On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D, NV) took a pass on directly supporting the most talked about Democrat-sponsored anti-gun legislation in Washington. The bill, sponsored by California’s Dianne Feinstein (D, CA), would renew and enlarge a federal ban on assault weapons.
Feinstein’s legislation was introduced to great media fanfare last week, but this week Reid told reporters that he’d bring other legislation to the floor and allow it to undergo what promises to be a lengthy amendment process.
Reid declined to commit to bringing Feinstein’s bill to the floor even though that bill was publicly supported by the Democrat’s second and third ranking senate members.
Senate Leader Reid praised Senator Feinstein for her enthusiasm for her bill but suggested hers wasn’t the only game in town. “We’re going to have votes on all kinds of issues dealing with guns, and I think everyone would be well advised to read the legislation before they determine how they’re going to vote,” he said to reporters.
As part of that process, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D, VT) also announced plans to hold hearings on gun violence.
Perhaps this whole issue is making Senator Reid a bit uncomfortable, though. After all, Harry Reid was one of the Democrats that in 2004 helped stave off a renewal of the 1994 assault weapons ban. And yet this time he has promised to do his utmost to “bring legislation dealing with guns and violence” to the floor.
In fact, Reid’s own website touts his past opposition to assault weapons bans. On the “Sportsmen for Harry Reid” page on his 2012 campaign website, the Senator proudly proclaims his support for the Second Amendment, saying he “staunchly opposed to the so-called assault weapons ban, played a critical role in passing a law to protect gun manufacturers from junk lawsuits, and consistently votes to protect Nevadans’ Second Amendment rights.”
On that same page, Reid even featured the endorsement of the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre who said he was “proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Senator Reid in our fight to protect the Second Amendment.”
Will the Democrat’s top man in the Senate continue to walk this tightrope, or will he throw to the winds all pretense of supporting the Second Amendment and go with a Feinstein-like gun ban?