AP Photo/Richard Drew
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told by someone that Democrats automatically oppose gun ownership and Republicans universally defend the right to keep and bear arms. I typically just laugh in the face of whoever says it. They’re almost adorable in their naivety.
Now, by and large, those groupings work. Right now, there’s not a single pro-gun Democrat I can think of off the top of my head. Further, I trust Republicans as a group with my gun rights more than the other guys.
However, I’ve also encountered a handful of pro-gun Democrats in my time (none in office, so far as I know). So, it stands to reason that Republicans have a few gun grabbers in their ranks.
Luckily for us, one just self-identified.
An assault weapons ban that Democratic leaders have been reluctant to advance despite strong support among their rank-and-file members in the House just got its first Republican backer — Long Island Rep. Pete King.
“They are weapons of mass slaughter,” King said shortly after his backing became public on Congress’ website Monday.
“I don’t see any need for them in everyday society,” King said.
King had been the lead sponsor of a bill improving background checks when Republicans controlled the House and was already one of a handful of Republicans backing that bill now.
He had already been considering the assault weapons ban, but the shootings in Ohio and Texas raised the level of urgency.
“I think the assault weapons ban is timely now, especially in view of the shooting in El Paso and Dayton,” King said.
So now, when they pass this and send it to the Senate, they’ll call it “bipartisan” and claims that the Senate is simply being obstructionist for the sake of being obstructionist.
Great job, King.
Of course, King is from Long Island, so him taking anti-gun stances aren’t exactly surprising. He represents an area where this won’t actually hurt him in the primaries.
That’s a shame.
After all, now this will embolden Democrats into thinking they can bully more Republicans into backing this insane assault weapon ban. Not that many of them will, mind you.
While this isn’t great, it’s also not the end of the world. As I said, King’s district isn’t exactly bristling with pro-gun sympathies. He’s not risking anything by signing onto the bill. He’ll likely get away with this and not lose any votes.
King, however, doesn’t hold any real sway within the party. That’s especially true when it comes to gun policy. He’ll make this stand, Democrats will start calling it the “bipartisan assault weapon ban bill” and they’ll pass the bill they were already going to pass. Then it’ll get to the Senate where Republicans there will likely just point and laugh at it.
But the optics change with King’s support and expect the media to start making hay out of it any time now. You’ll start hearing the word “bipartisan” come up a lot more when discussing the bill. What you won’t hear is that “bipartisan” only means one GOP lawmaker signed on.
That’s not bipartisan. That’s a joke.