January 8th, 2013
07:17 PM ET
2 years 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. Boomer in Mo

    Runsw/elk, I tried to run a nutjob down one night when he jumped in front of my truck in a remote rural area. Don't know what he was up to and didn't care. He got off the road! I tend to vote Democratic, but have voted for lots of Republicans. And we own guns, lots of guns. Best home defense weapon we have is a barely legal 16 gauge pump shotgun with a short barrel and no plug. I can get off 7 shots very quickly by holding the trigger back and pumping. Slap some 40 caliber slugs in it and you can cut a tree in half. But I really see little need to have an assault rifle. A bunch of shotguns, a deer rifle and a .22 rifle for varmint shooting are enough.

    January 9, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  2. Terry

    @Sniffit
    "Reports are that they're having the exact opposite reaction you've had and want something done about the proliferation of guns and gun culture."
    -----------------------------------------------–

    Please provides those "reports" you speak of.

    January 9, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  3. Terry

    @Rudy NYC
    "I would probably do what you did. Lay down on the floor, do as I am told, and pray for it to be over without anyone getting hurt. Lives are too precious to throw away on the whim of a panicky burglar or robber. Most of the time, they have no desire to use their weapons but they will do so when forced to...and they will kill anyone who could be a witness."
    -----------------------------------------------

    I can't possibly tell you how to think. Before the incident I spoke of occurred, I was of the same opinion you are now.
    Having gone through that experience, I haven chosen otherwise.

    January 9, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Paul wrote:

    Hey Rudy, who wrote:

    "How unfortunate. You're lucky to have survived unharmed. Nothing happened to your family. You should be glad that you didn't get into a shoot out with them. Sounds like you were outmanuevered and outnumbered."

    Listen up, buddy...not everybody is a sheep. Just because YOU would have been unwilling to protect yourself or your family and willing to put your very lives in the hands of criminals doesn't mean other people should. Not everybody is unwilling to protect their family, Rudy.
    --------------
    Name calling and venom. You've been watching too many action movies. If you think your life is worth a television, cash or a few other posessions, then may God bless you. You just put a price on your own life, and a pretty low one at that. Lives are too precious.

    January 9, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  5. TheVoice2

    I don't think an Afghan Veteran is the right person to listen to when it comes to gun control. Violence and guns is his nature of defense. That's how his mind has been trained. The bottom line for all of those gun lovers is that no one is trying to take your guns. One gun, one small magazine, per person or household, psych evaluation including family members. With security lock on every gun. So even if they are stolen, they will be useless. Sounds crazy but doable. Anyone voiolating those laws should be prosecuted at the Federal level, minimum of a felony. So if you want to own a gun, go through the hoops. Just like getting a drivers license. You break any law, you loose your right. Sorry NRA, our children come first not your gun business. BTW, you get to keep your guns!

    January 9, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  6. ltnet356

    When you ( as I have) walk into your house and confront 2 armed intruders, just call the police and wait 18 min. My result was them running into the bathroom and locking the door. Later the gun and knife were recovered.

    I will repeat the line " From my cold dead hands"

    Alive because of an what too many people want to take away.

    January 9, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  7. skyking1000

    Is it somehow a surprise Harry Reid has flip-flopped on the issue?

    January 9, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  8. Larry L

    @Paul

    "Except for the omission that a gun has but ONE purpose- to kill."

    Seriously? So shooting sports, target shooting, etc. are out? Have you ever done anything with guns other than be terrified of them?
    =============================================================================================== The conservation tends to drift away from the issues. Nobody with an important voice is trying to prevent people from defending themselves, hunting, or shooting targets. It's dishonest, deceptive and/or delusional to claim weapons of high capacity and high rate of fire are for any purpose than killing humans. It's no less foolish for gun enthusiasts (like me) to make ridiculous claims than for the anti-gun crowd to do the same. The the more you tell them all semi-automatic weapons aren't "assault rifles" the more you make people consider a ban on all semi-automatic weapons! Think!

    January 9, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  9. GI Joe

    What if they get a Vet with some brain damage (or whatever) and he goes into flashback and sees every tiny backpack as a potential body bomb. Then who is protecting and who is killing.

    Think.

    It's not about taking away your hunting rifles and hand guns - keep 'em forever. Hoard them. I don't care.

    There is no need for some of the pe.nis-extension stuff they are selling - they do not make up for your inadequacies.

    January 9, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    All you gun nut whackjobs should be thanking CNN for not focusing any reporting on the FL professor and others who are now trying to sell the conspiracy theory that Newtown was staged, that there really wasn't all these killings and/or that the Obama administration set the whole thing up, killed the mother using the secret service (or something) and then sent Lanza off to the school to finish the whole "false flag" operation.

    Truly, it's time to shine a spotlight on just how deep and broad the crazy is when it comes to these people, CNN. Do us all a service and perform some journalism for once.

    January 9, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "From my cold dead hands"

    That can be arranged.

    January 9, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "Is it somehow a surprise Harry Reid has flip-flopped on the issue?"

    Not at all. Newtown shoudl've been enough for the entire country to start rethinking their positions on gun safety and what is actually and realistically necessary in contemporay society to asssure our safety and freedoms. That Reid did so shows he's paying attention. The rest of you...not so much.

    January 9, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  13. Terry

    @Sniffit

    "From my cold dead hands"

    "That can be arranged."
    ---------------------------------------------–

    Be careful Buckwheat. You are very close to making a threat.

    January 9, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  14. John

    It looks as though Reids opinion won't matter – Obama will just issue an executive order to implment whatever he wants. Why do we need a Congress when we have The One?

    January 9, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "Please provides those "reports" you speak of."

    Just freekin Google it...or is your basement astroturf trolling computer locked so you can't surf the web?

    January 9, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  16. Malory Archer

    Wake up People!

    @Mallory Archer. Your last comment reminds me of something a wise woman once told me. Never get into a war of wits with an unarmed person.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Right on Wake up People – exactly why I stopped responding to GuestAgain.

    January 9, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  17. Malory Archer

    Al

    More people were killed last year by hammers and clubs than by rifles. Get the facts before you run your mouth off Obama

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Care to provide a CREDIBLE link to your claim? No, then get the facts before you run your mouth off Al

    January 9, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  18. Terry

    @Sniffit

    "Please provides those "reports" you speak of."

    Just freekin Google it...or is your basement astroturf trolling computer locked so you can't surf the web?

    -------------------------------------------

    I sense hostility in your response.

    January 9, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  19. Malory Archer

    ltnet356

    When you ( as I have) walk into your house and confront 2 armed intruders, just call the police and wait 18 min. My result was them running into the bathroom and locking the door. Later the gun and knife were recovered.

    I will repeat the line " From my cold dead hands"

    Alive because of an what too many people want to take away.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    If you were carrying a handgun vs. an assault weapon your point is moot as nobody is talking about handguns. In other words, your argument is a strawman.

    January 9, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  20. Malory Archer

    John

    It looks as though Reids opinion won't matter – Obama will just issue an executive order to implment whatever he wants.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    And you came to that conclusion because.......?

    January 9, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  21. Brett

    Malory Archer

    John

    It looks as though Reids opinion won't matter – Obama will just issue an executive order to implment whatever he wants.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    And you came to that conclusion because.......?
    ___________________________
    Because it is all over the news and he has done it with immigration. He doesn't want to take the effort to do his job and negotiate with others so he acts like Hugo Chavez and dictates. Obamanation is no fan of liberty. Zero faith in the Supreme leader.

    January 9, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Terry wrote:

    I can't possibly tell you how to think. Before the incident I spoke of occurred, I was of the same opinion you are now.
    Having gone through that experience, I haven chosen otherwise.
    --------------
    Sounds like that might be the only experience you will get a chance to look back on. Like I said, life is too precious. If you feel your life and those of your family are worth less than a few possessions, then may God bless you. I think you're selling yourself out cheap.

    January 9, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    "Not everybody is unwilling to protect their family, Rudy."

    Protect our families from whom and/or what?
    Our neighbors?
    Our T.V.?
    Useless Republican delusion?

    Fact is, if three quarters of you gun toting right wing respondents actually DO own guns, God help us all. LaPierrre was correct. We do have a mental health issue in America. Each and every gun owner in America should be required to undergo a thorough psych evaluation. That alone should cut down on big talk bravado from folks who have no idea what they are talking about.

    January 9, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    ""From my cold dead hands"

    "That can be arranged."
    ---------------–

    Be careful Buckwheat. You are very close to making a threat."

    Not really. Arrangements: send police to confiscate certain guns that have been banned or that they know these people possess without proper registrations andlicensing under new, stricter rules for registration and licensing. Then, watch these "responsible" gun owners use their guns to defend their guns and get their everloving butts whooped by the SWAT team. Cold dead confiscation achieved. World (and gene pool) just a little bit safer.

    January 9, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "I sense hostility in your response."

    We're done having patience with the slow kids.

    January 9, 2013 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
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