How the Senate Will Attempt to Pass Gun Control


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Bartholomew Roberts
January 25, 2013, 10:51 AM
It occurs to me that some of our members may not be familiar with the Senate rules and not understand how the game works.

What is likely to happen is that a bill will be offered that everybody agrees on. When this bill makes it to the Senate floor, any Senator can offer "relevant amendments" and usually the meaning of "relevant" is interpreted broadly.

Once that happens, Senators will offer individual amendments to the overall bill on things like magazine bans, assault weapons bans, registration (also known as "universal background checks"), etc. If the vote on those amendments is successful, they become part of the larger bill. Once all the amendments have been voted on, the entire bill is offered for a vote. If that bill passes, it is sent to the House.

If you have a politicially sensitive issue like say, gun control, one popular way to get it passed is your party leadership organizes it so that only the bare minimum of Senators necessary to pass each amendment votes "YES." Then you rotate that responsibility around... so for example, you have one Senator vote "Yes" on an AWB; but no on mag bans and registration. Then you have another Senator vote yes on mag bans, but not on AWB and registration, etc.

In this way, each Senator can point to votes where he opposed gun control and claim he supports the Second Amendment - and when the overall bill comes to the floor for a vote, they will vote to pass the overall bill and point to all the good, non-controversial things it does.

If you are opposed to ANY additional gun control, you must make it clear to your Senators that:

1) You are aware of this game
2) You will be watching every single vote during the bill very closely (and we will be discussing it here)
3) ANY support of gun control anywhere in the process is going to cost them

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wildbilll
January 25, 2013, 12:24 PM
And in the end of the process in the Senate where a bill is reported out, there will be a final bill to be voted on that has some type of ban in it. At that point, the senator would have to vote yes or no.
The record would show that they voted for a ban.
Then, after they made such a courageous vote, the bill would go over to the house where it would die a slow death.
The senator would have voted to ban your guns when there isn't a snowballs chance it will ever become law.

Worse yet, the senator votes to ban, the bill goes over to the house, gets amended in some way, now it has to come back to a conference, then it has to be voted on again by both houses.
In that scenario, they are on record twice for a ban.
What is the political upside to this?

Bartholomew Roberts
January 25, 2013, 12:38 PM
There is no political upside if you watch all the votes and know what is going on. A lot of people have their own life to lead though and can't necessarily spend every minute of the day making sure their Senator isn't voting against their interests.

The important thing is that when contacting your Senator, they need to understand that you'll be watching this one - every vote and amendment (or someone in our community will be watching it for you) - and that they will pay for supporting infringements on our civil rights, even if they have 5 other "pro-gun" votes on the same bill.

alsaqr
January 25, 2013, 03:50 PM
The important thing is that when contacting your Senator, they need to understand that you'll be watching this one - every vote and amendment (or someone in our community will be watching it for you) - and that they will pay for supporting infringements on our civil rights, even if they have 5 other "pro-gun" votes on the same bill.

This!!!

Every congressman must be informed that any vote against our Second Amendment rights will have consequences.

Without getting over political i will simply state that in the past numerous congressman who promised to protect our Second Amendment rights have voted for stuff like the Lautenberg amendment and the gun free school zones laws.

The scenario that Bartholomew Roberts presented will likely to play out as congressmen vote on a smorgasbord of anti-gun amendments to a much larger bill. They will trade votes, thats for certain. i can see numerous congressmen who have promised to protect our Second Amendment rights voting for limited magazine capacity and universal NICS.

The 1994 AWB was part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.

wildbilll
January 25, 2013, 05:02 PM
"Congressman/Senator XXXXX: Is it true that you voted to pass the 2013 Assault weapons ban?"

BSA1
January 25, 2013, 10:03 PM
I think the O.P. is right on target.

My Senator, Jerry Moran (R-KS), is a member of what I have named as the Grand Old Republicans. To date he has not responded to my emails asking what his position is on gun control. He has posted comments on his facebook page. It is the last paragraph that I think sums his position up;

“We must examine all factors that lead individuals to commit these monstrous acts, but the President’s plan in its entirety is not the proper way to implement a comprehensive strategy that will better protect our nation from gun violence.”

Please note the portion "in its entirety". He is not saying he opposes gun restrictions only that he opposes Obamas plan in its current form.

Sebastian the Ibis
January 25, 2013, 10:21 PM
Feinstein's Bill (s.150) has been referred to the Judiciary Committee.

If you live in any of these states Please Please Please contact your Senator:

Patrick J. Leahy
Chairman, D-Vermont

Dianne Feinstein (Nevermind, lost cause)
D-California

Chuck Grassley
Ranking Member, R-Iowa

Chuck Schumer (another lost cause- unless you happen to own a wall street bank)
D-New York

Orrin G. Hatch
R-Utah

Dick Durbin
D-Illinois

Jeff Sessions
R-Alabama

Sheldon Whitehouse
D-Rhode Island

Lindsey Graham
R-South Carolina

Amy Klobuchar
D-Minnesota

John Cornyn
R-Texas

Al Franken
D-Minnesota

Michael S. Lee
R-Utah

Christopher A. Coons
D-Delaware

Ted Cruz
R-Texas

Richard Blumenthal
D-Connecticut

Jeff Flake
R-Arizona

Mazie Hirono
D-Hawaii

Harry Reid is not on the Judiciary Committee but he will have a huge influence, and he is mildly pro-gun due to his constituency. If you live in Nevada please please please please send him 2 or 3 letters.

ole farmerbuck
January 25, 2013, 10:45 PM
I think the O.P. is right on target.

My Senator, Jerry Moran (R-KS), is a member of what I have named as the Grand Old Republicans. To date he has not responded to my emails asking what his position is on gun control. He has posted comments on his facebook page. It is the last paragraph that I think sums his position up;

“We must examine all factors that lead individuals to commit these monstrous acts, but the President’s plan in its entirety is not the proper way to implement a comprehensive strategy that will better protect our nation from gun violence.”

Please note the portion "in its entirety". He is not saying he opposes gun restrictions only that he opposes Obamas plan in its current form.
Here is what I got back from Jerry.



The U.S. Constitution guarantees that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Thank you for sharing your concerns regarding the most recent attempts to restrict the Second Amendment rights of Americans.



On January 16, 2013, President Obama called on Congress to ban automatic weapons and magazines that hold ten rounds or more. The President's agenda is not a strategy that will protect our nation from violence. We have to be honest about what works and what does not. President Clinton's own Justice Department admitted that the 1994 "assault weapons" ban did almost nothing to affect crime.



Earlier today, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the author of the 1994 ban, introduced legislation that prohibits the sale or transfer of "assault weapons," including some semiautomatic firearms. The passage of the 1994 ban was before my time in Congress, but I voted against reauthorization of the ban when it expired in 2004, and will always vote to protect the inherent right of Americans to own firearms. It is wrong to punish law-abiding gun owners with new laws that only empower criminals who disregard such laws.



In addition to the current proposals in Washington that threaten our Second Amendment rights, an international treaty would infringe upon our firearm freedoms. In July 2012, I authored a letter to President Obama signed by 50 of my Senate colleagues expressing our opposition to the ratification of a United Nations Arms Trade Treaty that in any way threatens the gun rights of Americans. The next round of negotiations on this dangerous treaty are set to take place March 18-28 in New York. Whether it be gun control proposals in Washington or international treaties that infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of Americans, I am committed to protecting the Constitution and defending the rights of American citizens.



I am grateful for the opportunity Kansans have given me to serve them in the United States Senate. If you are interested in learning more about my efforts on your behalf, I encourage you to visit moran.senate.gov. Please let me know if I can be of service to you or your family in the future.




Very truly yours,

Jerry Moran

avs11054
January 25, 2013, 10:49 PM
If you live in Nevada please please please please send him 2 or 3 letters

Please send him letters no matter where you live. Being the Senate Majority Leader, he holds power over what bills are voted on and what are not. If he knows that people all over the country do not support this bill, he will be less likely to want to risk losing the democrat majority in the Senate and lose his position to a republican.

JohnnyK
January 25, 2013, 10:53 PM
I'm glad my 2 senators are on the list Cornyn and Ted Cruz... I know they are both strong pro 2a guys... :)

vamo
January 25, 2013, 10:54 PM
It occurs to me that some of our members may not be familiar with the Senate rules and not understand how the game works.

What is likely to happen is that a bill will be offered that everybody agrees on. When this bill makes it to the Senate floor, any Senator can offer "relevant amendments" and usually the meaning of "relevant" is interpreted broadly.

Once that happens, Senators will offer individual amendments to the overall bill on things like magazine bans, assault weapons bans, registration (also known as "universal background checks"), etc. If the vote on those amendments is successful, they become part of the larger bill. Once all the amendments have been voted on, the entire bill is offered for a vote. If that bill passes, it is sent to the House.

Missing the inevitable filibuster if there isn't a super majority, and keep in mind that the house would be forced to vote for the bill as is without any amendments lest it gets sent back to the senate for another round of modifications/voting.

Keep the pressure up on your congresscritters, especially when a bill is formally introduced, but I doubt anything drastic is getting 60 votes in the senate or a majority in the house.

pendennis
January 26, 2013, 12:00 AM
Missing the inevitable filibuster if there isn't a super majority, and keep in mind that the house would be forced to vote for the bill as is without any amendments lest it gets sent back to the senate for another round of modifications/voting.

Keep the pressure up on your congresscritters, especially when a bill is formally introduced, but I doubt anything drastic is getting 60 votes in the senate or a majority in the house.
Not so. The House would consider a bill separately from any version the Senate may, or may not, pass. The House would hold its own sub- and/or full committee hearings, and the bill would be debated on the floor of the House, under their rules.

After passage (and any AWB stands only a 4% chance of being passed), a bill would go to a conference committee to iron out any differences in the two bills.

A bill, after it's passed out of conference committee, then goes back to each chamber for an up, or down, vote. Limited debate in both houses, and cloture in the Senate is automatically invoked; no filibuster possible.

This is the procedure for any legislation, where there are differences between proposed legislation.

DeadMoneyDrew
January 26, 2013, 12:47 AM
I will be contacting Chris Coons and letting him know that this ban on collapsible buttstocks and flash suppressors is just silly. I have no idea what his position is.

edit: LOL. Coons gets a big fat F from the NRA. I'll be contacting him anyway.

mljdeckard
January 26, 2013, 12:54 AM
I agree entirely with the esteemed Mr Roberts. However, I also think, they know that we know how they work. They know that if they sneak anything into a bill, we will know about it in seconds. In 1994, we barely knew what the internet was. Now we know immediately anything they do. I think that a few acts of subtle maneuvering may be attempted, but quickly shut down.

Travismcgee
January 26, 2013, 01:09 AM
Times have changed

And the Antis learned from the 1994 election.

No anti that is vulnerable and up for election soon will vote for it

alsaqr
January 26, 2013, 07:19 AM
S. 150 has 17 co-sponsors: All are the usual dedicated anti-gun, anti-self defense suspects.

ROCK6
January 26, 2013, 07:28 AM
Times have changed

And the Antis learned from the 1994 election.

No anti that is vulnerable and up for election soon will vote for it

I wouldn't hedge on that. Many of the anti-gun-leaning legislators will ride the coat-tail of the Presiden'ts "poplular mandate" from his election. If they don't hear from constituants that oppose Constiutional infringmenets, they will lean with the current winds...even if those are only coming from Washington.

My fear is that I know there were some gun-owners who voted (or have voted) for "D" and "F" rated representatives when it comes to gun rights. Where I focus my response is that representatives were voted to uphold the Constitution; not infringe or water it down. Mark my words; if the Second Amendment can be infringed to the point of eroding its true purpose and laws are established to make it harder for law abiding citizens to practice...every other Constitutional Amendment to in our Bill of Rights is at risk of political interpretation, restriction or elimination. Yes, that includes the First Amendment; don't think any book, website or article containing the words "Gun, knife, etc." can't be blocked or restricted. It happens at schools and in some government businesses via Web filtering.

Don’t think a single letter (letters are preferable than email as they area more tangible reminder that constituents are serious) can’t make a difference.

ROCK6

Steve51
January 26, 2013, 08:04 AM
I have made it crystal clear to my elected officials to oppose any type of new gun control measures. Most refuse to honor my request. I am from the police state of Illinois!

wildbilll
January 26, 2013, 08:56 AM
A great way for the democrats to lose control of the senate would be to bring enough pressure on their members to pass a ban on our rights.
Dingy Harry Reid remembers what happened last time.
There will be theatrics, but there will be no bill passed out of the Senate.

BSA1
January 26, 2013, 09:33 AM
ole farmeerbuck,

Thank you for posting your response from Senator Moran. After rereading it several times and comparing it his facebook comments I still am not sure what gun restrictions, er gun safety proposals he will oppose and those which he may support.

I have noticed his facebook site is full of anti-gun comments and "save the children" type emotional posts. I wonder if anti-gun libs from other states are posting on his account to give the impression that is what Kansans want? He was bashed by lots of comments when he supported the "fisal cliff" deal.

At any rate I consider Senator Moran a uncertain vote in the Senate.

DeadMoneyDrew
January 26, 2013, 02:12 PM
BSA1, it wouldn't surprise me if non-KS residents are doing the posting. I've done the same thing for various Facebook political message bombings.

Jorg Nysgerrig
January 27, 2013, 11:44 AM
Just to confirm the OP's position, Feinstein said on Sunday, "There will be a package put together. If 'assault weapons' is left out of the package - and I'm a member of (the) Judiciary (committee), No. 2 in seniority - I've been assured by the majority leader I'll be able to do it as an amendment on the floor."

From: http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/01/27/feinstein-nra-is-venal/?hpt=hp_t2

hi-tower
January 27, 2013, 07:51 PM
I have contacted my 2 senators in MN every week since this happened and sometimes even more than once a week. I still get the same lame form letter back not addressing anything I ask. I will still send every week but once I would like to get something back actually responding to me. I am in the same boat as most. You vote for any form of a ban youare not getting my vote in the next election. Franken is up next and I will be watching cloesly waht he does. This sate is way too liberal for my liking. If I could aford it me and the family would be moving to a more gun friendly state (and warmer too).

wriggly
January 28, 2013, 03:59 PM
And while everyone is busy looking at all the slight of hand, another four years will pass, and in that time you will see another Liberal Democratic President get elected (it won't be Biden) by another batch of hatchlings that were indoctrinated in the schools by the liberal leftist teachers and administrators. It was the youth of America that were predominantly responsible for the sitting potus being there now, and it will just get worse with time.

The Republican right has been split by the tea party efforts and the growth in the Libertarian sector. There is no such derisiveness from the left.

You will likely see a Senate and House majority in the next few years, with a very high likelihood of another Obama Supreme court justice nomination.

Its not looking too pretty for us in the future. So, start early and fight hard.

ole farmerbuck
January 30, 2013, 02:40 PM
Here is the reply from Pat Roberts I got today

Thank you for your comments regarding the Second Amendment in the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts on this important issue.

Some Members of Congress and the Executive Branch have called for additional firearm restrictions in response to the horrific tragedy and the innocent loss of life that occurred on December 14, in Newtown. In January, the President released recommendations aimed to reduce gun violence. This proposal included 23 executive actions. Also, the proposal included additional recommendations that require approval by Congress.

Soon we will have a debate in Congress over gun control. However, as a society, we must be willing to move beyond the obvious question to really take a hard look at why these senseless acts of violence continue to play out in towns across America. It’s time to have an honest discussion about the culture of violence in America and more specifically, the root cause of this and other types of violence: mental illness.

Much attention has been focused on semiautomatic assault weapons. The Semiautomatic Assault Weapons Ban, enacted in 1994, established a 10 year prohibition on the manufacture, transfer, or possession of semiautomatic firearms and the transfer of large capacity ammunition clips. The ban expired in 2004. Recently, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced S. 150, a bill banning certain semiautomatic firearms and large capacity ammunition clips. This bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for further consideration.

I remain in strong support of congressional efforts to preserve our Second Amendment right to bear arms. I am opposed to actions that infringe on those rights and do not effectively reduce crime and violence. Firearm laws should only be enacted with the intent to punish criminal activity. Rather than chipping away at fundamental liberties backed by the Constitution, we should target the real problems: crime and mental health issues.

Again thank you for taking the time to contact me. If you would like more information on issues before the Senate, please visit my website at http://roberts.senate.gov. You may also sign up on my home page for a monthly electronic newsletter

With every best wish,

Sincerely,



Pat Roberts
PR:eh

pseudonymity
January 30, 2013, 06:50 PM
Folks in about 90% of the districts you list, would be wasting their time. Leahy, Feinstein, Schumer, Durbin, Whitehouse, Klobachar, Franken, and Coons are the red beating heart of marxist/leninism in America. They want the guns, and they are so very very close to accomplishing that sacred marxist desire, that they can taste it.

Those folks are professional subversives, you'd literally be letting them in on where you live.

Although Franken probably wants it very badly, he is up for election in 2014 mid terms, and he is definitely not spouting the rhetoric you would get from somebody like Schumer. Franken is actually pretty vulnerable, and if he gets what he really wants, it could help tip the balance in the Senate in 2014. That is a lot of risk for him and his party.

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