GOP Leadership: the Last Line of Defense against Gun Control

Be very nervous.

The same Republican leadership that has provided minimal leadership this year on conservative issues is now playing defense and sending smoke signals to the Obama Administration that they might be willing to surrender the one right conservatives have been successful in defending: the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

Let’s not forget that Republicans control the House and the Senate. Only a complete surrender on gun issues would lead to any legislation making it to President Obama’s desk to provide another chapter in President Obama’s memoirs and an opportunity for him to sign a gun control bill into law while lambasting Congress for not going further. On a political level, it would take gross incompetence on the part of Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for any gun control measure to make it to the President’s desk.

The Republican Party has been solid in the defense of Second Amendment rights in the past two Congresses. When the Manchin-Toomey gun control debate commenced in the Senate in April 2013, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) lead the charge with a threat to filibuster the motion allowing debate on the bill. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) joined the fight and the three lead the charge to fight that bill before it was debated. The House did not even take up any legislation restricting gun rights in 2013 and Republicans held the line on Second Amendment rights. Conservatives hope that current leaders hold the line and use the same strategies in 2013 that helped defeat the Manchin-Toomey gun control bill.

CBS News legal expert Steven Portnoy tweeted yesterday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is showing weakness on defending the Second Amendment.

GOP Senate leadership ran away from that report and insisted that they support Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-TX) gun control-lite proposal to provide due process when someone on a watch list attempts to buy a gun.

This should not make conservatives feel good. Clearly, Senator McConnell is playing defense on this issue and refusing to go on offense. If they truly want to do something in the aftermath of Orlando, McConnell and Republicans should threaten to force votes on every bill going forward over slowing or suspending asylum seekers and refugees from Syria, Iraq and other countries that have proven to be incubators of terrorism. If the Left wants to push a vote on an assault weapons ban, then that bill should provide an opportunity for an amendment on slowing refugees and asylums seekers from nations that have had documented trouble with radical Islam.

There is no reason why the Senate should take a vote to restrict gun rights this year, and if it happens, you have Mitch McConnell to blame.

On a strategic level, it makes no sense for McConnell to even allow a debate on gun control this year. McConnell has used the Senate tradition that allows the Leader to control the floor through blocking amendments to bills that he does not want Republicans to vote on. Under normal circumstances, using Senate parliamentary procedure to block amendments is offensive to the traditions and rules of the Senate, yet McConnell — like Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) before him — has used this tactic to block conservatives from offering amendments, therefore he might want to use that same power to block liberals pushing gun control. There is no reason why the Senate should take a vote to restrict gun rights this year, and if it happens, you have Mitch McConnell to blame.

Is The Right Going Left On Gun Control

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may join Democrats in new gun control measures.

Furthermore, McConnell is intent on completing the appropriations process in the Senate this year so he can prove that he, unlike his predecessor Sen. Harry Reid, can usher the spending bills across the Senate floor and display the appearance of being ‘productive.’ Preserving the talking point that McConnell is a better technocrat than Reid is not a good reason to allowing a vote on gun control. One would hope that McConnell’s reputation in ushering government spending bills across the Senate floor would not become more important than preserving the Bill of Rights.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) has yet to weigh in and presumably can block votes on gun control this year if he so chooses. There is no prospect that gun control would pass the House, unless if Republicans cut a gun control-lite deal as a way to inoculate themselves on the Orlando shooting issue. At a time when Speaker Ryan is crafting a comprehensive agenda through the use of task forces and the release of websites like, it would be a disaster to allow the Left to bully Republicans into passing any measure forwarding the cause of gun control. It would again prove that liberals are more effective at implementing an agenda than Republicans.

Again — be very nervous.

We will learn much about our “leaders” in Washington as this debate unfolds. Are they going to run the white flag of surrender up the flagpole or are they going to fight?

Let’s hope they surprise us and fight.

Read at Conservative Review