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Does Obama Have the Votes?

Not even looking at the house, I’m not honestly sure that Obama has the votes in the Senate to pass an assault weapons ban.  I mostly agree with Countertop’s list, so we’ll use that.  Here’s some likely no votes from the Democrats, italics mean they are up in 2010:

Baucus, Max (D – MT)
Bayh, Evan (D – IN)
Begich, Mark (D – AK)
Casey, Robert P., Jr. (D – PA)
Landrieu, Mary L. (D – LA)
Reid, Harry (D – NV)
Tester, Jon (D – MT)
Warner, Mark R. (D – VA)
Webb, Jim (D – VA)
Feingold, Russel (D-WI)

I will make one change from Countertop’s list.  I think Feingold is a maybe.  He’s not been a great supporter lately, but he did vote against the ban in 1994. SayUncle notes that Feingold voted against the renewal in 2004, so he’s a likely no.  Countertop’s original judgment has been reinstated.  The following Democrats are maybes:

Dorgan, Byron L. – (D – ND)
Johnson, Tim – (D – SD)
Gillibrand, Kirsten E. – (D – NY)
Lincoln, Blanche L. – (D – AR)
Nelson, Ben – (D – NE)
Pryor, Mark L. – (D – AR)
Udall, Mark – (D – CO)
Udall, Tom – (D – NM)

Even if a lot of those maybes would be nos, many of them will not want to have to cast a vote on this issue, and will probably apply pressure to the leadership to not bring up a bill so they don’t have to.  Even if you lose a few Republicans, and I think Snowe and Collins are possible defectors (Specter I think we keep.  The politics don’t work for him voting yes.), you still have a strong possibility of defeating this in the Senate.  Remember, that in 1994, this started in the Senate.  Despite the fact that we have more Democrats this time, the makeup looks different from a gun rights point of view.  Obama will have to burn considerable political capital to get his assault weapons ban.  If your Senator is on that maybe list, contact them about Holder’s remarks, and make sure they understand you expect them to vote no on any assault weapons bill before the Senate.

17 Responses to “Does Obama Have the Votes?”

  1. SayUncle says:

    Feingold is a no:

    http://www.nraila.org/Legislation/Federal/Read.aspx?id=996

    And pretty solidly. IIRC, he voted for the first one then said it was a mistake.

  2. SayUncle says:

    I remember now. He talked about making the mistake of supporting it during roberts’ confirmation hearings.

  3. flashman says:

    I sent Webb and Warner letters this morning before I got to your site. Hopefully at least Webb will oppose any ban. I probably lost some juice with them by reminding them that I had previously asked them to oppose Holder on ethical grounds and that in their replies they basically justified voting for him by saying he must be highly qualified because he was approved 79-21.

    Circular logic. But I didn’t expect them to oppose him anyway.

  4. Myles says:

    Don’t underestimate the power of the mob or if Obama. If he really pushes the issue I’d imagine most of the Senators will cave. Gillibrand is already starting to cave, and I hold little faith that the Senators from CO and NM will be any different. Remember, both of those states have leftist leanings and are dominated by large population centers. Re-election depends on winning those population centers, not on winning sparsely populated rural counties.

  5. Sebastian says:

    Myles:

    There’s a real chance of that. It should worry us. But by the same token, it’s not a lost cause.

  6. Crucis says:

    At least some of the democrats are offset by the three—maybe four, ‘pubs who would vote for it. Snow, Collins and Specter.

  7. Caleb says:

    I would not count Evan Bayh as a “no” on a proposed assault weapons ban. While he’s been historically moderate, there have been rumblings about him “feeling his lefty oats” or somesuch, which is a matter of some concern to me.

    Needless to say, he’s on my “send email to” list.

  8. I would put Virginia’s Mark Warner as a maybe instead of a solid no. Until he ran last year, he always made a point of stating his support for the Clinton Gun Ban. First in 1996 when he ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate and again in 2001 when he ran for Governor. He had such an easy race in 2008 that I don’t even think the issue of guns came up more than once or twice. Word is he told the NRA the right thing on the issue and he did sign every pro-gun bill as Governor. Even given this information, I would not count him as a solid vote against a new semi-auto ban.

  9. Arnie says:

    I must speak! This is ludicrous, putting your faith in a government full of corrupt politicians whose votes are for sale to the highest bidder and not subject to their sworn oath to the Constitution! First, let me point out (and this is especially for Joe Bookmaker), the Second Amendment is an ABSOLUTE prohibition against any and all Federal gun laws – that is what “shall not be infringed” means. And yes, Joe, the 2nd Amendment applies to full combat military firearms, including M-16s and M-60 machine guns – those are what militias use! Read the Amendment! The Supreme Court admitted as much in U.S. vs Miller, 1939. The 2nd Amendment was NOT written to protect hunting and sport shooting or even SELF-defense (the 9th Amendment secures those individual rights). It was written to secure our States’ freedom from National tyranny and usurpation of individual rights and State powers. May I speak bluntly: it was written to ensure our power to kill federal tyrants, just as our Founding Fathers took up military assault weapons to kill “federal” tyrants from London who were usurping their rights, powers and liberties of the individual colonists and their respective colonies. As Thomas Jefferson wrote: “The tree of liberty must be nourished from time to time by the mingled blood of patriots and tyrants, which is its necessary manure.” By the way, the British attacks on Lexington and Concord were for the express purpose of confiscating colonial gun powder so as to deprive the INDIVIDUAL area farmers from the effective use of their arms as a militia. Sounds a lot like taxing, stamping, or otherwise banning ammunition ploys by our national government today! Bottom line: ANY national gun law is unconstitutional! That is the sovereign prerogative of the several States. Secondly, we would be foolish to wait until all legislative and judicial avenues have been exhausted before we start arming ourselves for active service in the militia. For obvious reasons, it would by then be too late. It would be like Paul Revere crying out on that fateful night, “Buy arms! Buy arms!” instead of “To (the) arms (you already possess and have trained in)!” Bottom line: buy the arms and sufficient ammo you need now and train yourself and your sons in their proper use WHILE you write and call your legislators. Many, many months before Hitler invaded Poland, Churchill warned his people, “We must arm! Britain must arm. America must arm. Of course we shall do it in the end. We shall surely do it! But how much harder our toil for every day’s delay!” Meanwhile, Prime Minister Chamberlain was winning “concessions” from Hitler at Munich declaring “Peace in our time”! So much for legislative/judicial “victories” when you are dealing with tyrants! I don’t know about you guys, but I’m spending my “stimulus refund” and my life savings on guns, BIG guns, and lots of ammo. Besides, with Obama and Holder in office, firearms have become a better investment than the stock market! Stay vigilant!

  10. Carl in Chicago says:

    “Not even looking at the house, I’m not honestly sure that Obama has the votes in the Senate to pass an assault weapons ban.”

    Perhaps only fools point out the obvious, but Obama doesn’t intend to pass an assault weapons ban. He intends to pass a ban on semiauto firearms.

    Good fricking god!

  11. guy says:

    I sent an e-mail to Feingold.

    Took a LONG time hitting the “refresh” button to get http://feingold.senate.gov/ to come up.

    Almost like he’s getting a lot of traffic or something.

  12. Linoge says:

    I would point out that it does not matter whether or not Obama has the votes or not… My understanding is that the BATFE is part of the Executive Branch of our government, and thus can legally and traditionally be controlled and directed by that ever-loved concept of “executive orders”.

    Just tell the BATFE to stop authorizing the production of “assault weapons”.

    No vote. No muss. No fuss.

  13. Sebastian says:

    Executive orders are limited to executive powers. ATF doesn’t authorize production of firearms. Congress regulates the process under several acts. Obama’s executive options in regards to guns are pretty limited actually. He could make life difficult for us through orders, but even to change things like importation rules, the most he could do is order ATF to undertake rulemaking, and that’s a process prescribed by Congress through the Administrative Procedure Act.

  14. Sebastian says:

    He actually can’t even change the National Park regulation at this point, except by further rule making. And the best part is, given that concealed carry in parks is now federal regulation, his Solicitor General’s office is obliged to defend it in court.

  15. Sebastian says:

    I should have said “Congress prescribes the laws, and ATF implements the regulations that are authorized under that law.” Basically meaning that ATF can only regulate as much as is allowed by Congress. Congress does not give ATF the authority to shut down all production of assault weapons. They did prior to 2004, but not now.

  16. Linoge says:

    Hm, guess I misunderstood how the manufacture of firearms progressed from lump of metal to ebil assault weapon.

    That said, I still would not be surprised if he did not try and take the fast-track to meeting his goals, valid or not, if only because the ATF would probably do it up until they were legally told not to, and as Heller indicated, that takes time…

  17. mons meg says:

    I can’t think of a better way for Obama to ensure his party loses a significant number of seats in both the House and Senate than to push for this.

    My cynic-o-meter readings indicate this is mostly talk to placate his extreme leftist base, and then when the bill dies in committee, he can say “well I tried”.

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