January 8th, 2013
07:17 PM ET
1 year ago

Reid adviser: Senate majority leader 'in a different place' on gun control

Washington (CNN) - A staunch supporter of gun rights for years, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may be changing his position on the contentious issue in the aftermath of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

The nation’s top Democrat in Congress has faced scrutiny in recent weeks for his close ties with the National Rifle Association. On December 30, the Washington Post reported that Reid slipped a provision into the 2010 national health care law that restricts the government from collecting data on gun ownership.

A Democratic source close to the passage of the landmark legislation said the last-minute provision was aimed at avoiding any opposition from the NRA that could have scuttled the entire bill.

"This is what was viewed as a relatively benign way to make sure the NRA didn't get involved with this," the Democratic source told CNN.

However an adviser to Reid, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Reid’s feelings on gun control have changed since President Barack Obama signed health care reform into law.

"He’s in a different place than he was in 2010," the adviser told CNN.

As Senate majority leader, Reid has great influence to speed or slow the consideration of legislation on Capitol Hill.

In the aftermath of the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado, Reid told reporters that "with the schedule we have, we're not going to get into a debate on gun control."

But in the days after the shooting in Newtown, Reid’s posture changed. "We need to accept the reality that we are not doing enough to protect our citizens,” Reid said on the Senate floor.

Reid aggressively courted the support of gun enthusiasts in a close battle for re-election in 2010. One week after the president signed the health care bill, Reid invited the NRA’s executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, to the opening of a new gun range in Nevada.

At the event, LaPierre praised Reid’s work on gun rights.

“I also want to thank you for your support every day at the federal level for the Second Amendment and for the rights of gun owners," LaPierre told the crowd.

During the fierce debate over the health care law, a few health care advocates who spotted the gun provision, entitled “Protection of Second Amendment Gun Rights,” immediately suspected the NRA’s involvement.

“It’s obviously a testament to the power of the NRA lobby,” Ethan Rome, the executive director of Health Care for America Now, said.

Democratic sources say the NRA was not viewed as the only threat to the health care law. Lawmakers were also concerned about conspiracy theories circulating on conservative blogs that falsely accused the Obama administration of seeking to use the health care law to strip gun owners of their firearms.

One firearms advocacy group, Gun Owners of America, insists the law remains a concern.

"It says that all of our medical records are available to be pawed through by bureaucrats somewhere in Washington, looking for a reason to disenfranchise gun owners," the group’s president, Larry Pratt, said on a Web radio show last November.


Filed under: Gun rights • Harry Reid
soundoff (276 Responses)
  1. derherr65

    "Gun control" is a lie. "Gun control" is a liberal propaganda phrase intended to deceive. You have cruise control in your car. Does it limit the number of speeds at which you can cruise? Does it limit how often you can cruise? Does it limit where you can cruise? Does it limit in which vehicles you can cruise? Does it require that you register with the government or store your car at the local police station when not in use? Of course not, it allows YOU to control your cruise. Liberal "Gun control" is nothing of the kind, it is gun banning, gun confiscation, denial of self defense, infringement of personal rights and violation of the constitution.

    January 8, 2013 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  2. Larry L

    Both pro-gun safety and staunch defenders of gun ownership now need to come together with reasonable compromise. No more photos of dead children and no more sound bites from the N.R.A. It's time to use honesty and good, common sense to create laws that are practicable – not political theater. As an avid gun collector and hunter I'm willing to compromise – because neither of the extreme positions are logical.

    January 8, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  3. Tony in Maine

    Maybe we need to outlaw lobbiests including the NRA.

    January 8, 2013 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  4. dreamer96

    There is no law that says a private company can not setup cameras across the street from every gun store in the country, and record the pictures of anyone entering the store...and leaving.....having a camera in front of your business, or home that also captures the street and the gun store across the street is not against the law...we are all video taped as we buy gas at the gas station....do we stop buying gas????

    merchants put tags in our produces so they can not be shoplifted easy....why not do the same for ammunition...then we can see both the good gun owners and the criminal gun owners by tracking the ammunition they buy and use....

    January 8, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  5. DENNA

    Nuts don't have the right to own a gun. The Newtown shooter had no business having access to that kind of fire power. His mother, a legal gun owner was the first line of defense against the carnage he caused, but she failed to see the danger. The gun rights crowd refuses to even consider that not all gun owners are mentally stable. We seriously need to exercise some kind of controls over who has access to guns. I am not anti-gun, just anti-guns for everyone. It is like living in Dodge City. Wayne LaPierre, wake up. How much more bloodshed? Now many lives?

    January 8, 2013 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  6. Mike

    NRA = Cowards

    January 8, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  7. Dennis

    Reid is a bitter old man, who as a Socialist has voted to destroy American Moral Values, moved people from work to welfare, run up a $16 Trillion Dollar Debt for our Country we will NEVER repay, taken God out of schools and, as a result of his Socialist Agenda to "tolerate" those who are "different" put killers in schools where there is NO protection, and certainly NO Education. He and his Band of Demoncrats have totally destroyed the future of our Children, replaced the work ethic for the "Government Doll by Hand Outs". In just a few years, we'll all be going to Doctors waiting in lines of 60 – 100 people at at time waiting to "Take A Number" and continue to wait your turn, then fill out government forms, wait months for your medical bills to be paid, and you won't be able to be admitted into hospitals becasue they'll either be shut down, or overflowing by those still waiting in line. To Think, Reid destroyed in say 35 or 40 years what our ForeFathers built in 160 years. Who cares about the old goat.

    January 8, 2013 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  8. Name lynn

    what can be done different about guns an how can people stop them coorks from getting guns in their hands

    January 8, 2013 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  9. Wayne Kleinfelter

    Typical politician. Worried about their own pocketbooks and don't have the balls to stand up against the NRA in doing the job he is in Washington to do. He and many other gun rights supporters should be booted out of politics immediately. New legislation should be passed toward treating those killers without a threat to their own personal safety, executed at dawn tomorrow without further trial. Period!!!!!!!

    January 8, 2013 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  10. plain&simple

    We keep better records on the conditions of a car than we do of ourselves. Our doctors and gun regulators need to know our medical conditions wherever we travel. If I've been in a mental hospital or treated for paranoia,or severe depression that needs to be known. There has to be a data bank to show this and put up a red flag. Just as we know who the criminals are we have to know who is unbalanced.....

    January 8, 2013 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  11. LIP

    Senator Reid said "we are not doing enough to protect our citizens". I hope that he is not limiting his concern to assault weapons, armor piercing bullets and large magazines and intends to include games of violence and violence and sex in movies and TV shows with lewd sex, swearing and violence. Our world is going to hell rather fast and those people that are reaping a harvest are at the same time destroying all that is worth saving...our youth. The theatre shooting and the school shooting all look like classic representations of scenes from "games of violence".

    January 8, 2013 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  12. 2nd Amendment

    Sit boy, sit. Good puppet.

    January 8, 2013 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  13. My bum hurts sitting for so long waiting for something to happen

    Reid maybe sending a signal that he may be his last term.

    January 8, 2013 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  14. JD

    Senate majority leader for now what will be 8 years. The entirety of this disaster. Please. No arguments against me. You would be declaring your IQ as low.

    This guy had gotten the biggest pass ever. He is an embarrassment.

    January 8, 2013 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  15. Jd

    Voted for the war in Iraq. Patriot act You know what. I could go on. But. Let's leave it at. This has been a continuation of the bush policies. Thanks Harry.

    January 9, 2013 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  16. aaron

    If you want to own a weapon that is capable of killing dozens of people without reloading, you're dang right your medical records, especially those concerning mental health, should be subject to scrutiny.

    January 9, 2013 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  17. R Caspar

    Insanity. 4,300,000 member strong NRA holding 316,000,000 Americans hostage over responsible gun ownership. No one is going to take there guns away yet they fight against sensible, responsible gun ownership. The leadership of the NRA is in need of some serious psychiatric help to overcome the fear with which they view the world

    January 9, 2013 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  18. the_dude

    Reid is in a tough spot. A lot of gun owners in Nevada.

    January 9, 2013 02:32 am at 2:32 am |
  19. Raven

    Do we expect anything else but weak kneed capitulation from almost everyone in congress ??
    They can change their minds... and votes... with the drop of a hard look.

    January 9, 2013 02:52 am at 2:52 am |
  20. uncommonsense

    I really hate to bring this up, and please correct me if I am wrong, but didn't they find the AR15 in the trunk of the car and four pistols on the lunatic in Sandy Hook? Why are we talking about bringing back an AWB?

    January 9, 2013 03:40 am at 3:40 am |
  21. Rob

    Let me get this straight, another democrat is flop flopping his position.... How shocking

    January 9, 2013 04:21 am at 4:21 am |
  22. Quixote

    Hunting weapons which were around for centuries are not the problem. The problem is that in the last thirty five years weapons dealers figured out they could make a fortune selling military hardware to insecure men who want to play GI Joe as adults. They coopted the nra as their lobbying front and have been marketing weapons of mass destruction to civilians now for a few decades. The law needs to address semi automatic assault rifles and semi auto pistols which can accept a high capacity magazine, and high capacity magazines. In Aurora the shooter got off thirty rounds in 27 seconds. That is insane. No civilian should have that kind of firepower. And that nut case on Peirs Morgan is further proof of exactly what kind of deranged individuals think they need those kinds of arsenals. A whack job going on about one world governments and international conspiracy in one breath, then bragging about having more than fifty weapons in the next. That man should be in a locked facility for a psych eval right now, not home posing a clear and present danger to everyone in his community.

    January 9, 2013 05:38 am at 5:38 am |
  23. Greg

    It's amazing. The acts of less then 10 homicidal people (columbine, red lake, Virginia tech, sandy hook, Colorado movie theater, Dc sniper, etc) are viewed as justification for bans on all of a certain style of rifle (which less then half of those people used in their homicides). Nobody wants to admit that those people could not have been controlled through additional laws. Saying a ban on a certain type of lower powered rifle could stop a determined homicidal person is like saying banning vodka will prevent all drunk driving fatalities. It doesn't make sense at all. The only reason for the issues with "assault weapons" is flat out ignorance. Ignorance of what they are, how they work, their supposed lethality, the laws, and the danger they pose society. The only reason anti-gun organizations have any followers is because people believe their ignorant statements and never bother to check the facts. There has been no hard evidence that any anti-gun person has come up with to absolutely show that ar15s pose a greater risk to society then any other rifle. Yet it is labeled as almost a weapon of mass destruction. Get real.

    January 9, 2013 05:45 am at 5:45 am |
  24. Marie MD

    A pro gun mormon. What is the world coming to? The NRA doesn't have enough members or enough money to fight this battle that is NOT going to go away.

    January 9, 2013 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  25. Bob_lawbla

    True to form, Reid demonstrates once again how he is more concerned about his own political livelyhood than serving his constituents. Oddly enough the progressives will call someone else a flip-flopper for making this same decision.

    January 9, 2013 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
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