APSenate Democrats will move forward on new gun control legislation Thursday, taking what will likely be their last shot at overcoming Republican opposition.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday that he will file cloture on the bill tonight, setting the stage for the Senate to vote on whether it will bring the bill to the floor.
To be clear, the vote will not be on the bill itself, but on whether there will even be a vote on new gun control legislation.
At least 15 Republican Senators — led by Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Mike Lee (R-Utah) — have threatened to filibuster the cloture vote, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The move would stop the bill from coming to the floor, essentially block any up-down vote on gun control.
But RedState’s Erick Erickson reports there has been dissension in the Republican ranks. According to the Washington Post, at least eight Republican Senators have said they will not join the filibuster, giving Democrats a shot at the 60 votes needed to bring the bill to the floor.
Several Republican Senators intend to vote against the filibuster, but then vote against the overall bill. This is too clever by half. The GOP does not control the Senate as the GOP is want to say every time they don’t want to fight.
Their only power to block a gun control bill is to unite and filibuster.
Voting for cloture is voting for the gun control bill because, again, as the GOP reminds us, they are not in the majority. The only way to stop it is to filibuster.
Erickson’s take is a tad over-dramatic — gun control will be difficult to pass, even in an up-down vote.
But if Democrats succeed at overcoming the filibuster, the Senate will begin the most wide-ranging debate over gun control in decades.
The proposed legislation would expand the system of background checks for gun purchases, make gun trafficking a federal crime, and provide additional funding for school security. Senators from both parties would also be allowed to introduce related amendments, including federal funding for veteran mental health programs and a new ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
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