- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Gun owners who cheered when the Senate failed to pass numerous anti-gun bills last week should temper their enthusiasm. The liberal wing of the Democratic party, led by President Obama and funded by New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, has already started to use the votes to oust pro-Second Amendment senators in 2014.

After voting on a series of amendments, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pulled the entire bill from the floor Thursday when it became clear that it could never get the 60 votes to pass. Sources say the White House forced the Nevada Democrat to put the bill on the floor, either out of the mistaken belief that it had 62 votes for background checks of private firearms transfers or that it wanted to get pro-gun Republicans on the record.

Bloomberg shoots first

After Mr. Reid cancelled the vote, Mr. Bloomberg fumed and indicated the type of attack ads he would be funding leading up to the 2014 election. “This is just an up and down vote. Condone murder or don’t. It’s not any more complex than that,” he said.

By the weekend, his group Mayors Against Illegal Guns had organized protests with the theme “Shame On You” at the congressional offices of the senators it has now determined vulnerable for voting against the expanded background checks amendment written by Sen. Joe Manchin, West Virginia Democrat and Sen. Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican.

The anti-gun group protest went after only one Democrat, Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, who announced Tuesday that he will not seek reelection in 2014. The Republican targets were Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Dan Coats of Indiana, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Dean Heller of Nevada, Johnny Isakson of Georgia and Rob Portman of Ohio.

As the anti-gun lobby is firing live rounds, Americans who wish to vote and support senators who will fight for the Second Amendment should know who is with them, who is against them and who can still be reasoned with on Capitol Hill.

Key anti-gun vote results

The Senate GOP largely stuck together for the four anti-gun amendments to the bill, – except in a few notable cases — while Democrats lost up to 15 members at a time for these Big Brother proposals.

Mr. Baucus, Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas all bucked their party leadership and voted “nay” for all three of these key votes.

The Manchin-Toomey background check bill, which would criminalize private gun transfers, got support from three other Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Mark Kirk of Illinois and John McCain of Arizona.

Mr. Kirk was the only member of the GOP who voted for the failed “high-capacity magazine” bill sponsored by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey Democrat. Those who broke rank with their majority party in order to allow people to have magazines that hold more than 10 rounds were Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mr. Machin, Sen. Jon Tester of Montana and Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia.

California’s Sen. Dianne Feinstein saw the greatest defections of her fellow Democrats when it came time to vote on her “assault weapon” ban, which failed 40 to 60. Those who wisely voted against banning guns because they look scary were all the same ones who voted against banning so-called high capacity magazines, as well as: Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado and Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico. Once again, Mr. Kirk was the lone Republican to vote for legislation that was law for 10 years but did not reduce crime.

Pro-gun vote results

There were seven Democrats who voted in favor of all three key pro-gun bills: Mr. Baucus, Mr. Begich, Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Mrs. Hagan, Mrs. Heitkamp, Mr. Pryor and Mr. Tester.

This group supported an alternative bill that strengthened the rights of law-abiding gun owners and made it harder for criminals to get guns, which was sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican and ranking member of the Judiciary Committee.

The important national concealed carry reciprocity amendment, sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, got all Republicans’ votes (except Mr. Kirk’s, natch) and significant support from Democrats. Mr. Heinrich, Mrs. Landrieu, Mr. Manchin, Mr. Udall of Colorado, Mr. Udall of New Mexico and Mr. Warner all voted in favor of this common-sense bill.  

Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming sponsored one of only two amendments to the gun bill that passed the Senate.  His legislation would have blocked the government from publicly releasing any information about gun owners. All the Republicans voted in favor (even Mr. Kirk) and a larger group of Democrats: Mr. Bennet, Sen. Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, Mr. Heinrich, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, Sen. Amy  Klobuchar of Minnesota,  Mrs. Landrieu, Mr. Manchin, Mrs. McCaskill, Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Mr. Udall of Colorado, Mr. Udall of New Mexico, Mr. Warner and Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon.

2014 targets

Right now, Mr. Bloomberg is taking out his anger on those who voted against background checks, but expect that list to broaden to any senator up for reelection in 2014 who voted against his demands. The high-value target list would include all the Republicans, as well as these Democrats: Mr. Begich, Mrs. Hagan, Mrs. Landrieu and Mr. Pryor. Several Democrats up in 2014 had a moderate voting record on gun rights last week and so could fall victim to Mr. Bloomberg’s high-dollar advertising, including Mr. Udall of Colorado, Mr. Udall of New Mexico and Mr. Warner of Virginia.

The billionaire mayor already wasted $12 million on political ads over the last month to that failed to sway the votes of Mr. Donnelly, Mrs. Hagan, Mrs. Heitkamp, Mrs. Landrieu and Mr. Pryor.  The ads were also run against Republican Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Mrs. Collins, Mr. Grassley and Mr. Toomey. The group pulled the attacks on Mr. Toomey once he introduced the expanded background check amendment.

Mr. Bloomberg could easily outspend the National Rifle Association (NRA), without labor-intensive fundraising. The NRA, however, has over four million members and an extensive grassroots operation experienced in political campaigns. Law-abiding gun owners ought to give their money, time and votes to the courageous members of the Senate who won’t be swayed by Bloomberg’s cash or Obama’s drama.