Sen. Smith’s Filibuster Is ON!

Senator Smith Throws Down the Gauntlet!
— Stands up to Trent Lott by forcing filibuster on anti-gun crime bill

(Friday, July 23, 1999) — Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) has set the Senate wheels in motion for a series of votes to stop Senator Bob Smith’s filibuster on the juvenile crime legislation. The first vote has been set for Monday, July 26.

So far, Senator Smith (I-NH) has prevented any progress on the anti-gun crime bill by promising to use the ancient art of “filibuster.” Yesterday, that promise became reality when Smith objected to a motion by Sen. Lott to move the bill along.

This is truly a David v. Goliath stand-off. The Senate leadership, led by the Majority Leader, is trying to roll Senator Smith and bring his delaying tactics to an end.

Of course, Senator Lott must first clear at least six parliamentary “hurdles” that have been erected by Senator Smith.

The key vote will occur on Wednesday or Thursday when the Senate will determine whether the Gore/Lautenberg gun control crime bill (S. 254) will move forward.

That vote will be on an effort to shut down debate on Sen. Smith’s filibuster– known in Washington as “invoking cloture” on the filibuster– and will decide whether Sen. Lott can substitute the virulently anti-gun crime bill (S. 254) in lieu of the crime bill that was passed by the House.

Eventually, Senator Lott wants to send the crime legislation to a House-Senate conference committee to iron out the differences between the two bills. But that can only come after he’s cleared the Smith “hurdles”– a process that should take several days. Lott can clear each one of these hurdles with a 60-vote majority in the Senate.

If that happens, President Clinton will be one step closer to signing a crime bill that is replete with gun bans and gun owner registration.

But if our side gets 41 votes at any point along the way, then Senate rules will allow Smith to continue filibustering the bill– which could entail his standing on the Senate floor and reading long passages from a library of pro-gun literature. You may want to tape this from C-Span and label it “Second Amendment books on tape by Senator Smith.”

Smith is willing to do that. He is committed to doing whatever it takes to defend the 2nd Amendment. But he needs 40 other Senators to stand with him!

Again, Monday’s vote will begin a whole series of votes on this issue. Each one is slightly different, and GOA will do its best to keep you informed as to what is coming down the pike.

Until then, please start asking your Senators to support the Smith filibuster.

Senator Smith is without question THE defender of 2nd Amendment rights in the Senate. Tell your Senator that you would like him or her to follow Smith’s lead on the upcoming series of votes.


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P.S. There has been quite a bit of confusion in the media as to what is actually transpiring on Monday. Some in the media are reporting that Monday’s vote is about the appointment of Senate conferees. This is incorrect. Technically speaking, the purpose for Monday’s vote in the Senate is to bring up the House crime bill (H.R. 1501) for debate. As stated above, Lott eventually wants to appoint conferees, but that will only happen if he can overcome every Smith filibuster.