Political Animal


December 16, 2012 12:54 PM #GoodCall - Some Positive Signs on Twitter for Feinstein’s Assault Weapons Ban Proposal

By Samuel Knight

On “Meet The Press” this morning, Dianne Feinstein announced that she and Chuck Schumer will introduce an assault weapons ban when the 113rd Congress convenes on January 3rd.

“I can tell you that he is going to have a bill to lead on because as a first-day bill I’m going to introduce in the Senate and the same bill will be introduced in the House — a bill to ban assault weapons,” she said. “It will ban the sale, the transfer, the importation and the possession. Not retroactively but prospectively. And it will ban the same for big clips, drums or strips of more than 10 bullets.”

On Twitter, there are some anecdotal signs that this might be a winning move. MTP executive producer Betsy Fischer Martin said that the show’s staff reached out “ALL 31 pro gun rights Sens” and not one was willing to discuss the issue on the air. And the press office of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — America’s least popular Senator, according to a December 11th PPP poll — has given no indication yet that his caucus will try to filibuster this bill.

On Thursday, there wouldn’t have been no question — either on Twitter or “IRL”— as to whether or not such a proposal would be scuppered by Senate Republicans. Clearly, they haven’t the faintest idea of how to respond to Friday’s horror — a tacit admission that their extremist interpretation of the second amendment just might be failing Americans.

And with the fiscal cliff looming, Senate GOPers might concede that this fight isn’t worth the political capital.

For Feinstein’s bill to become law, though, House Republicans, too, must have crisis of conscience. If Louie Gohmert’s literal call to arms on Fox News Sunday is any indication (not too bothered by the “well-regulated” aspect of the militia, I see), they aren’t.

Samuel Knight is a freelance journalist living in DC and a former intern at the Washington Monthly.


  • Sue on December 16, 2012 2:14 PM:

    Prospectively???and what about the millions of these already in the hands of our fellow citizens??

    With the baby boomers like me aging rapidly, I can easily imagine demented geezers rampaging thru their homes and neighborhoods in the next few years

  • jjm on December 16, 2012 2:19 PM:

    @ c u n d gulag: I posted a similar, but skeletal version of the suggestion of making gun owners carry liability insurance be mandatory, posted it here yesterday -- and I sent it as a message to Obama.

    i'm glad people are taking to the idea.

  • smartalek on December 16, 2012 2:26 PM:

    It's so obvious at this point as to be trite to point it out, but...
    Just as years (decades?) of major activism by thousands wasn't sufficient to the enactment of the 1990 Americans w/ Disabilities Act until A-list Publican Bob Dole -- himself partially disabled by wounds taken in his WWII service -- helped push it thru, meaningful gun control is unlikely to be enacted unless and until a Publican pol or big donor, or someone near and dear to them, gets killed, by weaponry acquired legally under current law.
    Not that I'm suggesting anything, of course; not even that such a horror would be a net positive.
    But it's a truth nonetheless, and everyone who reads this knows it.

  • c u n d gulag on December 16, 2012 2:28 PM:

    Maybe that's where I got that from!

    But I did say that it wasn't original.

  • c u n d gulag on December 16, 2012 2:33 PM:

    Well, this is at least a good start.

    And we must thank Louis Gohmert, who's a national treasure!

    Just think of how fortunate our exceptional our country is to have him!

    Why, most countries only have Village Idiots!
    We, the USE, have idiots who represent many, many villages.
    And even entire states.
    And just a few years ago, we had one who served as the POTUS!!!

    Now, just imagine the people who vote for him, saying, "Yup, he's the best among us. We need to have him represent us in the House!"

  • jjm on December 16, 2012 2:46 PM:

    As for the stupidest man in Congress: I wonder if Mr. Gohmert would feel much safer if the custodians and janitors in the Congress were armed to the teeth? And if the sergeant-at-arms was carrying an assault rifle? And the servers and waiters in the congressional cafeterias each had a loaded pistol at the ready?

    Of course, Gohmert could never imagine seeing anything from the point of view of how he would like it if the tables were turned.

  • schtick on December 16, 2012 3:34 PM:

    It may be a good idea and most people in the country and members of the NRA like and support, but just like anything that benefits this nation as a whole, ACA, ADA, etc., the teapubs and NRA will never let it pass.

    They are hoping to get the basic bill passed and hopefully will be able to amend it later. If they put everything in that they should, it won't get anywhere. Remember, they are dealing with the teapubs and NRA with this and they are against anything reasonable.

  • DRF on December 16, 2012 3:56 PM:

    I wouldn't read much into the refusal of 31 Republican Senators to agree to appear on MTP. First, most of them have no interest in MTP; their constituencies don't watch it or its competitors on CBS and ABC. Second, I would view their failure to appear to a tactical decision to allow some time to pass following Friday's tragic events before they engage in a debate about gun control. Third, they know that some Republican political figures, including some Senators, have a tendency to make statements which are inflammatory--not necessarily deliberately, but because the exist in a very different world than most of the rest of us.

    I wonder if the Democrats will even allow the assault weapons ban to come to a vote. There certainly are Democrats who will find this a difficult political call to make, and I would be surprised if the House allows it to come to a vote.

  • bob on December 16, 2012 5:44 PM:

    One thing that people don't seem to realize is that banning assault weapons may no longer be technologically feasible. Gun nuts enthuse over 3-D printing technology that allows assault weapons parts - and soon ALL parts of assault weapons - to be created at home. See for example http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2012-07/working-assault-rifle-made-3-d-printer - one of many similar articles.

  • Mimikatz on December 16, 2012 6:13 PM:

    Good for Feinstein, who knows whereof she speaks. She became Mayor of SF when her predecessor was gunned down by Dan White. As i recall, either he or Harvey Milk died in her arms.

    I like the mandatory insurance idea. The NRA could provide insurance much as the AARP sells health insurance to its members. Barring that, perhaps a tax could be assessed on each gun transaction to provide a fund to compensate innocent victims of gun violence.

    I think we should make every legislative body that passes one of these insane concealed-carry laws allow guns in their legislative chambers. Let them live with the same exposure as the rest of us.

  • rick on December 17, 2012 1:17 AM:

    While we wait for legislation that may never come to pass, we can BOYCOTT every store, every catalog company, and even the local sports store. I'm putting my list together and making my phone calls - starting with Cabelas. Any and every store that sells semi-automatic tactical/assault weapons - has just lost my business.
    Spread the word, and join the PEOPLE'S BAN ON ASSAULT WEAPON SELLERS.

  • bluestatedon on December 17, 2012 9:52 AM:

    I demand the ability to exercise my constitutional right to carry a loaded weapon into the visitor's galleries in the UN Congress as well as every state legislature. If Republicans like Gohmert overwhelmingly support legislation to make open-carry legal in schools, churches, day care centers, and sporting events, then it's discrimination to prevent citizens from packing when they observe their elected representatives in action. If I'm crazy and shoot a dozen or so Congresscritters, then that's the price of freedom, and Louie would surely approve of such a heroic sacrifice. After all, the practical impact of the NRA's policies is to make children expendable, and if kids can be sacrificed on the altar of unlimited gun rights, then so can the legislators who pass the laws making it possible.

  • dweb on December 17, 2012 10:49 AM:

    Give them time. They'll find a way to block it. They always do.

    I wish I weren't so cynical about this, but 20 dead kindergarden kids, very very sadly, is likely to carry no more weight than a dead President, a wounded one, a wounded Congressman, a dead MLK, high school students, theater goers, college students and the thousands who die from domestic violence every year.

    We always say something HAS to be done. We always don't! I hope I am wrong. Sadly, I fear I am not.

  • dweb on December 17, 2012 10:52 AM:

    Rick....even as you carry out your BOYCOTT, the gun nuts will launch another campaign claiming that Obama is out to take away everyone's right to own guns and we'll see yet another surge in gun sales. I saw something this weekend noting that sales of guns reached a new record high during the black Friday weekend.

    You have your finger in the dike. When you believe your government is a threat to you, you can never own enough firepower.

  • cmdicely on December 17, 2012 11:04 AM:

    The last assault weapons ban -- the one in place for 10 years that Feinstein also put forward -- had, when it was studied, no measurable effect on gun violence or gun crime. I don't know what rational basis there would be to expect a new AWB to be any more effective.

    I think there are probably things that we can do better in terms of gun control, but the AWB to prevent gun violence/crime is the left's equivalent of the right seeking to prohibit same-sex couples from adopting for to "protect children".

  • Kevin (not the famous one) on December 17, 2012 12:19 PM:

    Mimikatz @ 12/16, 18:13

    How much water has passed under the bridge since HM was gunned down? Some of us know a knee jerk reaction when we see it and this DINO is playing her cards as expected.

    Extending what dweb @ 12/17, 10:49 said, the best I would expect is to kick the can down the road and then we'll revisit it again. Great job if you can get it.

  • Hahahahahahahaha on December 18, 2012 2:52 AM:

    Good lord, the above blog entry is absolutely hilarious. "On Thursday, there wouldn’t have been no question..."
    Wouldn't have been no question? Seriously?

  • Anonymous on December 18, 2012 3:14 AM:

    Mitch McConnell's office has yet to give notice, a WHOLE TWO FUCKING DAYS after an event has happened, that he will filibuster a bill THAT DOESN'T EVEN EXIST and a moron who doesn't seem to know about the use of double negatives thinks this means some sort of ban is inevitable? Give me a huge break. I would be more than willing to bet everything i own against anything put up by any of the imbeciles commenting here that an assault weapons ban never even comes to the floor of the House, much less passes it. Anyone who thinks an assault weapons ban is going to pass a Republican-led House has gone beyond delusional into the realm of incurably stupid.

  • Anonymous on December 18, 2012 3:20 AM:

    The following comment from "Rick" is priceless: "Spread the word, and join the PEOPLE'S BAN ON ASSAULT WEAPON SELLERS."
    And by "PEOPLE" he is clearly not referring to the half of the country that doesn't align itself with the Democratic Party. The notion that the people most willing to buy "assault weapons" in the first place would respond to such a call for a boycott is so fucking naive that one wonders how anyone could propose such nonsense with a straight face. What are you going to to do next, ask Republicans not to put "I love Barack Obama" stickers on the bumpers of their car. Preaching to the choir doesn't even begin to describe such a silly boycott.