Bad Signs For Gun Control In The Senate

A little noticed test vote may bode ill for gun control legislation in the Senate:

A little-noticed Senate vote just before 4 in the morning on March 23 — amid the chamber’s 13-hour vote-a-rama on a fiscal 2014 budget resolution — suggests trouble for President Barack Obama’s gun control agenda.

Senators voted 50-49 in favor of an amendment by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, to establish a two-thirds requirement for the passage of any gun control legislation in their chamber. While the budget resolution is nonbinding and the amendment did not win the 60 votes needed to be adopted, the outcome underscores how many senators strongly support gun rights, just as the chamber prepares to debate the biggest package of gun control measures in nearly two decades.

Six Democrats from gun-friendly states joined a nearly united Republican conference to support Lee’s amendment: Max Baucus of Montana, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.

All of those senators are being watched closely — and lobbied heavily — ahead of the Senate showdown on Obama’s gun measures when lawmakers return from their two-week recess in early April.

Only one Republican, Mark S. Kirk of Illinois, broke ranks with the GOP and voted against Lee’s amendment. Both independents, Angus King of Maine and Bernard Sanders of Vermont, also voted against it. Frank R. Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat and strong supporter of gun control legislation, missed the vote.

Lee’s amendment sought to require a 67-vote supermajority for Senate passage of all future restrictions on firearms and ammunition, and it used a broad definition of the term “gun control.” For example, beyond requiring the heightened vote threshold for a proposed ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, the amendment also would have required it for any bill that “requires background checks through a federal firearms licensee for private transfer of firearms.”

And this was on a non-binding resolution.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Guns and Gun Control, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Well, obviously that was a “little-noticed Senate vote.” What mass media outfit pray tell was going to report that? It doesn’t fit the narrative. And besides, this is gay marriage week. Gun control was, like, so two weeks ago, man.

    The following graf speaks volumes:

    Six Democrats from gun-friendly states joined a nearly united Republican conference to support Lee’s amendment: Max Baucus of Montana, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.

    The irony would be lost on young airheads in the liberal media.

    Of course this whole thing in any case is a moot point. No left-wing gun control measure could get through the House. At this stage of the game Reid, Durbin & Co., and Team Obama, merely are going through the motions to gin up donations from multi-millionaire “progressives” in the likes of Pacific Heights, Tiburon, Malibu, Beverly Hills and Greenbrae. There’s not actually going to be any significant federal gun control legislation. Not this year. Not next year. Not at any point on the near-term event horizon. Probably never. Sun rises in east.

  2. stonetools says:

    We probably need another massacre of children to concentrate the minds of these Senatorial Judases since apparently one wasn’t enough……

  3. JKB says:

    underscores how many senators strongly support gun rights

    Yeah right, it underscores how many senators fear for their phony baloney jobs.

    And in a year or so when the Progs have left gun control behind on the floor, the gun owners will still have heightened situational awareness and a keen sense of whom they can trust to remain in Congress.

  4. Bad sign for the guns-uber-alles crowd: While the US Senate is sitting on their thumbs, other legislative bodies are not.

  5. stonetools says:

    Thee prosecutors have began to release some documents from the Newton massacre. The gunman fired 155 bullets from five and half magazines , slaughtering 26 people . The attack took less than 5 minutes. One first grader took 11 bullets.
    Tell me again why an AR-15 with 30 round magazines is exactly like great-grandpappy’s hunting rifle?

    Search warrants from the second-worst school shooting in American history revealed that the home Lanza shared with his mother in Newtown, Conn., was a veritable arsenal: Authorities found at least nine knives, three Samurai swords, two rifles, 1,600 rounds of ammunition and a 7-foot, wood-handled pole with a blade on one side and a spear on the other.
    Authorities also recovered a certificate in Lanza’s name from the National Rifle Association, seven of his journals, drawings that he made and books from the house, including books on living with mental illness.

    Thank you, NRA, for certifying Adam Lanza as a skilled and responsible gun user.I’m hoping they’ll release the crime scene photos, so the gun nut crowd sees what insistence on their “rights” actually leads to.

  6. Sam says:

    @stonetools: Your mindset may be the reason we have massacres. Without loons thinking that nonsense there would be no one using objects to do things like kill…