Entries in Gun Legislation (3)


Senate Will Vote Wednesday on Gun Control Legislation

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The day of reckoning is Wednesday for the embattled Manchin-Toomey background check provision and a myriad of other gun amendments, including a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity clips.

The outcome will determine the fate of the biggest gun control legislation the Senate will vote on in two decades.

A 4 p.m. vote on the Manchin-Toomey amendment will kick off the votes.

The amendment, proposed this past week as a bipartisan compromise from Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, and Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, always faced an uphill climb to pass in the Senate.

But the first real signs of trouble came Monday when a vote on the amendment was delayed from being formally scheduled when it was clear that the votes were not yet there for it to pass. By Tuesday, momentum seemed to slip away bit by bit when a few senators key to the outcome of the vote, including Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., announced that they could not vote for the bill.

The amendment will need 60 votes to pass.  And as of Tuesday night, the votes are not there yet.

When Manchin was asked by ABC News if he had 60 votes locked down, he said: “We need more than we have.”

Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, one of the Republican supporters for expanding background checks, said he was still working to win over some Republican senators. When asked if his side had enough votes to pass the amendment, he said: “We are not ready for a vote.”

The vote will be razor thin – so thin that neither side was sounding confident.

There are three Republican senators and four Democratic senators believed to still be undecided — John McCain, R-Ariz., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Mary Landrieu, D-La., Mark Begich D-Alaska, Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Mark Pryor, D-Ark.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., was seen as a wild card because, although he supports the amendment, he has been ill and home in New Jersey.  Aides said Lautenberg “hopes” to get back for the vote Wednesday.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., sounded a bit resigned Tuesday when he defended the bill’s momentum while, in the same breath, admitting that the votes may not be there. Regardless, he said, gun control supporters have the “wind at our back.”

President Obama made calls to the few undecided senators Tuesday, ABC News’ Jonathan Karl reported. A White House official said there still was a path to 60 votes but conceded it is “a narrow path.”

Yet the situation remained fluid, Republican and Democratic aides told ABC News, and either outcome was possible when the voting was to begin at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

Following the Manchin-Toomey amendment vote, the Senate will vote on at least eight other gun amendments, all of which matter to the debate. They included voting up or down on an assault weapons ban, the issue of concealed carry, a high-capacity clip ban and mental health provisions.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Marco Rubio: Immigration Bill Doesn’t ‘Give’ Anything Away

Michael Bonfigli /The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Days before a bipartisan immigration bill is scheduled to be presented, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida argued Sunday morning on This Week that a key provision of the bill, the so-called “pathway to citizenship” for undocumented workers, would not give anything away and said it would in fact be cheaper for undocumented workers living in the U.S.  to become citizens if they left the country first and then applied for legal status.

“All we’ve done here is create an alternative to that that they can access, and the alternative we’ve created is going to be longer, more expensive and more difficult to navigate,” Rubio said. “It will actually be cheaper if they went back home, waited 10 years, and applied for a green card.  And so, secondly, we’ve not awarding anything.  All we’re giving people the opportunity to eventually do is gain access to the same legal immigration system, the same legal immigration process that will be available to everybody else.”

Rubio, who is seen as a key figure holding the bipartisan Senate group known as the “Gang of Eight” together, said that some of the undocumented workers currently in the country would not be eligible to seek legal status under the bill.

“I think it’s important to understand it does not give anything.  It allows people access to the legal immigration system,” Rubio said. “Number two, some people won’t qualify.  They haven’t been here long enough; they’ve committed very serious crimes.  They won’t be able to stay.  Number three is all people will get is an opportunity to apply for things, to apply for a legal status, which isn’t awarded on day one … The only thing you are earning here is an opportunity to apply for temporary status, and ultimately, potentially to apply for a green card, the way everybody else does.  And that’s the process that we are outlining.”

ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl also asked the Florida senator about the Senate vote Thursday that overcame a Republican filibuster to allow debate to proceed on possible gun legislation. Rubio slammed a plan being supported by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania that would expand background checks.

“Criminals don’t care about the laws that we pass with regards to guns.  They never follow the law.  That’s why they’re criminals,” Rubio said. “Look, here is the bottom line.  I think everyone is in favor of any law that could effectively keep criminals or dangerous people from getting access to guns.  The problem is that all these laws that people are discussing will not effectively deal with that problem, but will infringe on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. And so, what we need to look for is a compromise that actually accomplishes that, that does not infringe or place additional burdens on law-abiding citizens, and in fact is effective at keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people, and that begins by enforcing it.”

Rubio went on to say that the country has missed a “golden opportunity” to discuss the problem of violence in our society.

“This debate about guns, we are missing a golden opportunity to have the real debate we should be having, and that is a debate about violence,” Rubio said. “Guns are what they’re using to commit the violence, but the problem is violence, and no one is focusing on why this society has become so violent, why young people in America are committing these horrifying acts, and we are missing a golden opportunity to discuss that, and not simply just focus on gun laws that only law-abiding people will follow.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Congress Moves ahead on Gun Legislation 

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON ) -- It’s already written in the Constitution's Second Amendment, and now Congress is addressing new legislation that will revise regulations regarding citizens' right to bear arms.

If passed, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity bill would increase the number of legally-owned handguns on American streets and lower the conceal-and-carry restrictions on those weapons.

The new bill would make it legal across all states for out-of-state visitors to conceal and carry firearms, so long as they are permitted to do so in their home states. This would essentially make the conceal-and-carry laws of California, Illinois, and New York obsolete.

As the law stands now, a gun owner who is legally licensed to carry a firearm in New Jersey, for example, is not legally allowed to carry that weapon once he or she crosses a bridge to New York City.

Like most proposed bills to Congress, this one is not without controversy.

The Police Foundation insists the bill has the potential to endanger the lives of police officers, who would have trouble identifying legitimate gun permits from fraudulent ones.

Still the bill -- which benefits gun manufacturers as well as the diverse interests of sportsmen and gun enthusiasts -- is likely to be passed, scoring another victory for one of its main supporters, the National Rifle Association.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio