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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Senate Democrats Divided On Obama's Gun Control Agenda

By Susan Duclos

Despite all the liberal talk about how divided the GOP, it appears from recent votes that Senate Democrats have divisions of their own, and their divisions will make Barack Obama's gun control agenda harder to get through the Senate, even knowing the GOP controlled House will not pass any bills that infringe on Americans Second Amendment rights.

Via The Hill:

The 50-49 vote on the budget could spell the most trouble for gun control legislation, which is next on the Senate docket.

Democrats have struggled to unify behind gun legislation, and budget defectors Sens. Mark Pryor (Ark.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Mark Begich (Alaska) and Baucus all hail from states where restrictions on firearms are unpopular.

Already, Democrats from conservative states are pushing back on television ads financed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) that urge them to support a universal background check system for gun purchases.

“I don’t take gun advice from the Mayor of NYC. I listen to Arkansans,” Pryor wrote in a Twitter post Monday.

Freshman Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) criticized Bloomberg for ads “attacking a way of life he does not understand.”

Red-state Democrats who are digging in for tough races in 2014 could balk at casting “yes” votes on gun control that could be used against them in campaign ads, and they might welcome the opportunity to show their independence from Obama.

Earlier in March, Reid has stripped Senator Dianne Feinstein's weapons ban from the Senate gun bill, along with a ban on high-capacity magazines, in the hopes of generating support for the rest of the Senate gun bill. Both of those can be offered as a separate amendment.

Reid's reasoning was so that red state Democrats would have the protection of voting against the two amendments, but able to support the Senate gun bill.

Politico wrote at the time:

"Reid's decision highlights the tightrope walked by the majority leader in governing the gun control issue. Trapped between the White House and rank-and-file Democrats who support broad gun control legislation following the shootings last December in Newtown, Conn., Reid must also be mindful of red-state Democrats up for reelection in 2014 who favor gun rights."

 There is bipartisan support for two portions of what is expected to be in the Senate gun bill. Additional money to boost school safety and a gun trafficking bill that makes “straw” purchasing – legally buying a gun to give to a criminal or someone not allowed to have one — illegal.

Should Reid also leave in language on universal background checks or expanding federal background checks, then his reasoning for dropping the ban on weapons and high-capacity magazines, could become moot, because vulnerable red state Democrats are likely to vote against the bill as a whole.

Obama and liberals have invested so much public airtime on convincing liberal supporters that any bill excluding the weapons ban, high-capacity magazine and clip ban, and expanded background checks, is almost worthless, that passing the other aspects of the Senate gun bill without them, will be considered a loss by liberals and their supporters.

Public support for stricter gun control laws has faded as support for keeping the laws as they are or making them less strict has grown, according to the latest poll conducted by CBS News.

As more public support for Obama's gun control agenda fades, so shall the support from the red state Democrats, dividing them even more.