A Novel Theory That’s Wrong

Both Jim Geraghty and John Richardson are covering a new, but really not so new claim by gun control advocates:

“If there was a secret-ballot vote it would pass overwhelmingly, because from a substantive point of view most of these senators understand that this is the right thing to do,” said Matt Bennett, a gun-control advocate and senior vice president at Third Way, a centrist think tank. “What’s holding them back is pure politics.”

This novel theory  was floated in Pennsylvania back in 2006.

Anti-gun forces in the Pennsylvania legislature became convinced that if the votes weren’t on the record, gun control would pass handily. They called for the House to meet in a Committee of the Whole, where recorded votes would not be posted, and thus lawmakers would be free to express themselves without fear of the NRA. So how did this particular experiment in one of our 50 laboratories of Democracy go? Utter fail for the gun control folks. The politicians still, even off the record, don’t want anything to do with gun control, because it’s a political loser. As Jim Geraghty noted, this is really a complaint that politicians are held accountable to the public.

3 thoughts on “A Novel Theory That’s Wrong”

  1. I’m sure my expectation is colored by my personal bias, but I think the opposite is really true. I think there are purple state democrats who are only giving whatever support they are to these proposals because of pressure from senate leadership, the White House and big donors. If given the chance to vote anonymously, at least a few would probably vote as if they understood that none of these proposals would deter violent criminals.

  2. I have always thought that the Senate and House required votes to be counted and published. Most states have sunshine laws so they cannot do it there either unless sneaklly like I read yesterday about some council holding seceret meetings online.

  3. Apropos of this, I’ve long thought that final votes on legislation should either be by acclamation or by roll call. Legislators should always be accountable for their votes

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