Murphy: Not enough votes in Senate for assault weapon ban

Murphy: Not enough votes in Senate for assault weapon ban
AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane

Following the shooting at an LGBT nightclub in Colorado Springs, it was no surprise that President Joe Biden called for an assault weapon ban. After all, he typically calls for one after every mass shooting, even if the killer didn’t use anything like an AR-15 or an AK-pattern rifle.

It’s kind of a reflex for him at this point.

But this time, the bad guy did use one, and so he’s seizing on it in order to push for such a ban.

Yet one of his staunchest allies in the Senate had to admit that it’s just not happening.

President Joe Biden has long been calling for a ban against so-called “assault weapons,” which he just doubled down on this holiday weekend, causing quite a concern with his language for those who care about the Second Amendment. Democratic senators, however, are a bit wiser on the likelihood of such sweeping legislation passing that chamber. During his Sunday appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) admitted to host Dana Bash that when it comes to whether they have currently the votes to pass such a ban, the answer is “probably not.”

“He wants to pass a so-called assault weapons ban in this lame-duck next month. You know the math on how difficult that is better than most people. You have been working on this for a long time. Is there any path to getting that done,” Bash  asked Murphy, referring to Biden and his priorities.

Murphy’s acknowledgment of “probably not” refers to whether or not the ban has those 60 votes in the Senate “right now.” That doesn’t mean he’s given up for good, though. “But let’s see if we can try to get that number as close to 60 as possible. If we don’t have the votes, then we will talk to Senator Schumer and maybe come back next year with maybe an additional senator and see if we can do better,” he offered.

Come next Congress, Democrats will still be in the majority, with at least 50 senators who are Democrats or caucus with the Democrats, in addition to Vice President Kamala Harris’ tiebreaking vote. It’s possible they’ll expand their majority, if Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) holds onto his seat against Republican opponent Herschel Walker, with the runoff election coming on December 6.

And even if Warnock wins reelection, the filibuster is still a potent weapon.

Let’s remember that following Uvalde, the Senate wouldn’t consider an assault weapon ban. There was a lot more pressure on lawmakers to do something like that then. It didn’t happen then and it won’t happen know.

But that’s what Murphy is saying.

Of course, he still wants such a ban, and he’s even trying to sell it to the American people:

Bash also pressed Murphy as to if there’s “any action on guns that’s possible,” or whether they will keep pushing for this ban, to which Murphy reminded her that was the legislation that passed the House and is now before the Senate.

The senator claimed “we would see less mass shootings in this country” with such a ban, and also downplayed concerns with the legislation, offering “nobody’s talking about taking those weapons away from individuals, we’re just talking about stopping new sales. “

First, no, we wouldn’t see fewer mass shootings in this country. We had an assault weapon ban before, and the studies actually agree that there weren’t fewer shootings. They claim the shootings were less deadly, but there weren’t fewer of them.

And even that methodology is suspect, it should be noted, though I agree that shootings didn’t drop under the ban.

As for “nobody’s talking about taking those weapons away,” Murphy is clearly missing the point. The opposition to an assault weapon ban isn’t so much that we’re worried about our property, but that we’re concerned about our rights.

When you decide there will be no more sales of a given product, you’ve taken away our ability to determine whether or not we want to have that thing or not. You’ve denied us from having it regardless of our personal situation, beliefs, and status.

Take the 17-year-old kid who is looking forward to buying an AR-15 so he can use it for three-gun competitions when he turned 18. While my AR-15 may be preserved, his ability to buy one will be stripped permanently.

That’s what the issue is.

My property matters, sure, but once you start denying people the ability to buy a given weapon, you create a generation without the means to defend themselves from any number of threats.

An assault weapon ban is a terrible idea. It didn’t accomplish much of anything according to numerous studies–and those that say otherwise have major issues, as per usual–and there’s no reason to enact one now.