Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is standing firm on his deadline to push a vote on the widely debated gun control bill by Thursday, in attempts to end a filibuster on the proposed reforms.
By Naima Abdi—
Regardless of how many Republicans are threatening to filibuster or the number of Democrats from red states who won’t show support, Senator Harry Reid is determined to get the new proposed gun legislation to a vote as soon as possible. Tuesday evening, Reid will file a motion to set up a vote that will take place on Thursday, and if successful, it will start the debates, end them then move towards a change in our gun control laws.
Reid gave Senate members Joe Manchin (D-W VA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) till 5 pm EST on Tuesday to come to a mutual stance on the background checks aspect of the bill, which came down to whether or not Toomey would sign on to a proposal that would require checks and records of sales at gun shows, online and other commercial settings. While no resolution between the two Senators came on that end, both are working on a bi-partisan compromise that would allow close friends and family to be excluded from those background checks if they’re selling or trading guns to each other.
The bill needs 60 votes to avoid a filibuster from Republicans. Should it fail to pass, Reid will take it to the Senate floor and attempt to hold votes on individual bills for several of the proposed gun control reforms, including the assault weapons ban, background checks and placing limits on high-capacity magazines. Gun control is an issue Reid is invested in because of the many lives destroyed by guns that end up in the wrong hands. Publicly, the Senator mentioned his own personal experience after his father’s suicide by gunshot to attest to how universal background checks screening for mental illness among other reforms in the legislation can be used to prevent tragedies.
The initiative Reid has taken is remarkable because he has a backup plan each step of the way to ensure that one way or another gun control reform will happen. Call me skeptical, (though I prefer pragmatic) but as it stands, the full on bill probably won’t pass on Thursday because there are too many naysayers on the right on top of the Democratic Senators from red states who won’t approve mainly because they’re up for re-election in 2014 and don’t want to make waves before the campaign. Even with the amount of support the reform has with gun control groups and the Obama administration, the GOP as a whole simply will not throw in the towel as they too are interested in setting the pipelines essential to standing a chance in the next presidential election.
Sure there are several Republican Senators interested in amending our gun control laws to reflect safety and common sense that have also expressed they will not move to filibuster the legislation. But if the majority of the GOP were to concede on this issue in any way, they risk looking like soft hypocrites to Republican voters for abandoning their party’s stance on a gun owner’s rights. So like it or not, the GOP collectively will do their best to make sure the law doesn’t impede on the right to bears arms and protects the gun owner rather than the victim.
Here’s a video of Senator Harry Reid’s comments about his personal experience with his father’s suicide: