AP Photo/Julie Jacobson
Last week’s vote and the resulting blowback for moderate Democrats who backed a GOP-led amendment were rather telling. While gun owners are used to being treated like criminals by congressional Democrats, it was enlightening to see how those same Democrats reacted to an amendment that would require gun dealers to notify ICE should an illegal immigrant attempt to purchase a firearm.
As Democrats often talk about trying to keep guns out of the wrong hands, and illegal immigrants have already broken the law by being here, one would think they’d be on board with this idea.
Instead, those Democrats who sided with House Republicans earned a rebuke from Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House.
Just prior to the vote on H.R. 8, Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) made a motion to recommit the legislation to amend it to include a provision that would require the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to notify U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) if an illegal alien attempts to purchase a firearm. Under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(5), it is already a felony for an illegal alien to possess or receive a firearm.
The vote and surrounding furor is instructive in understanding the legislative and political priorities of the Democratic House leadership.
This amendment was aimed at alerting law enforcement to felony conduct among a group championed by Democratic leadership rather than imposing new burdens on law-abiding gun owners, and as such Democratic House leadership vigorously opposed it. Attuned to the terrible optics of voting to attack law-abiding gun owners under the guise of controlling crime while simultaneously appearing to condone obvious felonious conduct brought to the direct attention of the federal government, 26 Democrats defied their leadership and voted in favor of the amendment. The amendment passed 220-209 and subsequently H.R. 8 passed 240-190.
According to reports, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was upset after the successful Republican procedure, targeting Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) with her ire. A reporter for The Hill described the scene, writing,
Wednesday’s drama played out as allied gun control activists from Moms Demand Action and the Brady Campaign sat above in the visitors’ galleries to watch the vote on one of their top priorities…
Pelosi approached Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) with the suggestion that the loss of 26 Democrats on what is typically an easy party-line vote was his responsibility. The confrontation, which took place before a group of members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), angered members of the group, of which Clyburn is a long-standing part.
In other words, illegal immigrants who can’t legally vote matter more to House Democrats than law-abiding gun owners.
Though, in fairness, who is more likely to vote for Democrats as things currently stand? Even if illegals can’t legally vote, there have been suggestions that they do so anyway. If they don’t, large numbers of Hispanics have bought into the Democrats’ narrative that opposition to illegal immigration is opposition to Hispanics in general. So catering to illegals is likely designed to mean they’re catering to those voters.
They also aren’t really worried about gun-owning Democrats who don’t represent a significant number of voters, at least in the House leadership’s mind.
Not that it matters, though.
If there’s one thing we can trust about Nancy Pelosi and her cohort, it’s that they won’t do a thing to help law-abiding gun owners. That includes backing regulations that might make some sense.