The headline says it all: "Support falters for the 'nuclear option.'" That was the headline people read in The Washington Times on March 23.
The article explained how support is fading for eliminating one of gun owners' greatest legislative weapons -- the filibuster.
On April 3, the New York Times cited the work that Gun Owners of America is doing in opposing any change to the Senate rules that would do away with the legislative filibuster.
"In a setback for supporters of the change," the Times wrote, "Gun Owners of America... argue[s] that changing the rules to prevent filibustering nominees would lead to the elimination of legislative filibusters, which conservatives have relied on to protect gun rights."
It's true. As recently as last year, pro-gun forces used a filibuster threat to keep the semi-auto ban from being placed on the Department of Defense authorization bill. And in the near future, GOA may be working with pro-gun Senators who would use filibuster threats to keep gun control amendments off of the gun makers' protection act.
Soon, the showdown will arrive on whether to abolish the U.S. Senate filibuster in order to expedite the confirmation of seven judicial nominees. As you may remember, in the absence of the filibuster, should the Democrats ever gain control of the Senate, there would be nothing to stop:
* Reenactment of the semi-automatic ban;
* Enactment of the .50 caliber ban;
* Enactment of the gun show ban;
* Enactment of the lock-up-your-safety trigger lock mandate;
* And much, much more.
Now, the anti-filibuster advocates are responding to our arguments that the abolition of the filibuster will make comprehensive gun control and registration inevitable. Their answer? "We don't care."
Six months ago -- when this battle started -- filibuster opponents were erroneously raising the possibility that the legislative filibuster could be saved. But no more.
Majority Leader bill Frist (R-TN) -- already campaigning for president -- toured New Hampshire last month with the following message:
"All of you know the story of the filibusters, the obstruction and the list of bills we were obstructed on.... Filibusters don't create jobs. Filibusters don't fix government problems.... [D]emocrats don't have to agree... [b]ut they do have an obligation to come to the table, to allow us to vote."
In other words, there is an OBLIGATION -- in Frist's words -- for the Democrats to stop filibustering LEGISLATION and letting the Republicans have votes on their legislative agenda.
Notice that we're no longer just talking about ending filibusters of JUDICIAL nominations. Now we're talking about doing away with filibusters of LEGISLATION.
Here's the rub: When liberal, anti-gun Democrats get back into power and they want to push comprehensive gun bans, gun owners will be the ones using the filibuster to stop the Brady Bunch's legislative agenda.
We have done this numerous times over the past 20 years. And yet, without the legislative filibuster, the "tyranny of the majority" will run roughshod over gun owners' rights.
Unfortunately, there are many Republicans who can't foresee what the future might hold. Disgraced Frist aide Manuel Miranda, fired for rifling the Democrats' computer files, explained on an April 1st radio broadcast that the Republicans would continue to control the Senate -- so there was no need (he felt) to worry about the consequences.
But regardless of who controls the Senate in years to come, Miranda said in an earlier (Valentine's Day) article in Human Events: "[I]t is hard to imagine what single piece of legislation conservatives fear so much that it overcomes concern for the independence of the judiciary."
Really! How about the registration of all gun owners. How about the banning of firearms that are currently in American homes. How about _____________. (You fill in the blank!)
Is it really worth trading away one of our most potent weapons, just to get judges that may or may not be pro-gun? Remember, seven of the nine current Supreme Court justices were appointed by Republican Presidents. Do we have seven pro-gun votes on the Court? How about seven, even remotely conservative justices on the high court?
We're not even close.
That's why throwing away our legislative arsenal is so dangerous. The truth is, votes on the Bush administration's judicial nominations could be forced by strict enforcement of the Senate rules. GOA has explained how this can be done to legislators and their staffs in the Senate.
But filibuster opponents feel this would be "too hard" -- compared with the "simple" procedure for repealing the Senate rules in one fell swoop.
We realize the Senate filibuster is a tough issue. It is hard to understand. And many of our good friends -- who haven't used the filibuster like we have -- don't see why we need it.
But believe us when we say this: If the filibuster is abolished, we have lost one of our most important weapons against comprehensive gun control.
ACTION: Another volley of calls and emails is now needed to save the legislative filibuster. Here’s what needs to be done:
1. Forward this alert to as many people as you can!
2. Please contact your senator immediately. Ask him to oppose the "nuclear option" and leave the Senate filibuster rules intact. We're making headway. But we need to redouble our efforts in these last days.
You can visit the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center at http://www.gunowners.org/activism.htm to send your Senators a pre-written e-mail message.
3. See if your Senator is listed below. This target list indicates Senators who especially need to hear from you. They are either uncommitted or could easily switch to our side if enough gun owners contact them. So please make sure you get friends and family to get in touch with the following:
Lisa Murkowski (AK) John McCain (AZ) Richard Lugar (IN) Jim Bunning (KY) Mitch McConnell (KY) Susan Collins (ME) Olympia Snowe (ME) Thad Cochran (MS) Chuck Hagel (NE) John Sununu (NH) Mike DeWine (OH) George Voinovich (OH) Tom Coburn (OK) James Inhofe (OK) Gordon Smith (OR) Arlen Specter (PA) Lamar Alexander (TN) John Warner (VA)
Increasingly, proponents of the "nuclear option" are making it clear that the demise of the legislative filibuster is the inevitable result of their proposal.
This means that a vote to tamper with the filibuster will make comprehensive gun control inevitable.
Please do not open this can of worms.
Please oppose the "nuclear option."
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