What the Thune Amdendment really means

What the Thune Amdendment really means

Small mountains of ink, electrons and hot air have been expended talking about the so-called Thune Amendment, which would have liberalized conceal carry reciprocity.

The amendment to a Defense Department bill received a majority of votes, 58-39, however it failed to gain the necessary 60 votes needed to override a threatened filibuster by arch anti-gunner Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY).

While the amendment itself may have been pro-gun, the shenanigans surrounding the vote should cause many gun rights activist to pause.

There is ample evidence to suggest that this vote was orchestrated by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Thune merely to give Republicans and vulnerable Dems a “pro-gun vote” going into August recess and the upcoming election.

In short, everyone knew that this amendment would fail. It was only brought forward as a pre-election stunt to buy a handful of Senator street-cred with gun voters.

From the Charlotte Gun Rights Examiner:

Laudable though Thune’s goal of national concealed carry may be, however, understand that the entire exercise was nothing but a sham in which (surprise, surprise) the amendment failed by a vote of 58 – 39. So before gun rights supporters contact the 58 ever-so-brave US Senators (including 20 Democrats) to thank them for supporting the measure, all should understand that its failure was preordained by Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and quite probably sanctioned by the NRA.

(Side note: Sixty votes – for “cloture” – were required for passage rather than the usual 51 due to a threatened filibuster by perennially anti-gun Sen. Charles Schumer. In the gentile land of the US Senate, threats routinely substitute for real action.)

In reality, Reid is vulnerable in his 2010 re-election bid and, consequently, threw the NRA a very small bone.

And what does the NRA get? The appearance of accomplishing something – if not actual passage of the amendment, at least a recorded vote which purports to show who’s “fer ya” and “agin ya.” More action means more NRA members and more money.

Unfortunately, however, the vote shows nothing of the sort and, indeed, undermines your ability to assess which senators are actually pro-gun. The exercise is common, and here’s how it works: Chamber leadership (read that “Democrat”) gives a pass to members in conservative (or vulnerable) districts to vote for a measure which the leadership intends to kill – all the while keeping enough votes against, by Democrats in secure districts, to ensure defeat. They know, after all, that the NRA won’t waste money going after Chuck Schumer, Diane Feinstein or Frank Lautenberg.

So the result is a vote in which anti-gun Democrats such like Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) get to posture as gun rights supporters.

As a masterful touch, the amendment failed by just two votes – exactly the number of Republicans who voted against it, giving the appearance that failure was due to lack of Republican unity.

If the drama demonstrates anything, it is that, as Mark Twain put it, “It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.”
To make matters worse, Senate Democrats were all too willing to go along with this charade. Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor (D) and Colorado Senator’s Mark Udall (D) and Mike Bennett (D) were given “permission” to vote in favor of the measure by Senate patriarch Schumer.

From Dana Milbank’s Washington Post column:

How do you outgun the NRA? Very, very carefully.

Mark Pryor knows all about that. The Democratic senator from pro-gun Arkansas was nowhere to be seen on the Senate floor during Wednesday’s showdown over a proposal, championed by the National Rifle Association, that would have gutted state gun-control laws across the nation.

After a morning of angry speeches, a vote was called at high noon. Toward the end of the vote, Pryor entered the chamber through the back door, took a few steps inside, flashed a thumbs-down to the clerk, and retreated as fast and furtively as somebody dodging gunfire.

Several minutes later, the Democrats had racked up more than enough votes to block the proposal. “Are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or wishing to change their vote?” the presiding officer inquired.

Pryor burst back in, this time through a side door. “Mr. President!” he called out. “Mr. President!” He stopped in the well to consult with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), a gun-control advocate who was keeping the whip sheet. Schumer gave Pryor a nod, and the Arkansan — reassured that his vote was not needed to defeat the proposal — changed his vote to an “aye.”

If Pryor wasn’t exactly a profile in courage, keep in mind: The gun lobby has a lot of money and a lot of clout, not to mention a lot of guns. And it doesn’t mind firing off a few rounds to keep lawmakers in line.

Only two Republicans went against the gun lobby, but that was enough to leave supporters just short of the 60 votes they needed. The slim margin was no accident: Other Democrats, such as Pennsylvania’s Bob Casey and Colorado’s Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, were said to have been willing to vote “no” if necessary. Twenty minutes after the voting began, Bennet and Udall left the cloakroom together and walked into the chamber. Bennet went to the well to consult with Schumer, who indicated that it was safe for Bennet — a product of D.C.’s St. Albans School — to vote with the NRA. Bennet looked to Udall, who gave an approving nod, and cast his “aye” vote.

Schumer found himself in the unusual position of opposing many of the moderate Democrats he helped bring to office as the head of Senate Democrats’ campaign efforts, including Webb, Casey, Jon Tester (Mont.) and Mark Warner (Va.). “Senator,” a reporter noted to Schumer at a post-vote news conference, “you were staring down some of the folks you were losing on the floor.”

“No. I wasn’t at all,” Schumer replied. “There was no staring down at all — none.”
Gun owners must remember, just because Republicans say they’re pro-gun doesn’t necessarily mean they are.

July 27th, 2009 | Tags: Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid, John Thune, Mark Udall, Mike Bennett, NRA, Sham votes, U.S. Senate | Category: 2010 Election, Anti-Gun Legislation, Anti-gun Politicians, Anti-gun Republicans, Pro-Gun Politicians, Pro-gun Legislation | 91 comments

July 28th, 2009 at 22:54
This is in response too Pam’s post at 17:57

I was born in Germany and immigrating to the US in 1954 with my parents, for a better life.

Today I am 66, have lived a fruitful life, benefiting from all this country offered me. At age 16 I became a naturalized citizen of this great country, along with the rest of my family. In those day one had to live in the States for a minimum of 5 years before one could apply for citizenship.

Like you Pam there had been many occasions that I asked my parents the same question; “Why didn’t the people do something?” and I received the same answer as you, “We didn’t know”. Hitler was charismatic, spoke with authority (no teleprompter needed)and promised his people “change”, and CHANGE is what they got (sound familiar?) He even went so far as promising each household a new Volkswagen (GM Bailout anyone?)

I couldn’t understand how the people did not know. Today I understand. In the late 30’s and early 40’s there were few media outlets, not like we have today. Those that were available, newspaper and radio, were controlled by the government. Anything detrimental towards the well being of the government was squashed very quickly, so the people couldn’t know. Today we have what is known as the 5th estate of government, or the news media. Do you feel controlled yet?

I see history repeating itself right here right now. Which media outlets are we hearing from that is giving us at least some truths? Not ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC or any of the other affiliates connected with them. Have any of these outlets reported the dissatisfaction the people of Chicago have with our current government? OF COURSE NOT! Yet the Internet is full of pictures of dissatisfied Americans, marching and protesting against what is happening to them. You know of what I speak.

Putting it into perspective for Germany during 1940-41, I can see how the people didn’t know, they were spoon fed by their government that all was well and that they were winning the war (is it really true that the economy has recovered? Don’t you believe it).

I remember my parents telling me the bombings they’ve sustained, bombed out of their homes on five different occasions, yet being told that Germany is winning the war.

Don’t let history repeat itself here. We have the greatest country with the greatest Constitution and the greatest people, who want nothing more than peace and to remain free from bondage by an oppressive government. We cannot be allowed to be led as Sheep to the slaughter house.

Our representatives are coming home next week for a long deserved vacation (according to them), but I say don’t let them have the rest they think they deserve. Put them on the hot seat and ask them how they voted on the various issues that affect each one of us, and press them for an answer. Ask them how they voted on the Health bill, the Sotomayor confirmation and most importantly to every citizen, the right to bear arms. Ask them and make them uncomfortable, so they’ll wonder if reelections in November are going to be attainable for them.

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