Senate Democratic leaders optimistic on gun legislation
April 9th, 2013
09:20 PM ET
10 years ago

Senate Democratic leaders optimistic on gun legislation

Washington (CNN) - Senate Democratic leaders are increasingly optimistic they will get enough Republican votes Thursday to overcome a GOP-led filibuster against beginning debate on gun legislation.

With confidence the hurdle can be cleared, Democrats are planning for another two full weeks or longer of debate on the measure before completing action, a Democratic leadership aide told CNN.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, who has been working on a deal to bolster background checks with Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, indicated they are close to a deal. The two senators have scheduled a news conference for Wednesday morning and an aide to Manchin told CNN they are "hopeful" to have a deal to announce.

Democrats believe as many as a dozen GOP senators will vote with them, making up for the handful of pro-gun Democrats who might vote against beginning debate on the bill. Fourteen Republicans promise to filibuster taking up the measure.

Several Republican senators told CNN Tuesday they would only vote to begin debate on the bill if they were assured by Democrats they would be allowed to offer amendments to the legislation.

Democratic leaders want to give senators from both parties ample opportunities to amend the bill and are prepared to debate it beyond a scheduled recess the first week in May, if doing so will increase the chances of passage.

“The way you put together a coalition to pass the bill is to allow as many amendment votes as you can. We are willing to take the time to do that and have that process,” the aide said.

While efforts to reach a bipartisan compromise on background checks are still underway, primarily between Manchin, Toomey and Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, Democratic leaders are hopeful that a deal will be reached. Those negotiators will now have more time to find common ground on language, since the gun debate is expected to be lengthy. Democratic leaders also argue any bill they put on the floor will represent a substantial improvement in gun safety.

Many of those additional votes could be politically difficult for centrist Democrats, especially those up for re-election in red states, as Republicans are expected to craft amendments designed to put those senators on the spot. Nevertheless, Democratic leaders have determined it’s a risk they need to take if they want to pass substantive legislation to respond to the mass shootings that have plagued the nation in recent years.

“Once we’re on it we want to have an open process where there are a lot of votes and we really work through that,” the aide said.

Filed under: Gun control • Joe Manchin • Pat Toomey • Senate
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Jinx9to88

    If the GOP is confident that the bill wont pass, then why are the threatening to filibuster? Sounds like they are scared!! Also it will show the 90% of American people who want background checks who to kick out off office the next election who voted against the bill.

    April 9, 2013 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  2. Robert

    I can’t wrap my head around all this talk of gun control. How does the government have the right to restrict what type of fire arm I am allowed to own or how many rounds it holds. I never voted to have my rights restricted nor was I offered the opportunity to vote on this matter. Our right to own guns has nothing to do with hunting or protecting myself/family from harm. In fact this right as well as our right to militia was put into place as a means of the people of America to defend ourselves from the government. Our founding fathers intended for the people of this nation to never be repressed by our government. We are to be able to bare arms and form militias. The intent of these rights stemmed from the revolutionary war. Our founding fathers were repressed by there government. They revolted. From this revolt stemmed the United States of America. It’s not by chance that the 2nd right given to the people was to bare arms. This right is so that we the people have the same access to weapons as our government so if the need to revolt arose again, the people could stand toe to toe with the government. Without this right we are never truly free. We are repressed with no way to physically defend ourselves from our repressors. Now the government can impose any law and remove any freedom at will with no true threat of recourse or revolution from the people. They have automatic belt fed 50 cals dressed in full riot gear. We have 9 rounds in a semi automatic pistol and street cloths. This isn’t the America that our founding fathers risked there lives fighting for. Restricting the fire power of the people won’t stop people from using whatever they can find to harm the innocent. It’s simply propaganda. The only way to curb this problem is through the legal system. Punishments need to start fitting the crimes. You can shoot up a school, movie theater, even shoot a politician right in the light of day, on camera even. What’s going to happen? Let’s take a stab in the dark here. You’re going to get arrested first of all, and then housed in a county jail. Then you are going to stay there eating food, watching television, playing card games, visiting your family and friend, masturbating the list goes on. This may go on for years while attorneys and judges debate about your mental state, your upbringing, what the media can and can’t know and so on. The truth is, its simpler then that. Just try them. Nothing matters other then did they or did they not do it. A crime is a crime. Why they did it doesn’t matter. That’s not for the legal system to investigate. The courts only job is to allow someone the opportunity to prove their innocence, not to allow them to justify their actions base on how each individual person’s brain works. It shouldn’t take more then a week for a prosecutor or defense attorney to be able to present a case to a jury once the hard evidence and forensic tests are in. Nothing matters other then did the person commit the crime. if they did they get the same punishment as everyone else. If you kill innocent people or anyone for that matter other then in the defense of yourself or another person, you should be killed. It should be swift and open. Not behind closed doors after a decade of appeals. How long does it really take to determine if a trial was fair? We need to stop wasting money protecting criminals and punish them for what they have done. Three square meals and a soft bed with no responsibilities isn’t punishment. As long as the punishment doesn’t fit the crime, people are going to keep doing horrible things. Fix the legal system and leave our guns out of it.

    April 9, 2013 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  3. Larry L

    Can Republicans resist adding N.R.A. lobby amendments to the bill to strip it of it's value in saving lives? Will they add "personhood" riders to kill the bill with toxic hot-issues? Of course they will. They fear the N.R.A. and want to protect their report card from those who profit from gun violence.

    April 9, 2013 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  4. A Hard View From an ER Doc

    Those blocking gun safety laws need to see the exit wounds from the children shot with a gun that "isn't" an assault rifle. They need to look into the eyes of the mother whose child is being lowered into the ground inside a small coffin. Background checks will keep guns out of the hands of at least some of the crazies an spare a few little kids who might otherwise be slaughtered. That's a true statement and we all know it's true.

    April 9, 2013 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  5. David

    It will be great if it proceeds. Only irrationality stands in the way.

    April 10, 2013 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  6. AlanS

    There is never a compromise with the left. Every time conservatives compromise the phrase "it's a good start" is ALWAYS coming out of the collective pieholes of the left. It's not a slippery slope, it's a RAMP every time. The left ARRANGED for those kids to be killed by putting a gigantic GUN FREE ZONE sign on that school. It might as well have said "Crazy people shoot for free!" This stuff just doesn't happen at firing ranges, police stations, gun shows, or gun shops because crazy people are CRAZY not STUPID. The current level of INFRINGEMENT of gun rights is what led to the current massacres which ALWAYS seem to occur in a GUN FREE ZONE. SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!! The result of infringement being exactly what the libs pretend they want to prevent.

    April 10, 2013 04:09 am at 4:09 am |
  7. Marie MD

    I would hope so. I don't care what side of congress you are in unless you are the Cuban anchor baby, the old man from KY, the racist rand paul, crazy Canadian cruz. Wow! Three of these four are running for president? Scary!
    Even Canadian cruz wants to run.

    April 10, 2013 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  8. Name lynn

    Gun guns guns an gun laws, now back ground checks, the nra, now tigher gun laws. All these talk an in the media nothing no one can do obama the white house leaders, gabby the gun is on the street an in people hands, an the wrong people hands shooting and killing does need to stop how can that happen.

    April 10, 2013 07:00 am at 7:00 am |