Udall, Bennet Back Colorado Dems As Federal Gun Control Dies

Joe Hanel and Stefanie Dazio of the Durango Herald report:

Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall voted Wednesday in favor of a failed amendment that would have strengthened federal gun controls.

Both Colorado Democrats supported a bipartisan amendment that would have expanded background checks to gun shows and the Internet.

That amendment, one of seven that failed in the Senate on Wednesday night, was rejected 54-46. None of the seven amendments received the required 60 votes to pass.

“It’s a sad day for our nation when a minority of the U.S. Senate has blocked commonsense legislation that is supported by 90 percent of Americans,” Udall said in a statement. [Pols emphasis]

FOX 31's Eli Stokols:

Obama blamed the gun lobby that “willfully lied” about the amendment and members of his own party who “caved to the pressure” and voted against the amendment.

Five Democrats voted against the measure, most of them representing more conservative states and facing uncertain reelection prospects next year (Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, voted no for procedural reasons only so that he can re-introduce the amendment should it magically garner additional support).

Four Republicans voted in favor of the proposal, which would have closed the so-called “gun show loophole”, something Colorado did a decade ago, and require background checks for all online gun sales.

In addition to their vote to expand background checks on firearm sales, Colorado Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet also voted for the amendment to limit magazine capacity. These votes resolve what was a significant concern among local Democrats, the possibility that one or both U.S. Senators would essentially vote against the similar legislation passed in the Colorado General Assembly this year. It's politically very good for Colorado Democrats that everybody got through this debate more or less on the same page at all levels.

Sens. Udall and Bennet did vote against the amendment from Sen. Diane Feinstein to ban some 180+ specific models of so-called "assault weapons." There is some consternation about that among supporters, but in Colorado this year, no attempt was made to ban any specific model of firearm–and the closest to a bill regulating assault weapons was a liability measure that was pulled by its sponsor. In the near term, especially after yesterday's result, any kind of federal assault weapons ban campaign is likely to be at best a flanking effort in a campaign to get background check expansions passed. Of all the amendments debated yesterday, federal background check expansion is by far the most popular, and we do expect to see it again very soon.

Opposition to background check expansion at the federal level relied on many of the same absurd arguments we heard at the state level: that the bill would lead to a "gun registry," that it "bans private gun sales," and our favorite idiotic tautology, "criminals don't obey laws." Despite the polls that show support for closing background check loopholes of all descriptions at near-unanimous highs, 80% or more reliably, the gun lobby's legendary influence in Washington killed this legislation with many of the same tired falsehoods we've already refuted in Colorado.

Those who opposed the proposal argued that it would lead to a federal registry of all firearms, something Democrats and even Republican Sen. John McCain, who voted yes on the amendment, dismissed as a scare tactic.

It's another sad story of Washington gridlock, but Colorado Democrats can at least be a little proud.

23 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

    Good job to both. I am proud of Colorado.

    • BlueCatBlueCat says:

      Me too.  And I don't share the feelings of condemnation towards them and others who didn't support the assault weapons ban. We all knew that one had pretty much no chance at any level and some concerns about the vagueness of the definition of what constitutes an assault weapon were not entirely unreasonable.

      The measures that Bennett and Udall supported were good ones that would have made a positive difference and reflected the views of their Colorado constituents as expressed by the votes of our elected representatives in the state legislature, polls and calls and e-mails to their offices.  I'm satisfied that the voices of the people of Colorado have been heard by our Senators and represented by their votes on these measures..

      • Diogenesdemar says:

        I'll be the first to admit that the assault ban legislation had some problems — still, I'll bad legislation can be fixed, dead children not so much!!

        So, great job Colorado Senators!!! — you both batted .667 in a three-game sweep against your team (and sanity and reason) — I just wish I could trade you both . . . [shakes head]

  2. dwyer says:

    This is my opinion, it is not a reply.  Obama made a huge mistake, pitting his prestige and office against the gun lobby.  He had to lose.  It was not on the merits, it was on the sameold sameold "Don't let the black guy make pussies of us." And, they did not.

    The many issues in this debate over violence got lost in the faceoff between the black guy, the old white guys, and the crying women.  Gun owners, with some justification, felt that they were being blamed for Sandy Hook and Aurora and the fact of the matter is that crazy people, who were apparently under medical supervision and addicted to video games, were responsible.  It should have been a balanced attack on random violence.  In this context, only the magazine limits do make sense to me.

    But, background checks would not have picked up either alleged Aurora or real Sandy Hook killers.  That needed to be explained.  The cities with the most restrictive gun laws – Chicago and DC- have the highest homicide rates. 

    The idea that the SEnators who voted against the measure will face rage at the polls in 2014 is crazy.  I would like to see the public polls on background checks, not on a national basis, but on the individual states the Senators represent.

    Obama does not have a good political sense of the power of the individual states….



    • BlueCatBlueCat says:

      His sense of the power of the individual states has been good enough to get him elected twice in a process that counts the votes of states, not one vote per voter nationwide.

      I believe that the alternative of cowering before the gun lobby instead of going up against it would have been more damaging.  Surely you can't be recommending that we mustn't dare mess with powerful lobbies.

      If anyone's prestige has been damaged it's been the the prestige of the NRA and related lobbying groups whose public approval continues to erode while disgust with its opposition to any and all measures, including those the NRA itself supported in the very recent past, has increased.

      Just look at Colorado. Certainly the NRA has lost the power to stop all sensible gun control legislation here in this state. We still do not constitute a liberal blue state on the eastern model, yet we have some solid  legislative victories on the sensible gun control front.. It also looks unlikely that the state legislators who voted in the new measures will be turned out en masse by the electorate because of  their votes in the next election. There are also some instances in some other states of candidates using their lack of a high rating with the NRA as a campaign plus.

      If the power of the red states were as strong as you seem to think, how the heck did a mixed race guy with a Muslim name get elected twice by the states? How did Dems retake the Senate majority, with seats there requiring statewide majorities, and increase their numbers even in the gerrymandered House in 2012?

      Yes, we have GOP state legislatures and governors passing awful legislation,  the worst of which of which probably will be overturned by our courts, and a tough row to hoe in Congress due to disastrous 2010, the success of which the GOP has not been able to translate into lasting national success, but it certainly hasn't been all gloom and doom for Dems. Our own Colorado is an excellent example of the positive side of the ledger. And there are positives, as well as negatives, that don't require being a hopeless Pollyanna to recognize.

      • dwyer says:

        The President and advocates of background checks lost, yesterday.  I have given my opinion on why.  Let me hear from you, BC.  Why did the Presdent lose, yesterday?  What could he have done differently?

        • DaftPunkDaftPunk says:

          Wrong questions.

        • DaftPunkDaftPunk says:

          Wrong questions.

        • BlueCatBlueCat says:

          First, the President doesn't control congress.

          Second a lost battle doesn't always mean a lost war and "wars" aren't confined to single terms either. See the movement on gay rights. Past failure were lost battles, not the end.

          Third, what you suggest is that he and the Dems shouldn't have made a strong stand. I don't see how would that have worked in his or Dems favor. 

          Fourth, if the Dem Senatorial leadership hadn't wussed out on filibuster reform the playing field would have looked a little different. A pass in the Senate would have made a statement, especially in the face a loss in the House considering where public opinion comes down.  It would have opened more eyes and created more pressure.

          Last, something has been accomplished in all this and continues to go forward; the beginning of the end of NRA hegemony with states like Colorado leading the way.

          If you haven't noticed the increasing role Colorado has been playing as a harbinger of things to come in larger political/cultural shake ups, Many others have. Just a year or so ago almost no Dem dared mention anything to do with gun control, certainly not any outside of the most solidly blue states.  NRA hegemony was complete and secure. Change isn't always accomplished in a day but it has to have a beginning and now it does just like civil rights and gay rights had to have a beginning.

           As you can see, I'm not afraid to directly address questions and points made when challenged even when none of mine have been directly addressed.  You might want to read my comment above again and return the facvor by directly addressing the points I made but I won't hold my breath.


          • Gray in Mountains says:

            +12 and you know what? There will be, unfortunatley, another school, all or theater shooting and guess who shares NONE of the blame. All the blame will go to those who dance on heads of pins and those who oppose gun safety reforms

          • dwyer says:

            I think that the background checks legislation was important. I think that the limit on magazine size could be directly linked to the number of dead in Aurora and Sandy Hock.  I do not think that this is a battle against the NRA.  I think the issue is to make Americans safer.  I think the strategy the President used was faulty.  When one loses, one looks at what happened and figures out how not to lose again.

            The President won in 2012 by an elaborate and highly effective organization. Oganizating for America identified voters and got those voters out to vote.  OFA has been changed to Oganizing for Action and the President used, essentially, the tactics he had used to win the Presidency to tried and PERSUADE Congress to vote the legislation he supported.  He campaigned for this legislation and consistently urged people to contact their Congressional delegations to put pressure on them to support the gun control legislation.  The tactic did not work.  I would also add that it did not work with preventing sequester, either.

            So, I think it is time to examine the tactic.  So has that addressed your statements. 

             I think the President needs more options.  He made himself vulnerable to the charge that he was using dead children as an excuse promote his agenda on gun legislation.

            I think if he had a three prong approach and put that into one bill to reduce gun violence…..background checks, limit on magazines, AND, some kind of mandate to make sure that mentally ill people could not get guns…..and a comission to look into the causes of Aurora and Sandy Hock and Tucson…..with a view to returning to amend legislation based on those recommendations.  It would have diffused the "my way or the highway" argument; it would have given the opposition an honorable out…and it might have resulted in legislation that might have helped save lives, particularly those of children.

            See, my fight is not to "get" the NRA or humilitate the Republicans, it is to find some way to get some meaningful legislation through Congress.

            And if you see this as a squirmish in some long battle, go back and look, not at 2012, but at 2010. The republicans have control of the House of Representatives, indefinetly because of the redistricting they did after winning in 2010.  That is how the Dems keep control of the House for almost 40 years.

            So what is the President going to do?  Become just a ceremonial figurehead, like the mayor of Boulder? A long twilight struggle with the NRA?  Periodically posturing? Winning counts. 

            The President does not control Congress, but he certainly has to figure out how to work with it.  I am saying, he needs to review his tactics and strategies, because they are not working.




            • BlueCatBlueCat says:

              I think you still listen to too much tired old rightie talk radio.

              And, in case you haven't noticed, the President and Dems have had some wins, including in the House where Boehner has felt forced on more than one occasion to dispense with the majority of the majority rule and actually introduce legislation that passed with a minority of GOP votes in conjunction with a majority of Dem votes.  And I wouldn't be surprised  if that long twilight struggle with the NRA starts to turn around as the immigration and gay rights struggles are doing as we speak.

              But I don't want to spoil your enjoyment of the perpetual and unrelieved doom and gloom that you have always seemed to prefer. I'd hate to be responsible for cheering you up, even a little, as you seem to dislike it so.

              • dwyer says:

                I had originally replied to you, on this thread, because you were addressing the argument I had made.  Months ago, I had stopped replying to your comments  because you could not help but finally revert to personal attack and vendeta.  I see that my decision to engage in a conversation with you was a mistake as you collapsed again into attacking me.  I don't know you and you, of course, do not know me and your comments are inappropriate and off target.  I will not make the mistake of replying to any of your comments again.

                • BlueCatBlueCat says:

                  If this is your idea of "attack" and "vendetta" you must be very thin skinned. Be my guest and don't reply to me. But really, that won't help much since many here are a lot rougher and saltier than I've ever been. And it's not as if you've ever had a problem being critical and dismissive of others.

                  If you can't take it maybe you'd be happier not participating. I know I'd be happier if several who whine about people being mean to poor them would do just that. 

  3. RavenDawg says:

    Assist to Harry Reid.

    His failure to be more assertive with filibuster reform insures Repub ability to continue blocking Obama/Dem/majority public opinion on bipartisan solutions to gun control as well as all other major issues of national concern and Democratic domestic policy. The blood of future victims is on his hands too. 

    But really, even if this passed the Senate was there any chance it would survive in the House?  They are even crazier.

    My respect and trust in the basic legislative function of the federal govt are utterly broken at this point.  Fuck them all, but fuck the Republicans worst.

    • BlueCatBlueCat says:

      Totally agree on spineless wuss out on filibuster reform. I can understand settling for less than ideal and certain future shoe on other foot possibility concerns but Harry and Co. chose to settle for nothing significant at all when they had the power to force some useful change. You can bet the GOP, in the same position, would not have considered such a weak move. 

      Remember the supposedly great "deal" to avoid the nuclear option that boiled down to Dems promising to behave if Rs would spare them the nuke?  That was then. We''re in an exponentially stronger position now than we were then and still went for total wuss out. 

      Dems contemplating future filibusters with themselves in the minority should relish the talking filibuster since polls show majorities generally support Dem policies more than R policies when they actually understand what they are. Why should Dems be afraid of the chance to make a public show of countering rightie lies with the truth in a future in which they might be the filibustering minority? 

      But forget the possibility of minority stauts. How much more power to hold and build the majority would they have now if they forced talking filibusters with public opinion on their side on so many issues? Wussies. Sometimes they throw away golden opportunities like so much toilet tissue.

  4. ArapaGOPArapaGOP says:

    Wow, Pols. You've spun defeat so hard it sounds like victory. The gun grabbers lost, and Colorado gun grabbers are left with your asses hanging in the breeze!

    • roccoprahn says:

      Be specific.

      How exactly did the people of the United States of Ameriica "win" yesterday?

      People on this site, admittedly not me, have been more than patient with you for far too long. The least you can do is offer a legitimite reply.

      Criminals, the mentally ill, those who cannot pass a bckground check can continue to straw purchase.

      The black powder used in the Boston terror attack had no taggants in it. Taggants allow law enforcement to trace where a bomber bought the explosive. The NRA lobbied had previously, successfully ,long and hard to make sure bombers using black powder cannot be traced, and the defeat of of yesterday's legislation assured bombers like the Boston duo can continue to murder Americans without being hunted through the explosive..

      How is the NRA representing you?

      When 90% of Americans want universal background checks, how is this a victory for anyone but the firearms industry?

      agop, your head's up your ass As usual, you are uninformed, idealogically blind, and the stereotype conserve twit.

    • BlueCatBlueCat says:

      Wow, ArapG….not as hard you folks were spinning a landslide for Romney, taking back the Senate and taking over the whole state legislature here in Colorado decisively. You're just loaded with street cred.

      • roccoprahn says:

        3 days, crickets from "god's warrior", agop the great conservative christian representative!

        Is the crusading pro grade school massacre, anti choice, Muslim baiting, racial purist, anti-entitlements (except for his) agop incendiary?

        Oh yeah!

        Substance to go along with his bomb throwing?

        Uh, none!

  5. Nasty Womanyameniye says:

    There are days when I wonder about politicians and their job as representing us.  Then Mark and Michael come through with something like this.

    I am very proud to say I am a Coloradoan

    (sorry to start the scrum again). 

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