Rand Paul to filibuster gun control vote
Less than a month after the junior US senator spent 13 hours lecturing about the Obama administration’s use of deadly drones, Sen. Paul says he’s willing to once again try to stop his fellow lawmakers from letting legislation slip by.
Paul’s last marathon filibuster occurred during the confirmation hearing for incoming CIA Director John Brennan, a maneuver that the senator said was more about kick-starting discussion than actually halting US President Barack Obama’s nomination. This time, however, he wants to stop the Senate dead in its tracks before American lawmakers are left to shape legislation that will limit access to firearms and ammunition.
Joined by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), Sen. Paul sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) on Tuesday letting him know that the three leading conservative lawmakers are looking to curb an upcoming discussion on gun control. And while neither politician is asking for it to be easier to obtain high-powered weaponry in the US, it’s likely that even letting a scheduled debate get off the ground in the coming weeks will lead to more liberal lawmakers attempting to tag on restrictive regulations.
“Conservatives are concerned that once that bill reaches the floor, amendments could stiffen restrictions on gun control,” Politico's Jonathan Allen reports. “Moreover, they understand that Reid intends to allow liberal amendments that would limit clip [sic] capacity and ban certain assault weapons to be offered -- even though they would be defeated -- to give Democrats a chance to vote on them. For moderate Democrats in competitive states, that amounts to an opportunity to vote no and show allegiance to gun rights.”
The GOP lawmakers don’t exactly say that in as many words, but it’s evident from the brief letter sent to Sen. Reid this week that neither Paul nor his conservative counterparts want any gun limits to come up for vote. Speaking on behalf of her boss, Cruz spokesperson Catherine Frazier tells the Washington Post that the senator from Texas “is prepared to use any procedural means necessary to prevent stricter gun control laws.”
“We, the undersigned, intend to oppose any legislation that would infringe on the American people's constitutional right to bear arms, or on their ability to exercise this right without being subjected to government surveillance,” the trio writes in the letter sent to Sen. Reid on this week. “The Second Amendment to the Constitution protects citizens' rights to self-defense. It speaks to history's lesson that government cannot be in all places at all times, and history's warning about the oppression of a government that tries.”
“We will oppose the motion to proceed to any legislation that will serve as a vehicle for any additional gun restrictions,” conclude the senators.
Although the GOP lawmakers don’t say they want it to be easier to get a gun, some of their opponents are already suggesting that the letter to Sen. Reid comes at a time when Americans should be looking to find a solution that will stop another bloody massacre like the ones caused by high-powered assault weapons last year in Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado.
"While this threat is entirely unsurprising, it's outrageous that these senators are unwilling to even engage in a debate over gun violence in America. No matter your opinion on this issue, we should all be able to agree with President [Barack] Obama when he said that the children and teachers of Newtown, along with all other Americans who have been victims of gun violence, at least deserve a vote,” Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Reid, tells Huffington Post.