Video: Reid backing away from assault-weapons ban?

posted at 8:01 am on January 15, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

The possibility of passing a renewal of the 1994 assault-weapons ban looks even more remote after an appearance on a Nevada PBS interview.  Saying that everyone needs to “be cool and cautious,” Reid insisted that the answer to Newtown needs to be more comprehensive than just weapons restrictions — and wants to wait to see what Obama will do “administratively” before passing any new laws:

“The Second Amendment is something that was adhered to by Hubert Humphrey, John Kennedy,” Reid said. “So I don’t think anyone wants to diminish the Second Amendment, but I think everyone should just take a deep breath and realize where we are and where we need to go.

“We have too much violence in our society, and it’s not just from guns. It’s from a lot of stuff. and i think we should take a look at TV, movies, video games and weapons. And I hope that everyone will just be careful and cautious.”

Rather than commit to any specific courses of action, Reid said he’d wait to see what Obama will propose on guns — and through executive order. For now, the Democratic leader in the Senate said it’s time to take a breath.

“Let’s just look at everything. I don’t think we need to point to anything now,” he said. “We need to be very cool and cautious.”

Needless to say, this doesn’t fill TPM with confidence:

The Democratically-controlled U.S. Senate will not be a free-for-all of new gun regulations following the shooting at Sandy Hook, according to Majority Leader Harry Reid. Instead, Senators will focus on passing legislation that can move through the Republican-controlled House, Reid said.

That could spell doom for an assault weapons ban. Speaking on Nevada Week In Review, a news show on the PBS affiliate in Las Vegas, Reid said there’s no real chance of a new ban passing the House.

Reid says he was surprised to see the polling post-Newtown:

“We have to be fair. I was surprised with the poll results that came after this terrible situation that occurred at Sandy Hook. the numbers around the country — most people favor having the ability of people to carry guns,” he said. “So I think that the American people want us to be very cautious what we do. I think they want us to do things that are logical, smart, and make the country safer, not just be doing things that get a headline in a newspaper.”

Of course, the big headlines today are the polling from Pew and the Washington Post/ABC poll that shows support for an assault-weapons ban, albeit with plenty of qualifications. The Post/ABC survey showed voters more interested in economic issues than gun control, for instance.  Most support coalesces around initiatives to make background checks universal and tougher, and to consider mental-health issues along with criminal backgrounds, and even (by a 2-1 margin) to put armed guards in schools.

That’s hardly a mandate for a pell-mell rush into assault weapons bans.  It looks like Harry Reid has other plans for the Senate.

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