Yesterday Republican Senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee confirmed they plan to filibuster any type of gun control legislation that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid brings to the floor for a vote. From a letter sent to Reid by the Senators yesterday:
Dear Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid,
We, the undersigned, intend to oppose any legislation that would oppose on the American people’s constitutional right to bear arms, or on their ability to exercise this right without being subjected to government surveillance.
The Second Amendment to the Constitution protects citizens’ right to self-defense. It speaks to history’s lesson that government cannot be in all places at all times, and history’s warning about the oppression of a government that tries.
We will oppose the motion to proceed to any legislation that will serve as a vehicle for any additional gun restrictions.
Now the White House is warning against a filibuster, saying the Senators are “out of touch.”
White House press secretary Jay Carney suggested Tuesday that GOP Sens. Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Rand Paul are out of step with the public on gun-control measures.
The three lawmakers have threatened to filibuster “any legislation that will serve as a vehicle for any additional gun restrictions.”
Carney said he hasn’t spoken with President Obama about the threat, but the White House position is clear.
“Filibusters of efforts to move forward with common-sense measures to reduce gun violence would be unfortunate,” he said. “We have worked with Congress, with the Senate, to try to advance the elements of the president’s plan that require legislative action and these again are common-sense measures.
“Closing gun-show loopholes, that’s an idea that has something like 90 percent support in the United States, by some polls has a majority of support among gun owners in America, support among Republicans and independents. We ought to be able to do this. But it’s hard and we’re continuing to work with Congress to get it done.”
If Paul, Cruz and Lee are out of touch, then so is Reid. After all, Reid is the guy who refused to bring Dianne Feinstein’s assault weapons ban legislation to the floor for a vote. The White House is doing this for two reasons. The first is that they can make Republicans look like obstructionists and second is that the White House is banking on Feinstein’s legislation being offered as an amendment as they “round up the votes” needed for it to be successful. As I wrote yesterday:
Reid has already had the ability to protect Democrats from voting on the assault weapons ban, but a filibuster on criminalization legislation would force Reid to either try and stop the talking, which will bring attention to gun control efforts of vulnerable Democrats or will be forced to allow a filibuster to continue, preventing a vote on the legislation.
As a reminder, the so-called “background check” bill is an awful piece of legislation that focuses on law abiding citizens rather than criminals.