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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Gun control - the coming Round Two

Smokescreens and history predict the future

When the Toomey-Manchin-Schumer-Bloomberg background checks amendment failed April 17, 55-47, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) switched his vote to the prevailing side making the vote 54-46, which is the final tally. With Reid now on the prevailing side, he then laid a motion to reconsider upon the table--where it sits waiting.

Normally, there is a two-step process to Senate votes. First, there is the motion to proceed, followed by the actual vote. When you hear about a filibuster, most times it is in regards to the motion to proceed, and the 60 vote-threshold is on closing floor debate, which then leads to the agenda item that passes or fails on a simple majority.

To speed the process along, Reid and the Democrats skipped the motion to proceed vote, but instead received unanimous consent that each of the amendments to the anti-gun rights bill require a 60-vote majority to pass.

The question is what will Reid do next? Because he is the majority leader, his motion to reconsider would be a privileged motion, immune from amendments or filibusters--and because the 60-vote threshold was created by the special circumstance of unanimous consent, the reconsideration would revert to the requirement of a simple majority.

In the last week, Reid, Vice-President Joseph R. Biden Jr., and Sen. Joseph Manchin III have all made statements to the effect that President Barack Obama's anti-gun rights agenda is not over. Unspoken was the understanding that they are waiting for the next spree shooter to go berserk. When he does, and the mood of the nation is panicked about guns, their program will be on the shelf waiting.

Be vigilant. Nothing is over until the end of this Congress in January 2015.

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