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Other Senate Votes From Yesterday You Should Know About PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chet   
Thursday, 18 April 2013 08:01

gun2As we posted on our Facebook wall yesterday afternoon Senator Heidi Heitkamp (and John Hoeven) voted with the National Riflemanufacturers Association (NRA) and 6% of North Dakotans who think violent felons should be able to purchase weapons at gun shows without suffering through the trauma -- or "undue burden" -- of a five minute background check.  What I did not write about was the other votes that took place in the Senate yesterday.  One vote I think is important is what is called the "Cornyn Race To The Bottom Amendment."  That amendment, proposed by John Cornyn (R-Texas), would have forced every state to recognize and accept concealed carry permits from every other state.  

Right now, different states can have different requirements for concealed carry permits. Some states have affirmatively elected to participate in reciprocity with other states, but they don't have to.  Today, California and New York, for example, might chose to make it harder for people to get permits to carry concealed weapons. They might want, for example, concealed carry permit holders to have some minimum level of intelligence and gun-safety knowledge when it comes to guns. Some other states with radical, right-wing legislatures that are bought-and-paid-for by the big business -- like Mississippi, Alabama or North Dakota -- might want to have laws requiring that every inmate must be handed a concealed carry permit as they are released from prison. They might want laws requiring night clubs to hand out concealed carry permits to every drunk who picks a fight with a bouncer.  The Cornyn Race To The Bottom Amendment would have made it so that every state would have to recognize and accept concealed carry permits from the states that chose to hand out concealed carry permits to violent convicts and drunken bar brawlers.

I was interested to learn that MORE U.S. Senators voted to support the Race To The Bottom Amendment than voted to support the background check amendment that's supported by about 90% of all Americans, including 74% of NRA members.  The Race To The Bottom amendment died with only 58 votes (to 42 against) as compared to the 54 votes the background check amendment had.  Among the Senators voting for the Race To The Bottom Amendment were both of North Dakota's senators: Heidi Heitkamp and John Hoeven.  (Check the roll-call vote by clicking here).  

There were seven (7) votes on weapons-related amendments yesterday (April 17, 2013). Heitkamp and Hoeven voted exactly the same way on 6 out of 7 of those gun amendments.  The one they disagreed on was Amendment 713 -- the Leahy-Collins Amendment -- which would have punished and deterred strawman gun purchases.  Heitkamp voted in favor of that amendment; Hoeven voted against it. I've looked through the amendment and don't see how it addresses the the mental health component Senator Heitkamp referenced in her press release yesterday, but it's possible I'm missing something.

Both Heitkamp and Hoeven will likely preserve their "A" ratings with the Gun Manufacturers' Association.  I'm not sure what else they're accomplishing by voting with the 6% of North Dakotans who think it should be easy for violent felons to buy guns at gun shows. Maybe I'll figure it out another day. Or maybe not.

Comments (4)add comment

Jason said:

I'm a gun owner. And of course support Both Senators in their vote. I think where the bill went wrong was that it left too many question marks open. If they were to make it more specific and close those questions I think both would have supported it. I have nothing wrong with background checks. But I do have issues with not being able to sell a rifle or hand gun to a family member without paying an FFL to do a background check.

I do not think that the 93% of North Dakotans figure is right. I have a lot of friends, who are on the other spectrum of political thought pattern, that were totally against this.
April 18, 2013
Votes: -3

Chet said:

Special Just for Jason
Jason: The reason you support both senators' votes is that you don't know what you're talking about. The reason I say you don't know what you're talking about is that you say you don't have a problem with background checks but that you "do have issues with not being able to sell a rifle or hand gun to a family member without paying an FFL to do a background check."

You -- Jason -- have fallen victim to the right-wing spin again. Let me explain.

The Manchin-Toomey amendment exempted those transactions. Here's the language in the amendment:

`(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply if--

[ ]

``(C) the transfer is made between spouses, between parents or spouses of parents and their children or spouses of their children, between siblings or spouses of siblings, or between grandparents or spouses of grandparents and their grandchildren or spouses of their grandchildren, or between aunts or uncles or their spouses and their nieces or nephews or their spouses, or between first cousins, if the transferor does not know or have reasonable cause to believe that the transferee is prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm under Federal, State, or local law; or


It's hard to read that in context, but what it says is there's an exemption in the law for transfers between relatives "if the transferor does not know or have reasonable cause to believe the transferee is prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm..."

I suspect the reason 94% of North Dakotans support this proposed law is that the pollster probably didn't lie to the poll respondents in the way you have been lied to, Jason. I'd suspect your friends have all been lied to, too, and that's why they believe the Manchin Toomey amendment did something it didn't do.

I haven't decided yet whether I should hold this against you. I really don't expect most people to actually read legislation. But I generally do expect people to read it if they're going to pretend like they know what it says.

I wonder how it makes you feel to know you've been duped into opposing legislation you would have supported if you had read it, understood it and hadn't been lied to.
April 18, 2013
Votes: +6

nimrodent said:

Our Senators decided that talk radio was the appropriate forum for a debate on gun control. After all, who would want a civil debate to advance the national interest and resolve divisive issues in the U.S. Senate.
April 19, 2013
Votes: +0

Jason said:

Chet, you also said earlier that you don't think the 94% is close either.
April 19, 2013
Votes: +0

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