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. Steve From NH

    Nobody who could do anything is trying to take away all guns.
    And for the record, guns do kill people. That's what they're for.

    January 9, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  2. Rob Lowry

    Malory Archer ...
    I'm pro-gun rights, and pretty much agree with your proposal and thank you for a sane response to a sensitive topic : )

    Gun ownership should carry a certain mandate for 'responsibility'. Far too many times I've witnessed people handling a firearm that absolutely terrified me. Just like automobile ownership, there should be rules regarding gun ownership.

    January 9, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  3. rs

    just sayin-
    PROVE IT!
    Crazy Wayne La Pierre has been saying "Obamas gonna git yer guns" for 6 years. Maybe, just because the gun lobby and gun owners have utterly failed to patrol their own ranks, the nation really is ready for gun control that works. If you have anyone to complain about, look in the mirror.

    January 9, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  4. Jay D

    Government regulations:
    Real estate agents = yearly license fee and 6 hours of continuing education.
    Tax Preparers = yearly license fee and 15 hours of continuing education.
    Auto = yearly license fees, insurance, sales tracking, mandatory first time training and continuing education.
    Gun Owners = no license fees to own, no continuing education, no insurance to carry, no tracking, no background checks, etc.. "Priceless"
    Well you get what you paid for. Lousy system...Lousy results.

    January 9, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  5. Rob Lowry

    Calamity Jane....
    It's a well fabricated mis-truth that people have military grade weapons. A real military weapon is in a completely different category than what is available to civilians ... and have been banned for quite some time. Military weapons fire on full-automatic or in burst-fire configurations ... civilian semi-autos fire each time you pull the trigger (as do pretty much all modern made firearms, to include a revolver).

    What they have is something that resembles a military rifle (or tank) in many ways but isn't one .... it would never be used in actual combat by a soldier, and does not have the same level of lethality. I served in the military and carried an M16 during a time of war. The capability of an M16 is terrifying ... the M16 looklikes, while deadly do not compare.

    Read Senator Feinstein's website ... she says she's going after military weapons, but in reading her criteria it's obvious she's really going after all firearms. A pistol grip and a collapsible stock have nothing to do with how lethal a weapon is. She explicitly calls out semi-auto rifles, pistols and shotguns (a revolver fits into her criteria).

    January 9, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Donna

    Liberals and their LSM lackeys have failed to point out that Conn. essentially HAS an assault weapons ban. Did it stop this from occurring? Of course not.
    -------------
    So, just go to another state that has no ban and buy it there, which is exactly what occurred. BTW, blaming violent video games and movies only makes the case for an assault rifle ban. They're banned in Australia and they have not had a single murder by assault rifle in nearly two decades.

    January 9, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  7. Al

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

    January 9, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  8. Tommy G

    New gun laws will do only one thing, make more criminals out of law abiding citizens exercising their Constitutional rights. Where are all the liberals advocating for the commitment of all the mentally incapacitated? Oh, I gues that would violate their rights. Yet you have no problem vilating the rights of law abiding citizens that have done nothing and present no danger.

    Let's tell it like it is. The leftists are doing what they always do, use a tragedy to further their political agenda. In this case, banning guns. Let's see, sabotaging and taking over our healthcare system, attacking religion, and now going after gun rights. Quite the leftist jihad there folks.

    January 9, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  9. Al

    Wait....Didn't Conn already have tough gun control laws??????? Does that say anything to an intelligent person???? You liberals are not in that question.

    January 9, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  10. Meh

    I pretty much cannot stand most Americans these days.

    When did you all become such children?

    January 9, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  11. UDidntBuildThat

    I say we ban all swimming pools, poison, ferries, planes and cars. They resulted in the deaths of too many people esp. children. If the logic is guns are for killing people then so is poison where is call for banning of poison? What about knives? They can kill too can we please ban knives as well along with baseball bats, crobar, tire iron, machetes etc.?

    January 9, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  12. Meh

    "The leftists are doing what they always do, use a tragedy to further their political agenda."

    Like Bush and Iraq?

    Come on – all politicians in American are virtually identical

    January 9, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  13. Terry

    Look at Chicago, 506 murders in 2012. They have some of the strictest gun control laws in the United States and it did not make a difference. Many more people were murdered in Chicago than soldiers were killed in Afghanistan in 2012.

    January 9, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  14. Tommy G

    Al
    Wait....Didn't Conn already have tough gun control laws??????? Does that say anything to an intelligent person???? You liberals are not in that question.
    ================
    Yes, considered some of the toughest in the country. SOmewhere around 4th or 5th strictest. But please, stop trying to introduce logic and facts into what is a pure political agenda of the left. Facts and logic are irrelevant, as is the Constitution and your rights. They trampled them with Obamacare and will continue to trample them.

    January 9, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  15. Mocking

    The trick is to raise the price of AMMO to a 100 dollars per bullet. High caliber bullets should be 1000 each. You are welcome to buy any gun you want. Control the price of bullets and make them as expensive as gold.

    January 9, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  16. The Real Tom Paine

    The Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council recently released their findings on life expectancy in the US. We currently rank 16th, with one of the contributing factors listed as gin violance. In addition, our children's lives and mental health are also affected, thus shortening their lives by creating toxic levels of stress. There are a whole list of reasons, go check out USAToday to find the article. Our addiction to guns and violance are literally killing us as a society.

    January 9, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    -Terry

    Look at Chicago, 506 murders in 2012. They have some of the strictest gun control laws in the United States and it did not make a difference. Many more people were murdered in Chicago than soldiers were killed in Afghanistan in 2012.
    ************************************
    The murder rate went up after the gun ban for the City was overturned by the NRA in the SCOTUS. They don't have the gun ban that was working because of the NRA. Bet gun sales are booming in Chicago, though.

    January 9, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  18. The Real Tom Paine

    -Tommy G

    New gun laws will do only one thing, make more criminals out of law abiding citizens exercising their Constitutional rights. Where are all the liberals advocating for the commitment of all the mentally incapacitated? Oh, I gues that would violate their rights. Yet you have no problem vilating the rights of law abiding citizens that have done nothing and present no danger.

    Let's tell it like it is. The leftists are doing what they always do, use a tragedy to further their political agenda. In this case, banning guns. Let's see, sabotaging and taking over our healthcare system, attacking religion, and now going after gun rights. Quite the leftist jihad there folks.
    **********************************
    Like the way the Right used 9/11 to gut civil liberties in this country and get themselves " a permanant majority" in the words of Karl Rove? Please.

    January 9, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  19. Terry

    If I legally have a legally authorized, concealed firearm on my person and someone attempts a Newtown or Aurora style assault, I have a chance to stop them and save innocent lives. If I do not have my weapon with me, many people, including myself and my loved ones could die.
    I have made my decision.
    What are you going to do? What do you think those poor, brokenhearted loved ones of the victims of these two attacks would do if they had a choice?

    January 9, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  20. chupacabra

    TEXAS CHAIN SAW MURDER is opening today at a movie near you.....after you read these blogs go over there and watch it, maybe you can figure out whats wrong with young people...obseve the age of the crowd.

    January 9, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  21. tony

    A huge number of so-called Responsible adults drive cars stupidly and/or dangerously , drink alcohol to much, have illicit and/or unprotected sex and those activities cause thousand of deaths, injuries and family pain every year. So-called Responsible gun owners are the same people, so why expect different results?

    All the other activities above have a useful and peaceful purpose in modertion and the right time/place. But guns are ONLY dangerous. That IS their ONLY purpose

    January 9, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  22. Gene

    Here's a thought for those opposed to gun registration. I am a gun owner however the last thing I would do is join the NRA and get my name on list that could be hacked into or sold to the government.

    January 9, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  23. Jay D

    When a deranged lunatic walks into a school and pulls out a car and commits mass murder let us know. Until then its guns. Any comparison to other objects is irrelevant.

    In other news the drug cartels, feeling singled out, have formed a new organization. The "NCA". The National Cocaine Association. After all, drugs don't kill people only people who use them irresponsible do. Have you ever seen cocaine jump off a table and kill someone?

    January 9, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "What do you think those poor, brokenhearted loved ones of the victims of these two attacks would do if they had a choice?"

    What Obama and Biden and he Dems are doing. Do more research before you make assumptions based on your ideologically insipid "reasoning." Giffords' visit to Newtown was a success and Newtown Selectmen and Senator Blumenthal have reported victims' families begging them to do something. You don't get to just invent an alternate reality to supplant the one the rest of us live in just because you don't happen to like it.

    January 9, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  25. GuestAgain

    Have any politicans given us a reason to believe or trust them? No. BO says he's going to protect the middle class from tax cuts (which by the way he was opposed to when bashing Bush) and then your taxes go up. Now, his sidekick, blowhard biden is threatening executive action. So, please, dont suggest the liberals are not going to do their best to disarm citizens by bypassing legislative process and ignoring the constitution. It's a great way to grow the black market for guns and ammo though.....

    January 9, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12