload of money rolling into organized gun control organizations and efforts, some long standing some new. If your Republican congress member sees serious threats and no serious support for the second amendment community he may well cave. Many of those Republican congressman are in tight race districts.

The strategy will be an attempt to stigmatize gun ownership. There will be an avalanche on the ARs -- stigmatize then divide and conquer. (PA outdoor show attempt was a example of anti gun strategy that wont work in PA but will work elsewhere.)

IMHO:
a) You have to ask what is the harm in asking your friends and family to join the NRA. You may not agree with everything they say and how they say it but they are considered the meter for support and strong support of the NRA is needed.

b) You have to intelligently and succinctly write down a couple of sentences and write AND call your congressional offices. You can even call their local office and make an appointment to see the member of congress when they are in state. Bring a few friends and stay rational and focused. Simply zero in on these talking points:
-Gun control doesn't work
- gun control as proposed does nothing about violent criminals and targets law abiding citizens
- If the second amendment can be attacked, even under false premises of safety , then cannot the fourth fifth, sixth and eighth amendments be attacked and eroded because they make society more dangerous?
- tell them you will NOT vote for them if they not against the Bill of Rights.
- even more strongly -- tell them you will vote for them and work for their reelection if they oppose the gun control.

If they talk about Sandy Hook, simply say that urban crime harms and kills way more children, way more and MS. Fienstien does not seem to be advocating any effective measure to be tough on urban crime where the real consistent and continual damage is done to children

Leave all other politics out.
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Old January 25, 2013, 07:21 PM   #6
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I thought that if an amendment is added to a bill it has to go back to committee for debate and vote then back to the floor for vote?
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Old January 25, 2013, 09:13 PM   #7
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While the amendment process is something we should certainly be vigilant about, it can be a double edged sword. If pro-gun senators want to kill the bill, they could attempt to add an amendment for something like nationwide CC or gutting of the NFA as a "poison pill" that would make the anti-gun senators vote against the bill. The other side did this with the first version of the Lawful Commerce in Arms Act by attempting to add a reinstatement of the '94 AWB at which point the bill was voted down and killed.
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Old January 26, 2013, 02:05 PM   #8
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I think that if someone says it won't get through the house, they are putting way to much faith in politicians, republican or not they all have a price. They didn't get the job they have by standing their ground on issues that mean something the hard working common sense Americans. IMO most have already sold their soul, and would gladly sell your rights for the right price.
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Old January 26, 2013, 02:28 PM   #9
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Don't trust any of them. Politics to our elected representatives and senators is just a game. They will protect their own. Party affiliation matters little. Follow the money. They all profit from their actions. If there is no profit any bill will fail. Don't make the mistake in believing they are there to represent our, the voter, interests.
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Old January 26, 2013, 04:12 PM   #10
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BR is right -- it's how they will attempt to keep that handful of Senators from getting nuked in the midterms (the ones that had the really really tight election races).

Still, it's a heckuva gamble. Reid will have to be pretty comfortable believing that the House will pass whatever the Senate passes, else he will have exposed those Senators for nothing, because even if they say they didn't vote for Amendment X, their record will still show a vote for the AWB in general, and their opponents back home will surely know of this game, and educate the public most vigorously.

I don't remember the exact number of close-race Dems up in next year, but let's say it's 5. 5 close races, and that was before this whole gun-grabbing thing came up. How are all of you going to vote in the midterms? I'll bet a lot more people are going to express some anger at anyone who voted for the AWB, regardless of what the amendment game says.

If the Dems lose those seats and the Repubs win them, Reid will have handed control of the Senate to the opposition (and if the House doesn't pass the AWB, he will have given it to them for nothing).

You can bet the midnight oil is being burned on this one. This is why it's so critical to contact your reps, even if you're like me, and your rep is Feinswine. The interns who tally the pro / con constituent feedback reports don't just give those numbers to their Senator, they give those numbers to the National Committee. That means Reid will know if there is widespread dislike of the AWB, even if Feinswine doesn't give a crap. That will affect the political calculus.

Reid does not want a repeat of '94, even if Obama wants this one. That's why Obama and Biden sent out those emails a coupla days ago -- they need to drum up the support for these measures, to influence Reid and those jittery politicians on the fence or in tight races.

Contacting your reps absolutely matters on this one, regardless of who it is. Email / call / fax / whatever -- just do it often!
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Old January 26, 2013, 04:32 PM   #11
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This thing is much more complicated than simple party politics. There is every likelihood that several "moderate" Republican senators will join Republican senators who are not running for re-election in 2014 in voting for gun control. Does anyone here remember the ten Republican senators who voted to extend the AWB?
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Old January 26, 2013, 04:35 PM   #12
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I do not like Harry Reid at all. However, I must say that if there was *one* far left democrat I wanted to be senate majority leader right now, it is him. He's smart, cautious, and reasonable on firearms.

This assessment of him is of course purely regarding firearms.

Edited: Misstated house vs senate
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Last edited by Dr Big Bird PhD; January 26, 2013 at 10:58 PM.
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Old January 26, 2013, 07:02 PM   #13
Bartholomew Roberts
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It isn't just the Dems who are going to be playing this. According to the Washington Post blogs, GOA A+ rated Tom Coburn is negotiating with Schumer and Manchin on how to extend the background check to all sales.

If GOA's "Most Important Election of 2006" isn't fighting for us, I can't imagine that the squishier Senators are doing much to stand up to the pressure.
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Old January 26, 2013, 08:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
It isn't just the Dems who are going to be playing this. According to the Washington Post blogs, GOA A+ rated Tom Coburn is negotiating with Schumer and Manchin on how to extend the background check to all sales.
Bingo!!!

Several Republican senators have shown signs of extreme squishiness when it comes to gun control. What is this fool Kirk thinking about? Last time i looked illegal gun trafficking was a federal crime: Except, of course, when its done by the federal gov't itself.

Quote:
Manchin, a moderate Democrat with an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association, has also recruited his close friend, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), to help with the background check legislation. Kirk, who is much more moderate than Coburn and hails from a state suffering from urban gun violence, also plans to unveil legislation next week with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) to make illegal gun trafficking a federal crime

.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...s=rss_politics
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Old January 26, 2013, 09:25 PM   #15
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Dr Big Bird PhD, Reid is Senate Majority Leader. Last I looked, Boehner was still Speaker of the House, though for a brief on-camera moment Pelosi seemed to think she still wielded the gavel.
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Old January 26, 2013, 10:57 PM   #16
Dr Big Bird PhD
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Sorry I misspoke for some reason. I know that he is in the senate.
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Old January 27, 2013, 06:18 PM   #17
johnwilliamson062
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I don't think this game will be enough this time through.
In 1986 it sort of caught NRA by surprise, they were new to the political game.
I sure hope by now they, along with the other orgs, have let it be known such votes will be held against them.
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Old January 28, 2013, 09:04 AM   #18
terzmo
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Quote:
It occurs to me that some of our members may not be familiar with the Senate rules and not understand how the game works.

I understand: any new law has to pass BOTH houses of congress. The House is 2/3 republican. The chances of another AWB passing into law is ZERO, ZERO, ZERO.

I honestly don't understand the panic. The senate can stand on their hands and do cartwheels, because they know they will NEVER get any new AWB through the HOUSE. It's all political noise going nowhere.

The chance is zero ?? From what I understand, the vote,in NY , would of NEVER made it to the floor because the dems didn't have a majority to pass it. They petitioned the republicans for a "debate" on the bill and the republicans complied, essentially putting it up for a vote and viola...passed.

I'm not pointing fingers at any specific party...BUT..I suggest to NEVER say never.
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Old January 28, 2013, 12:07 PM   #19
johnwilliamson062
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As often as not the dirty tricks are political tricks. They CAN be fought, but the reality is the "opponents" don't really want to. Just like EOs. People can talk about how ridiculous the EO allowing murder of a US citizen on US soil without due process is and how Obama is at fault, but in the end congress supported the measure and it allowed them to avoid going on record with a vote of any sort. The rules are old, all of these tricks have been done before or at least talked about and both parties have people who work full time strategising how to manipulate the rules. I don't buy the "we never saw that coming"

If such an amendment is attached and NRA correctly grades the vote, it won't work. NRA supported Hughes amendment, and that was why it passed with this trick even though the amendment passed with a fraudulent voice vote.
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Old January 28, 2013, 01:40 PM   #20
Tom Servo
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Quote:
NRA supported Hughes amendment
Do you have a source for this?

The NRA supported the FOPA, which was a good bill. They, and everyone else, were taken by surprise by the Hughes Amendment.
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Old January 28, 2013, 02:01 PM   #21
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Quote:
The NRA supported the FOPA, which was a good bill. They, and everyone else, were taken by surprise by the Hughes Amendment.
They seemed to have learned from it as well. The NRA successfully lobbied to kill the original Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (S. 1805) in 2004 after a renewal of the original AWB was added as a "poison pill". They subsequently lobbied successfully for a "clean" version which was passed (S. 397) and signed by President Bush in 2005.

Also, since Sen. Ried's bill, which is at this point pretty hollow, has no benefit for gun owners in it, I think the NRA would not hesitate to lobby to kill it if anti-gun amendments are added.
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Old January 28, 2013, 02:40 PM   #22
Bartholomew Roberts
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Quote:
I understand: any new law has to pass BOTH houses of congress. The House is 2/3 republican. The chances of another AWB passing into law is ZERO, ZERO, ZERO.
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) is a co-sponsor of the latest AWB. Republican is not synonymous with pro-gun and there are only 220 NRA A-rated Reps in the House. Given the number of formerly A-rated Senators now pushing gun control in the Senate, I would not assume anything is a done deal at this point.

Sen. Majority Leader Reid has 7 Democrat Senators running for re-election in 2014 in pro-gun states. The vote itself doesn't do his reelection campaign any favors. Yet the Dem leadership is demanding a floor vote. Do you think they would be doing that if they felt there was even a 90% chance the bill dies in the House anyway?

The Democrats are not yet at the point where they can throw 7 Senate seats on the sacrificial fire of pointless symbolism. So my assumption is the Democrats think it is to their benefit to have a Senate floor vote.
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Old January 28, 2013, 03:06 PM   #23
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In these days our rights are often compromised in law due to the process and the players. In recent years I have come to believe that the great give away is the number one key to who gets a seat at the table. Gun rights aren't about a give away and that makes it a issue that is much more complex than the usual fare in DC.

People tend to be wholly invested as either pro or anti gun with a lot of on the fencers who have no idea what either position actually represents in reality. Still we the people, seem to still believe in rights.

For myself I think we are at a watershed moment in history as a nation. Either we find a way to remember why we have these rights or we will lose them to whatever fad happens to be the flavor of this generation. The stakes are already set, the cards are dealt, we are all playing, know it or not.
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Old January 29, 2013, 12:55 AM   #24
johnwilliamson062
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Tom, you are correct in that how I stated that was not factual.
The NRA supported the FOPA which included the Hughes amendment. A vote for the package was graded positively. I agree with the sentiment that they seem to have learned from the mistake. I would be very surprised if they repeat it.

I disagree the FOPA as passed was a good bill. They should have waited a year and come back at it. Now we have an infringement which will likely stand as long as the government does.
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Old January 29, 2013, 01:12 AM   #25
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Quote:
The NRA supported the FOPA which included the Hughes amendment.
The NRA did not want the Hughes amendment.

They stated that it was "railroaded through in the closing minutes", called it a "bad amendment", stated that they did not compromise or sell out on that amendment to ensure passage of the entire FOPA. In other words, there was no deal made to allow the amendment or support it after it was made.

It's fair and accurate to state that the NRA didn't outright try to kill FOPA once the Hughes amendment was added, but it's inaccurate to make it sound like the NRA wanted or supported the Hughes amendment in any way, shape or form.

They were under the impression, at the time, that they could get the amendment repealed after passing FOPA and worked toward that goal for some time (funding some court cases and lobbying) before determining that they could not garner any support in Congress to make it happen.
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