Falling Down on the Job of Gun Rights

While working on a Pennsylvania-version of news from NRA-ILA about the national reciprocity bill, imagine my surprise when I found some key names left off of the sponsors list. These are the members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation who support the bill:

  • Rep. Jason Altmire (D)
  • Rep. Mark Critz (D)
  • Rep. Charlie Dent (R)
  • Rep. Tim Holden (D)
  • Rep. Mike Kelly (R)
  • Rep. Tim Murphy (R)
  • Rep. Todd Platts (R)
  • Rep. Bill Shuster (R)
  • Rep. Glenn Thompson (R)

These are the members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation who sought & received NRA’s endorsement in 2010 against anti-gun opponents who are not on that list:

  • Rep. Jim Gerlach (R)
  • Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R)
  • Rep. Pat Meehan (R)
  • Rep. Joe Pitts (R)

These are the members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation who sought NRA’s endorsement in 2010 and received high grades while running against a friendly incumbent, but who have not stepped up to support gun owners on this issue:

  • Rep. Lou Barletta (R)
  • Rep. Tom Marino (R)

Notice a trend with the party affiliation of those who wanted our support for the election, but who aren’t even sponsoring a bill for us? Every single one of the pro-gun Democrats who survived the 2010 elections has come through. Only half of the Republicans with previous endorsements and high grades have been willing to lend their names to the cause.

26 thoughts on “Falling Down on the Job of Gun Rights”

  1. Then screw ’em. It’s time to stop F’ing around. No second chances anymore.

  2. No, it’s not time to go RINO hunting. It’s simply time to remind folks who put them in office. This is just a sponsorship opportunity, not a key vote yet. It will be time to revisit the grades & endorsements if they vote against us. This is merely a call to get their attention.

  3. I just emailed my Rep asking him to co-sponsor. The PA CD I am from is already represented on the co-sponsors list. I sent him a thank you email.

  4. I’m not for forced federal government reciprocity. As much as I like the idea of reciprocity, I despise the federal government forcing things on the states.

  5. I’m actually not a fan, either. However, I don’t think any of those who are sitting out on this bill are doing so for principled reasons. :) If they did say that’s why they weren’t on the sponsor list, I would completely respect that and make sure that gun owners knew why they weren’t on it.

    I don’t like it, but I view it like the parking lot issue – something that many reasonable gun owners hold differing views on while we can all still support the Second Amendment. Quite a few people care about it, so I’ll cover it.

  6. David,
    What’re your feelings on a federal CHL the federal government would issue & that would be valid in all states, districts, territories, etc?

    I’m not holding my breath for it, but I’d love to see it since a number of states & cities are simply never going to acknowledge 2nd Amendment rights, regardless of what SCOTUS says they have to do. I don’t even like stopping for gas when I drive through Illinois…

    1. Yes, NRA has been pushing it for a while now, Jacob. They’ve asked their membership to get involved in recruiting sponsors now.

  7. I don’t see mandatory reciprocity as Federal intrusion into state matters when the states have taken it upon themselves to violate the Second Amendment with rationing laws and taxation schemes. It is one step closer to nationwide Constitutional carry, like the Second Amendment instructed.

  8. The trend in North Carolina is very similar to PA. The 3 pro-gun Democrats who received NRA endorsement are all co-sponsors. Indeed, Heath Shuler was the first co-sponsor. I see a strong trend among the Blue Dogs to have signed on to this bill and Shuler may be behind it.

    There are also 3 Republican co-sponsors from NC. Three of the remaining Democrats will never be co-sponsors. As to why Sue Myrick, Howard Coble, and Patrick McHenry haven’t signed on, I don’t know.

    Some of the strongest pro-gun supporters such as Rep. Denny Rehrberg of MT are only now signing on.

    I think some just need to be reminded to become co-sponsors.

  9. 2A incorporated via 14A means Congress has the power to enforce via appropriate legislation. No more a violation of federalism than any other federal civil rights legislation, and less offensive than some.

    1. Why don’t you go ask Tom for the exact names of every office they knocked on? I’m sure that ILA would be happy to provide you with a comprehensive list of dates and times they visited each office. In the meantime, the message that NRA wants to send is for people to thank those who are sponsoring the bill & pester those who have not. I was merely making note of the interesting fact that several endorsees & new members who want to be endorsees have not bothered to get on board with the agenda. I’m not advocating against them in any way, just noting an interesting trend.

  10. Gerlach is my Congresscritter. I just contacted him to justify his NRA rating, and my support for him in the last election, by co-sponsoring HR 822. I also thanked him for not falling for McCarthy’s big bullet blasting boxes BS.

  11. Before attacking, it’s worth noting that these guys may have had other issues demanding their attention. It’s still early, and now that a budget deal was reached, its a good time to reach out and ask for their support and remind them of who put them in office.

    I’m sure most will come around.

    And those that don’t should pay a steep political price.

  12. Thank you, Countertop. Yes, they deserve a friendly nudge for right now.

    The other reason I posted this was because NRA took a lot of shit for endorsing Democrats who had a record of supporting gun rights over newbie Republicans. Yet it’s the Democrats who are all on board so early. Just making a point to all of those who thought that NRA should have sold out the issue to party politics last year.

  13. I sent Meehan a second e mail, I will be calling to make an appointment to meet with his aid in the District.

    I have some doubts that this legislation will get past the Senate, or especially Obama. But I will raise my fervor.

  14. in the general scheme of things, not every supporter will co-sponsor a bill. While co-sponsoring a bill usually locks in the vote, sometimes people don’t want the issue of being beaten up over an issue that never comes up for a vote.

    I am less worried about co-sponsors than I am about the actaull votes. If we got the 218 and they vote right, good enough for me. Their vote is what really counts.

  15. Todd,

    Your right that not every bill comes up for a vote. So, in the absence of votes this is a way to signal your support. Also, especially when leadership is focused elsewhere, high co sponsorship #s is a golden way to get the bill voted on. Especially if you have enough co-sponsors to pass it. That’s a guarantee that you can get it attached to another moving vehicle.

    AND, iTs a great risk management tool.

    It sends powerful signals to Senate and can help in negotiating for other advances without ever needing a vote on this and the political risk that might cause for members in less secure districts.

  16. My worry is that a bill like this could pass with mandatory training, fingerprinting, range certification, and worse yet some anti gun provisions like limited mag capacity and banning scary looking features. I don’t trust anyone in DC to hold their ground and not compromise.

    I rather wait on this bill till January of 2013, then the White house will have a new resident.

  17. Even if we have a Republican president and Congress in 2013 is not for sure that they will really be pro-gun. Look at the records of some of them. Running for president they say the right things. But I don’t really trust them.

  18. HR 822 is probably not going to get a vote as a stand-alone bill, even though it would easily pass today.

    The reason: the Senate version won’t pass as a stand-alone bill. That means it must be attached as an amendment to a larger ‘must pass’ bill. That amendment could originate in the Senate, or in the House.

    If it originates in the Senate, it will come from Thune. Whatever passes in the Senate will need to be accepted by the House. The votes do not exist for a long drawn out fight in the Senate over reciprocity. Whatever gets passed the first time must be acceptable to both the Senate and the House on the first vote.

    And if it originates in the House, whatever the Senate accepts (they could modify the House version) will be passed back to the House. It must also be acceptable in that form, at that time.

    Realistically, whatever side it comes from, the amendment will be pre-coordinated with all parties so that no changes are required once introduced.

    What this means, in practical terms:

    – The Senate version will be final. It cannot pass on its own, it must be an amendment. It would probably not survive changes in a conference committee. The first shot is the last shot.

    – The House process will mimic the Senate process. That means reciprocity will pass in the House as an amendment to a larger bill.

    – HR 822 is window dressing for the real show. It probably will not even get a vote in its direct (stand-alone) form. Instead, it will be voted on as an amendment. The effect is the same.

    – None of this means members should avoid sponsoring the current bill. Message matters, and even if they know the bill won’t get a vote in both chambers, they should support it now.

    Hope this helps.

  19. Another thought on the Constitution and Federal Power regarding reciprocity:

    The Bill Of Rights did not apply to the states unless it is ‘incorporated’ in some fashion. This comes by way of the 14th Amendment – which was designed to apply the Constitution to the states (yes…I am leaving out some history).

    This means the Federal Government has the power to enforce constitutional provisions against the various states. That power is limited – the Congress cannot wholly re-define the Constitution (or change it) with a law or bill.

    For those concerned about intrusions on state power, I say “Yes. So what?”

    In the case of the constitutional provisions and personal rights, the federal government is specifically empowered by the Constitution to intrude upon the states by way of the 14th (and other provisions). We are not talking about an extreme view of the Commerce Clause – we are talking about a specific exercise of power that was intentionally delegated to the Congress for the purpose of ensuring that states do not infringe upon the individual rights of US Persons.

    We argue that the Second Amendment is akin to the rest of the Bill of Rights and Constitutional protections – speech, voting, travel, etc.. If this is the case, then the federal power to enforce state recognition of that right is no different than the federal government forcing the desegregation of schools; equal protection for all to vote; or preventing your state from defining Islam as the state religion.

    Our history is full of cases where individual states – left to their own accord – would denigrate, deny and restrain the plenary and individual rights of the people. It is in those cases where the federal can step in.

    BUT…those rights are a floor. The Congress does not have the power to modify the Constitution on its own. National Reciprocity does not open the door to a future liberal Congress changing the rules to say “nobody can cary a gun anywhere, ever again.” The Congress can only enforce what the Constitution says (by way of federal court rulings).

    The only issue with this bill right now is that the Supreme Court has not explicitly recognized RKBA in public. So this bill/amendment comes before that ruling. But look to the HR 822 ‘findings’ and see that they state that they are protecting a right in much the same way the federal protects the right to vote.

    If the Supreme Court rules you have no right to public RKBA, then the Congress can screw us over. But that would happen with or without this bill.

    Summary: this is not the federal government taking new power. They have that power already. The only thing new between today and two years ago is the McDonald decision, which affirmed that 2A was a fundamental right protected and subject to the 14th (read: federal) Amendment. That decision opened this door.

    It is understandable that people are confused. The Second Amendment has been the domain of the states for nearly 200 years. The one thing you need to remember is that all the roles changed last summer. All of them.

    The Second Amendment is no longer an exclusive state matter; it has been elevated to a super-national concern – a “right that is fundamental to the American concept of ordered liberty.” That means the states can regulate only to the point at which their interests and your interest do not collide. And when that collision occurs, you can turn to the federal government to act on your behalf (via federal courts or the Congress). But none of the above can restrict your interest beyond that allowed by the fundamental right.

    In theory.

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