Monday, December 17, 2012

Reason for Hope?

In the wake of the violent turn of events last week, there's been talk of finally doing something about the growing gun violence problem. Yet while there's been talk about real action, there's also been speculation over what will actually happen. And today, much of that speculation is swirling around Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Here).

But as the president lamented last night in Newtown that "we are not doing enough," the question is what Reid will do. He has openly courted the NRA in the past, and when the group offered a no-endorsement in his re-election bid two years ago, his campaign manager touted Reid's gun rights bonafides:

"The NRA’s relationship with Sen. Reid has been long-standing and productive and – unlike for Sharron Angle – they’ve put their money where their mouth is this cycle. Along with their financial support, the declaration of NRA head Wayne LaPierre that Sen. Reid is 'a true champion of the Second Amendment' and that 'no one has been a stronger advocate for responsible gun ownership than him' shows beyond a doubt that the NRA believes Sen. Reid to be a strong advocate for Nevadans’ Second Amendment rights in the US Senate."

That "true champion" comment came from NRA boss Wayne LaPierre at the dedication of the Clark County Shooting Park and Reid is not seen as a friend to gun control advocates, with some accusing him of killing the assault weapons ban in 2004, and his actions after the Colorado shootings this year also were muted.

Even though conventional wisdom says the GOP-controlled House would kill any gun control legislation, nothing is conventional right now, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Reid become an advocate for gun control today.

In the not-so-distant past, Harry Reid felt the need to court the NRA for political survival. And he hasn't been the only Democrat to do so, far from it.

One of the more extreme cases is Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia). And since Manchin hails from a rural Red State that celebrates the "gun culture", he has said quite a few things that have irritated progressives. So no one was expecting him to say this on MSNBC today.

So hope for real action on gun safety may indeed be alive. If even Joe Manchin is suddenly willing to consider (reinstating) an assault weapons ban, perhaps Harry Reid won't be afraid to finally do something.

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