I realize, as I write this, that some definitional dodge awaits the argument that the assault weapons ban may be killed by a filibuster. Just as gun enthusiasts whinge about just what constitutes an "assault weapon," preferring to derail the argument rather than actually address gun violence.
But the news I'm reading is that Harry Reid is working behind the scenes to terminate the proposed new AWB via a 60-vote requirement to get it into a final piece of legislation. And linguistic contrivance aside, that looks like a filibuster to me, intended to subvert the majority of the American people.
Mayor Rybak supports gun control measures as well, supporting President Obama's proposals, and criticizing Senator Harry Reid. The senator has apparently not even read the assault weapons ban that he is surreptitiously looking to kill, while doing his best to keep his and other Democratic fingerprints out of the legislative conspiracy.
Reid told ABC he was not sure if he would support an assault weapons ban. “I don’t know, she [Dianne Feinstein] knows I haven’t read her amendment,” Reid said Sunday.Meanwhile, the President is out there pressuring Congress to at least hold a vote on banning assault weapons, although I question whether or not they'll even bother in the House to put representatives on the record.
MSNBC guest host Richard Lui asked what Rybak, who also serves as the vice-chairman of the Democratic National Committee, would like to say to Harry Reid.
“I respect him on a whole lot of levels, but he’s dancing around this issue, people are dying in this country and that is not news to anybody…What the president has done is, with all the stuff on his plate, stuck his neck out and said look, we need to solve this. I saw what the president’s face looked like when he came out of meeting those victims. I’ve been there,” Rybak said.
"We should restore the ban on military style assault weapons and a 10-round limit for magazines. And that deserves a vote in Congress, because weapons of war have no place on our streets," Obama said as uniformed law enforcement officers stood behind him at the Minneapolis Police Department's Special Operation Center.Gun enthusiasts can queue up here to whinge about how "assault weapons" aren't technically "weapons of war," of course. I understand they harbor great passion for such pedantry. It must be right up there with tricking out their AR-15's to look like the "weapons of war" they most assuredly are not.
Thankfully Obama is still pushing the other gun control measures that he's proposed, and at least he won't let the entire enterprise die on the AWB. The more popular ideas may survive and become law -- even if the assault weapons ban does enjoy majority support. This is Congress, where majorities don't matter.
Speaking of which, I was interested to read on Slate how a top aide of Harry Reid (which one? who knows?) expects the AWB will not be included in the eventual bill brought up in the Senate. And that a 60-vote threshold is expected to kill it when it comes up as an amendment. This avoids the embarrassing spectacle for Democratic gun enthusiasts actually voting to strip it out should it somehow appear in the bill. Wouldn't want there to be any incriminating evidence, eh? Unless they find some advantage in publicly coming out and gunning down the AWB. This is how Slate reported on what probably can't (get done), and how.
What Probably Can't: Wall Street Journal: "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. The bill would likely seek to limit the capacity of ammunition magazines; expand background checks to include sales at gun shows and other private transactions; and require better record keeping to keep guns out of the hands of those with mental illnesses. It would also try to curb gun sales in states with more relaxed gun laws to buyers in states with stricter laws. ... The goal is to get the bill to the Senate floor next month, at which point lawmakers could then seek to amend the legislation by adding a ban on certain semiautomatic weapons or other provisions, the aide said."Senator Reid's long love affair with the NRA is a matter of record, although it appears he's trying to suppress the incriminating evidence for that now, too. Little late for that now, pal, and not much point in crying 'screenshot or it didn't happen,' because they have one, a quote of Wayne LaPierre's proud support for Reid, which Reid himself was proud to put on display until just lately.
How It Will Go Down: Huffington Post: "The ban will get a vote. But the purpose of that vote will be in part to facilitate its demise. The expectation is that there won't be 60 members of the upper chamber to support the bill's inclusion in the final legislative language. The likelihood that an assault weapons ban ends up in the legislative scrapheap is hardly unexpected .... The ban is the most controversial of four major components of the gun control platform that the Obama administration introduced and that congressional Democrats have touted."
So none of this comes as a surprise to me -- not Harry Reid's opposition to the legislation, and not Harry Reid's parliamentary maneuvering, which resembles rhetorical assassination, well suited to the topic of gun control. Nevertheless I have made my opinions clear to the senator, and whatever he does will be publicized, despite his best efforts. I can't say without reservation that I would be glad to see him gone as the majority leader -- this is the Senate, after all, I bet they could do worse. But that may prove difficult.
5:26 PM PT: Currently watching Mayor Rybak on the Ed Show; he's really making the rounds today. May be able to add that clip to the diary later, when it's put up on MSNBC.
-- the Ed Show clip mentioned earlier (I hope). Mayor Rybak points out the political calculation that he thinks Harry Reid and others are making, and suggests it's wrong. If they're afraid of the NRA lobbyists, he suggests being afraid of those touched by gun violence. Hopefully we can make it so.