January 8th, 2013
07:17 PM ET
5 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. The Real Tom Paine



    "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.
    Nope, just frustration at trying to reason with an idiot. It happens when the rest of the world tries to enlighten a conservative to reality.

    January 9, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  2. Gonzo

    He's in a different place, but he won't give back all the money he's taken from the NRA, will he? For that matter, the other Dem hypocrite, BO himself, has been in office for 4 years, and has never gone up against the NRA. Until now, when he has no choice. Fine leaders....

    January 9, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  3. Getoverit


    It happens when the rest of the world tries to enlighten a conservative to reality.
    P.S.: Not laughing with you...

    January 9, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  4. Brett

    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.
    You sound just as crazy as anyone I have heard. Openly cheering for people to be killed. You may think your cause is righteous but in the end the blood is on your hands just like your supposed foes.

    January 9, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  5. FactCheck

    The ow IQ level of the posts from the pro-gun crowd on this forum is ample evidence for the need for stricter screening.

    January 9, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  6. walleye46

    I believe the 2nd amendment should be upheld, but the WORDING of this amendment is antiquated and does not reflect the realities of the 20th century. Founding fathers could not foresee the technological changes that we now live with. Shooting hundreds of bullets a minute is quite different from when it took 5 minutes to load a musket. The principals of this amendment should be adhered to, but it needs to be updated to PROTECT the population from tragedies like Newtown and Aurora. I would also say that until a logical plan can be implemented and changes made there should be an IMMEDIATE ban on the sale of these assault weapons. No one needs this type of gun to hunt deer or pheasants.

    January 9, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  7. Terry


    "I sense hostility in your response."

    We're done having patience with the slow kids.
    Wow, hostile, threatening and throwing retarded children metaphors.

    January 9, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  8. tarura

    Disarmed society is easy to control by the government. III Reich and Soviet Union had disarmed societies where citizens could not defend themself from the tyrany on their own government – seems Obama wants to go this path for the US.

    January 9, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  9. Sniffit


    It happens when the rest of the world tries to enlighten a conservative to reality.
    P.S.: Not laughing with you..."

    Interesting, seeing as how you just attributed the quote incorrectly and made a fool of yourself.

    January 9, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  10. GonzoinHouston

    An new gun law will require the Supreme Court to overturn their Heller v District of Columbia decision. In this decision, the SC ruled, for the first time in 200 years, that the 2nd Amendment really did mean to protect the private citizen's right to own firearms. I expected this decision to become to liberals what Roe is to conservatives, but I haven't seen much interest.

    January 9, 2013 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  11. Dave

    It appears as though we are having a major issue with people getting killed by guns in the USA with perhaps 20 to 25 getting killed in one killing and several more getting killed in criminal activity through out the nation with illegally purchased and operated guns. Let's put the totals up of say 100 people killed per year by guns. Based on that our political leaders are spending millions of dollars to propose and enact some sort of gun regulation and attack on the very Constitution of the USA, or legal backbone. Ok, I'll go along with that. So if that total is concertative, let's change it to 250 people killed per year. Would that get the gun lovers attention? Then anything that kills at least 250 people per year should be outlawed, right? Let's see then that would include cars, motorcycles, trucks, boats, airplanes, doctors, sports events, marriage, kids, smoking, booze, war, police actions, police in general, fire, and of course the one that has killed more people than anything in mankind, religon. How does that sound? If we outlaw all of those we will not have as many people getting killed right, but more people around to take care of too. If you want freedom don't give it away. Once you give it away, you will never get it back.

    January 9, 2013 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  12. UDidntBuildThat

    I do hope that Obama acts unilaterally and pass an executive order on gun restriction. He is the King of America right? He knows what is best for all of us as he travels around with a very welled armed S.S.

    January 9, 2013 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  13. wastewater1

    Gun control no – background checks on all legal weapons, yes – anyone w/illegal qeapon in hand, mandatory 5 years! Begin spending monies on mental health issues which is a crisis in society....

    January 9, 2013 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  14. History Student

    Regarding the current debating of gun rights, I wish people would study a little history and understand that at the time the second amendment was written, the Founders were establishing that the citizenry of the country had the same level of arms as the army. Not a lesser standard but equal to what was available to the government controlled military. The second amendment is not there to protect the right to hunt or to repel foreign invasion (that's why the Founders put in place a mechanism for a standing army and a civilian control position of a commander in chief, aka the President). The second amendment exists for one thing...to keep the government mindful that, if necessary, the people could effect another revolution if the inalienable rights that were just so valiantly fought for and won remain in place.

    January 9, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  15. 2020

    It is ashame American became a slaughter house of young, old, white and not white. it is a war zone.

    Any politician should wake up from this madness slaughter of babies, 20 of them. What is wrong with this society.

    No guts, no sense of human dignity?

    Comeone, NRA the spokesman is a mad dog without a brain.

    January 9, 2013 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  16. hcx

    The NRA thickly lines their pockets by the paranoia of the right.

    January 9, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  17. Larry L


    Disarmed society is easy to control by the government. III Reich and Soviet Union had disarmed societies where citizens could not defend themself from the tyrany on their own government – seems Obama wants to go this path for the US.
    ================================================================================================ Dang! You've uncovered the plot! We confess... Those of us who have dedicated our lives to defense of our country's freedoms have conspired with the President to convert America into a totalitarian state. Our evil plan included first and foremost – the reduction of high capacity and capability weapons from the hands of a seemingly innocuous, but deceptively threatening crowd of overweight, undereducated, and poorly-dressed right-wing bigots. If we can just keep them from acquiring too much firepower we can move to phase two... That's of course is where we force everybody to become a Muslim and marry a person of the opposite sex. Now I'm putting on my Birkenstocks, hopping in the Prius and moving to Canada! You clever Devil! Curse you for ruining the plan!

    January 9, 2013 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  18. BostonSteve

    WAIT!!....we still haven't heard from the Hollywood movie "actor" Matt Damon.....he knows all.

    January 9, 2013 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  19. Craig R B

    Unfortunately the simple minded people believe that their guns will be taken away. The NRA is pushing this propaganda to sell more guns however, I've heard that a large majority of NRA members want tougher regulations and that's encouraging because with over 11,000 gun related deaths each year in America something has to be done. Granted, there are social, mental and other issues to deal with too but we must start with an understanding that controls are necessary in a messed up society.

    January 9, 2013 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  20. Rogue351

    Hold gun owners finically responsible if their gun is stolen and used in a crime How else are the criminals getting the guns in the first place ? We have so many here they are going over our boarders to other countries. We talk about out illegal immigrant problem and what it does to our country but what do our gun do to others. There is a problem. Regardless if it is the NRA, the gun owners, the gun makers, the laws, or the people selling the guns something needs to change. It is plain STUPID to think otherwise solely based on our constitution when it not only impacts people here in the USA but people in South America and Canada. Sure you can own a gun, just be responsible for it. The GOP is always saying that people need to be responsible. Well here is your chance, take responsibility for your guns. If you had done this in the first place we would not have as many guns on the streets. The Federal Governed would not have to step in and make laws. Back ground checks, totally except able. If you drive a car you have to have a license and you are in a data base. Stop the paranoia of a government taking over, taking your guns and enslaving the who USA. That is Stupid, we are worth more to the government working and paying taxes than we are as there slaves, use your heads. Fighting off a tyrannical government ? I don't think so. Not unless you pass laws and anyone who can afford it can own an F16, or a nuke. Any gun you keep in your home no matter how good of a shot you are, when used against the government or law enforcement is going to result in a no win situation for you. Realize it and move on with your life. Gun are not the end all be all of being an American. If you think they are then you are NOT an American. It is a true fact guns do not kill people, people with guns kill people. I would also like to point out that an AR15 or any large caliber gun for that matter is not a great choice for home defense. The rounds will more than likely pass out of your home and into at the very least one if not two homes in the path of that bullet. So you may in fact shoot the "Bad Guy" but you may also shoot your neighbor. So yes, people that do not have guns have just as much right to be in on this debate as the ones with guns. Another sobering fact, chances are better than not, your gun will more than likely be taken away from you by the "Bad Guy" and used against you. People who have not be trained, and I do not mean a 3 hour class of a couple of hours at the range will more than likely panic and hurt themselves, a family member or have the gun used against them. So before you say, You can take my gun when you pry it from my cold dead hand, use your brain that god gave you and think. Speaking of god, how Christian are guns, killing for pleasure which A LOT of Trophy hunters do. I was under the impression that turn the other cheer and love was the main message passed on by most churches here in the USA ? Where exactly does Kill, destroy, wound and hate come into the equation as far as modern Christianity ? And if that is the message you are getting from your pastor then what exactly is the difference between him and the militant terrorists we are fighting in Afghanistan. The brand of religion, have you really stooped that low. I would like to think America is much more than a religious armed group of fundamentalists. Which by the way is exactly the way you are being viewed by the rest of the world, our allies. And if you think for one second a million man arm from China is going to roll up undetected on our shores and your AR15 or 45 is going to change anything think again. You have watched way to many hollywood movies. I an attack ever does come it will be via a computer and your gun will not do you a bit of good. A key Board maybe, but in the case for who this message is directed at I doubt it.

    January 10, 2013 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  21. James

    tarura, your argument that guns have an effect of stopping a tyrannical government is entirely illogical. Our country spends more on defense than the next 13 largest countries combined. Do you think that some person with a 5th grade education and a job at Walmart is going to provide anything but an easy target to the US Military? Not at all. What stops totalitarianism is the idea, values and nobility of a free country. The dystopian present that you encourage is so bad that it makes people want to see the government march into your home and take away your guns. How many people cheered on David Karesh? If he had been a decent, intelligent, reasonable person people would have cared, but instead people just felt sorry for the poor fools who were duped into taking up arms against their government. This current administration has no desire to take away reasonable weapons from reasonable people, but the more that paranoid delusionals compare our current situation to Nazi Germany or Stalin's USSR, the more it makes it possible that, one day, people will see you as a bigger threat ( which you are ) and look the other way when they kick down your door. My preference is that people like you would take a deep breath, realize that no one is out to get you, accept that the second amendment states that regulation of weapons is reasonable, and start showing some compassion and common sense. You can keep salivating over assault weapons or you can join the human race. Come on in. The water's fine. If not, you're building a worse world for yourself and the rest of us.

    January 10, 2013 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  22. OverIt

    Quite frankly as a law abiding gun owner I am over it, I will not comply with any bans, if they want to kill me for a pistol grip or a 30 round mag, so be it. I have nothing left to lose at 74 years old.

    January 10, 2013 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  23. Sanity

    No one needs these so called 'Assault weapons' right? Never any reason a civilan would need one.
    Remeber the riots in LA after the first Rodney King verdict? The mob tore through stores looting and destroying anything
    in their way.....I remember seeing the interview with a shop owner who had his store intact in the middle of the destruction, he and his brothers had been there to protect the store, with their 'Assault Weapons' and semi auto shotguns. They didnt have to fire a shot, the mob saw the hardware and decided to head to a softer target.
    The breakdown of civilization, failure of law and order whether its for 1 day, 1 week, or longer CAN and has happend.
    When it does you can be a victim, or you can choose to protect yourself, your family and loved ones.

    January 10, 2013 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  24. KRhodes

    They are getting ready to go to far...elections in 2014.

    January 10, 2013 02:48 am at 2:48 am |
  25. Name

    I think it's interesting that people like to say gun owners and defenders of the second amendment are the unintelligent ones. In this case, it is the exact opposite. Almost all but one massacre occurred in an anti-gun zone recently. In Australia and the UK murder rates are soaring since guns have been banned. Banning guns only makes the problem worse just like prohibition did in the 20s. People will always have access to guns. It's the honest citizens that will suffer. Guns are in place to prevent tyranny from the government. Before all mass slaughters performed by a government on its citizens, guns were shortly removed. More safety does not mean freedom being taken away. To have some safety in exchange for a small loss of freedom is idiotic. You will then lose both. This came from Benjamin Franklin himself. Be careful what you wish for.

    January 10, 2013 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
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