You're probably just as angry as I am about the assault weapons ban being dropped from the Senate bill. I'm not feeling really hopeful right now that this country has the moral fortitude to stand up to the Gun Lobby and say enough. Enough death. Enough mayhem. Enough. But as I listened to friends and neighbors rant about "spineless Harry Reid" I remembered that Harry's not there to merely usher in Democratic agenda or even a Progressive Agenda. That's not how governing is done in this country. We govern through compromise, we govern through consensus, we govern together DESPITE our differences - or maybe because of them. Josh Horwitz of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is a strong clear voice among the angry impatient ones. I hope you take time to read his letter. I am embedding it below. Please also support the Newtown Action Alliance. Their Facebook page is www.facebook.com/NewtownActionAlliance
A Letter from Josh Horwitz:
"IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM LEADING EXPERT ON U.S. GUN POLICY Joshua M. Horwitz TO AMERICANS: "By now, many of you have heard about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's announcement yesterday regarding the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013. Speaking at a press conference on Capitol Hill, Senator Reid announced that the Assault Weapons Ban will not be part of the base gun violence prevention bill he brings to the Senate floor next month.
The reaction from gun violence prevention advocates was fierce and immediate; many felt betrayed. The press quickly reported that "the Assault Weapons Ban is dead in the Senate."
The press is wrong.
There's no doubt that Senator Reid's statement could have been more sensitive and thoughtful. But it's important to understand the procedural hurdles he is contemplating. If there is a filibuster by Republicans, Senator Reid will need 60 votes to bring a gun violence prevention bill to the Senate floor for a vote. He is weighing whether he can get those 60 votes in a package bill if the Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) is included. His estimation is that it is better to leave the AWB out of the bill he brings to the floor, so that he can break a filibuster and get it there in the first place. Once it's on the floor, Senator Reid has been clear that he will allow Senator Feinstein to introduce the AWB as an amendment to the bill. This strategy would ensure that all the important pieces of the Senate Judiciary Committe's package (universal background checks, anti-gun trafficking penalties, and the Assault Weapons Ban) actually get votes, as opposed to none of them.
And let's remember what the sponsor of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013, Senator Dianne Feinstein, said on January 27th of this year:
"There will be a package put together. If assault weapons is left out of the package...I've been assured by the majority leader I will be able to do it as an amendment on the floor, which is the way I did it in 1993. So, that doesn't particularly bother me."
And it shouldn't bother us either.
Let's all stay focused and get the up or down votes on the Senate floor that gun violence victims and survivors so richly deserve. Please continue to call your Senators at (202) 224-3121 and tell them to vote YES on universal background checks, the assault weapons ban, and tougher criminal penalties for straw buyers and gun traffickers.
Thank you as always for your support!
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence