Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Nevada Responses to Obama's Gun Safety Reform Agenda

Hot on the heels of President Obama's announcement on gun safety actions, we're now starting to get responses from Nevada's members of Congress. First off, Rep. Steven Horsford (D-North Las Vegas) was quick to release this statement.

"I approach gun safety as a parent of three young children and the son of a father who lost his life to gun violence. My daughter is the same age as the kids whose lives were taken from them, and my heart still breaks for the victims in Newtown. It is time for us to step up: if we can prevent another mass shooting or save just one life, we have to act. [...]

"Universal background checks can help prevent those who are legally prohibited from buying a gun from obtaining what can become a dangerous weapon. Military-style assault weapons do not belong on our streets, and neither do high-capacity magazines that are designed to inflict maximum damage.

"This is not about taking guns away from law-abiding citizens. I support the Second Amendment and the right of individuals to bear arms for recreation, hunting, or self-defense. That does not mean we cannot have reasonable gun laws to keep military designed weapons out of our neighborhoods and communities. We need to come together as a country and have a serious conversation about how to make our malls, movie theaters, and schools safe again."

So Mr. President has at least one Nevadan on Capitol Hill who's definitely in his corner. In the mean time, Nevada's Senators both seem to be in a squishier spot.

“I am committed to ensuring that the Senate will consider legislation that addresses gun violence,” Reid said in a statement released Wednesday. “All options should be on the table moving forward.”

Reid did not say how he would vote on individual items in the president’s package that require congressional approval. Reid did not vote for the last assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004.

Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller, meanwhile, has said he supports a discussion about violence and mental health but did not mention gun control.

So at least we now know Reid will bring the President's package to the Senate floor. We just don't know yet how he will vote. And we don't know yet how he will be whipping other votes.

And as for Heller, he's in a pickle (as usual). Does he want to be seen as knee-jerk against whatever the President proposes? Or will "Mr. 46%" see an opportunity to claim some middle ground?

And then, we have Nevada's other Members of Congress. Mark Amodei (R-Why Bother) will probably vote against it because he's afraid of the "tea party". Joe Heck (R-The Other Side of the 215) probably feels the same way, but also has to balance that with the much swingier nature of NV-03. I will just be surprised if Dina Titus (D-She's Back) actually opposes this, since she represents the most urban district in the state, a gun violence incident happened just last month in what's now her district, and President Obama is most popular there.

Obama made a direct plea to constituents of places like Nevada in his announcement Wednesday.

“We’re going to need voices in those areas and those congressional districts where the tradition of gun ownership is strong to speak up and say, ‘This is important,’” Obama said. “It can’t just be the usual suspects...Ask them what’s more important? Getting the ‘A’ grade from the gun lobby...or giving parents peace of mind when they drop their child off for first grade?”

As Desert Beacon reminded us on Monday, the gun safety reforms proposed by the President have the broad support of the American people. Yes, even the assault weapons ban does. After all, why are we seeing military grade weapons in our civilian communities? That should really make no sense.

And hopefully, Nevada's Members of Congress will ponder that some more.

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