Thursday, January 24, 2013

On Assault Weapons Ban, Senate Democrats Must Reckon With Angry Gun-Owning Constituents

I doubt Senator Feinstein's got a snowball's chance of getting her gun-grabbing bill passed, and that's not even considering her own Democrat colleagues in the Senate. The House will shut down the legislative push to gut the Second Amendment. There'll be hell to pay if they don't.

Here's the clip below of Feinstein's press conference this morning, and see the New York Times, "Democrats in Senate Confront Doubts at Home on Gun Laws":

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Talk of stricter gun control has stirred up a lot of unease here, a place where hunters vie for top prize (a 26-inch LED television) in the Big Buck Photo Contest, and ads for a gun-simulator game ask, “Feel like shooting something today?”

But before Senator Joe Manchin III invited a group of 15 businessmen and community leaders to lunch last week to discuss the topic, he had only a vague idea of how anxious many of his supporters were.

“How many of you all believe that there is a movement to take away the Second Amendment?” he asked.

About half the hands in the room went up.

Despite his best attempts to reassure them — “I see no movement, no talk, no bills, no nothing” — they remained skeptical. “We give up our rights one piece at a time,” a banker named Charlie Houck told the senator.

If there is a path to new gun laws, it has to come through West Virginia and a dozen other states with Democratic senators like Mr. Manchin who are confronting galvanized constituencies that view any effort to tighten gun laws as an infringement.

As Congress considers what, if any, laws to change, Mr. Manchin has become a barometer among his colleagues, testing just how far they might be able to go without angering voters.

On Thursday a group of Democratic senators led by Dianne Feinstein of California plans to introduce a bill that would outlaw more than 100 different assault weapons, setting up what promises to be a fraught and divisive debate over gun control in Congress in the coming weeks. But a number of centrist lawmakers like Mr. Manchin have already thrown the measure’s fate into question, saying that all they are willing to support for now is a stronger background check system.

As a hunter with an A rating from the National Rifle Association, Mr. Manchin gave advocates for new weapons laws reason for optimism after he said last month that gun firepower and magazine capacity might need to be limited.

But now, Mr. Manchin, who affirmed his support for gun rights by running a campaign commercial in 2010 showing him firing a rifle into an environmental bill, says he is not so sure. One of his local offices has been picketed, and even some of his most thoughtful supporters are cautioning him that stronger background checks are about all the gun control they can stomach.
More at that top link, and at the Daily Caller, "Feinstein calls for banning more than 150 types of firearms during dramatic press conference" (via Memeorandum and Protein Wisdom).

I'll have more on this ...