Franken: I’m not so sure about the assault-weapons ban; Update: “I also support the principle that we should reinstate a ban on assault weapons”

posted at 9:11 am on January 17, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

As Instapundit writes, “If Al Franken is undecided …” Senator Al Franken spoke in Rochester in support of universal background checks and magazine-capacity limits, but refused to endorse the centerpiece of Barack Obama’s gun-control push yesterday:

On the day that President Obama proposed a sweeping package of gun-control measures, U.S. Sen. Al Franken signaled his support for several components of Obama’s plan.

Franken, speaking during a press event in Rochester, said he supports limits on ammunition magazines to 10 rounds and tightening the nation’s system of background checks. But, he declined to say whether he supported a ban on assault weapons, a key provision of the president’s plan. …

Franken’s equivocal response illustrates the rocky passage the president’s aggressive gun-control plan is likely to face in Congress, where legislators will attempt to balance public safety issues with recreational and economic concerns. Minnesota is home to a vibrant gun culture, as well as many retail and gun manufacturing outlets. In talking to Minnesota deer hunters, Franken noted that many use semi-automatic rifles, but use a clip that holds only a few rounds.

“I think most people agree that you don’t need 30 rounds to bring down a deer,” Franken said in arguing for ammunition magazine limits.

Some bills might not even get to a vote in the GOP-run House of Representatives. And like many Senate Democrats, Franken is up for re-election in 2014, and any decisions made with regard to gun control could reverberate in congressional elections two years from now.

When pressed on the issue, Franken’s spokeman replied, “I guess I don’t have an answer for you.”  That is in itself an answer, especially coming from the darling of the Left in 2008.  Franken, who built his political standing during a stint on the defunct hard-left Air America radio network, would seem like a slam-dunk for a return of an assault-weapons ban that managed to pass during the relatively centrist Clinton administration.

And yet, here we are.  Is Franken worried about 2014? I’d guess not, although that may not be a slam-dunk, either.  He has more than a million dollars in his coffers already, and he’s facing a state GOP in considerable disarray, one that hasn’t won a statewide office since 2006, and which lost the legislature last November.  The big worry for Franken will be Tim Pawlenty, who could very easily make Franken look extreme in an election, and who could raise large amounts of money without a strong state GOP, but so far at least Pawlenty has remained quiet.

Don’t forget, too, that Republicans are almost certain to push a filibuster against any assault-weapons ban, so it will take 60 votes for it to come to the floor for a vote.  If Franken isn’t enthusiastic about it now, the chances of it passing cloture are nil, and it probably won’t even get a majority when other Senate Democrats facing redder state tests in 2014 have to make their own decisions about signing up for gun control.

Update: Looks like Franken has had a change of heart after his vacillation yesterday, but not a complete one:

I’ve always supported the Second Amendment rights of Minnesotans to own firearms for collection, protection, and sport. But I also think we need to find a balance between those rights and the safety of our children and our communities. I co-sponsored legislation to large clips like those used in so many mass shootings. I also support the principle that we should reinstate a ban on assault weapons, and I will carefully review any proposal to do that. We need to make sure we don’t have weapons out there that are really designed for the battlefield, and not for hunting. In the days and weeks ahead, I’m going to consult closely with all of the affected communities in the state – and that includes people like hunters, educators, parents, and other elected officials – about the best path forward.

Emphasis mine.  That’s not, one should note, a full-out endorsement of the Obama proposal, but it’s closer than what Franken gave in public yesterday.  And again, if the hard-Left Franken is treading this carefully in Minnesota, just imagine what the half-dozen red-state Democratic Senators who have to face voters in 2014 are thinking.


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I do not care one whit for anything this joke of a man has to say on any subject whatsoever.

Assault Weapons Ban to a suggestion for a good restaurant, I am utterly deaf to him.

turfmann on January 17, 2013 at 9:17 AM

Mr. Franken, the 2nd amendment isn’t about hunting.

Mohonri on January 17, 2013 at 9:20 AM

I’m sure about the ‘ban’.

NO!

What part of that aren’t liberals understanding?

Liam on January 17, 2013 at 9:23 AM

Sorry, 10 round magazines are a non-starter. The ONLY magazine that the military uses is the 30 round type for M-4′s, the civilian AR-15. So, that won’t do.

But who isn’t for getting people with mental instability some help. I mean, it was only the government and the Left that took that option out of the society since they thought it made people look down upon. Geesh!

As for background checks, they already work. Person-to-person sales account for a small majority of sales. And what about the pre-serial number weapons, how are we going to track those?

Just like the government, create a problem and then come to the rescue like they are the solution.

Patriot Vet on January 17, 2013 at 9:23 AM

once again, it is not about hunting, it is about the American citizens being able to protect themselves from a tyrannical, power-mad centralized government bent on creating a master/slave relationship.

deimos on January 17, 2013 at 9:24 AM

Puhleeze
This is like chuckie schumer not sure about hagel …he’s going to vote with the president

cmsinaz on January 17, 2013 at 9:28 AM

Come on Hegseth – give it another try. You’ll win against this guy.

gophergirl on January 17, 2013 at 9:28 AM

What a fake.With his seat possibly on the line he’s not so left after all.

docflash on January 17, 2013 at 9:29 AM

Is worried Bout re-election in the home state of “We Only Elect Goof-Balls” and we like assault rifles.

Jaibones on January 17, 2013 at 9:31 AM

2nd Amendment has nothing to do with bringing down a deer.

ButterflyDragon on January 17, 2013 at 9:31 AM

“I think most people agree that you don’t need 30 rounds to bring down a deer,” Franken said in arguing for ammunition magazine limits.

But 30 rounds is helpful to bring down an intruder who, unlike you can count to 10 before doing you harm. Mr. Franken, was your brain stashed in the same trunk where all those votes were stashed so that you could steal the election? Please point out where in the Second Amendment “right to keep and bear arms” is limited to bringing down a deer. You sir are a putz and a traitor for not defending the Constitution. May God have mercy on your soul and may an armed intruder do your family harm.

Happy Nomad on January 17, 2013 at 9:32 AM

There will be no gun or mag bans.

TX-96 on January 17, 2013 at 9:33 AM

What part of that aren’t liberals understanding?

Liam on January 17, 2013 at 9:23 AM

The part that means the government can’t keep lists so that they know where all the guns are when the launch phase two in gutting the Second Amendment.

Happy Nomad on January 17, 2013 at 9:34 AM

When pressed on the issue, Franken’s spokeman replied, “I guess I don’t have an answer for you.”

Franken’s spokesman could replace Carney and no one would notice the difference.

Rovin on January 17, 2013 at 9:36 AM

This quote from Avatar sums up what 1994 did to the Dems regarding Gun Control:

And when we destroy it, we will blast a crater in their racial memory so deep, that they won’t come within 1,000 klicks of this place ever again.

They remember what happened and they aren’t going near it.

RarestRX on January 17, 2013 at 9:36 AM

There will be no gun or mag bans.

TX-96 on January 17, 2013 at 9:33 AM

As a federal policy perhaps. I’m not so sure about those blue states.

Happy Nomad on January 17, 2013 at 9:36 AM

Senator Al Franken

…*shakes head*

KOOLAID2 on January 17, 2013 at 9:39 AM

Why should Al be worried? It’s not like the GOP is going to field a candidate against him. Too bad, because he’s a real loser – but then, it’s Minniesotah!

Bob in VA on January 17, 2013 at 9:41 AM

“I think most people agree that you don’t need 30 rounds to bring down a deer,” Franken said in arguing for ammunition magazine limits.

I am so sick of this line from idiot politicians, including RINOs who try to play along. Obviously, you don’t need 30 rounds to bring down a deer–if you do, you have no business hunting. It’s like saying you shouldn’t need 8 balls and 6 strikes to get a hit. Duh.

But that’s not what it is about.

Nutstuyu on January 17, 2013 at 9:43 AM

“Wolverines!!!”

Akzed on January 17, 2013 at 9:43 AM

“I think most people agree that you don’t need 30 rounds to bring down a deer,” Franken said in arguing for ammunition magazine limits.

Franken obviously has never seen one of his fellow liberals out hunting.

Bishop on January 17, 2013 at 9:45 AM

“I think most people agree that you don’t need 30 rounds to bring down a deer,” Franken said in arguing for ammunition magazine limits.

I need thirty rounds in case I need to deal with twenty-nine federales. Nobody’s perfect.

Akzed on January 17, 2013 at 9:46 AM

Hey Franken, how about some judicial smack-down for you (and the rest of you liberal douches!):

US v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939)

“These show plainly enough that the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. “A body of citizens enrolled for military discipline.” And further, that ordinarily, when called for service these men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time.”

AYMETTE vs. THE STATE (1840)

“The object then, for which the right of keeping and bearing arms is secured, is the defence of the public. The free white men may keep arms to protect the public liberty, to keep in awe those who are in power, and to maintain the supremacy of the laws and the constitution. The words “bear arms” too, have reference to their military use, and were not employed to mean wearing them about the person as part of the dress. As the object for which the right to keep and bear arms is secured, is of general and public nature, to be exercised by the people in a body, for their common defence, so the arms, the right to keep which is secured, are such as are usually employed in civilized warfare, and that constitute the ordinary military equipment. If the citizens have these arms in their hands, they are prepared in the best possible manner to repel any encroachments upon their rights by those in authority.”

UNITED STATES v. EMERSON (2001)

“The government’s brief thereafter makes essentially two legal arguments.

First, it contends that the right secured by the Second Amendment is “only one which exists where the arms are borne in the militia or some other military organization provided for by law and intended for the protection of the state.”

the cases are unanimous in holding that the term ‘arms’ as used in constitutional provisions refers only to those weapons which are ordinarily used for militaryor public defense purposes

As observed in Miller, “the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense” and “that ordinarily when called for service these men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves.” Id., 59 S.Ct. at 818.

Patriot Vet on January 17, 2013 at 9:49 AM

When pressed on the [AWB] issue, Franken’s spokeman replied, “I guess I don’t have an answer for you.”

it only makes victory sweeter.

sesquipedalian on January 16, 2013 at 8:12 AM

Franken: Snatching defeat out of Sesqui’s jaws of “victory.”

Resist We Much on January 17, 2013 at 9:51 AM

“I think most people agree that you don’t need 30 rounds to bring down a deer,” Franken said in arguing for ammunition magazine limits.

No, Al. It only takes one round. The other 29 are for clearing the foliage.

Rovin on January 17, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Oh please..he would vote yes on a assault weapons ban the very second it was put up for a vote. And would be on the capital steps cheering if Obama issued an executive order banning them.

HumpBot Salvation on January 17, 2013 at 9:55 AM

Oh please..he would vote yes on a assault weapons ban the very second it was put up for a vote. And would be on the capital steps cheering if Obama issued an executive order banning them.

HumpBot Salvation on January 17, 2013 at 9:55 AM

I’m really sick of the left defining anything more potent than a Daisy BB gun being labeled an assault weapon.

Words have meaning. Biden declared that the administration was not going to ban legal weapons. What he didn’t mention was the agenda includes pretty much banning all weapons with direct or indirect confiscation soon to follow.

Happy Nomad on January 17, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Nice to see Franken stand up for what he believes in, unless it’s inconvenient.

GarandFan on January 17, 2013 at 10:01 AM

I’m really sick of the left defining anything more potent than a Daisy BB gun being labeled an assault weapon.

Words have meaning. Biden declared that the administration was not going to ban legal weapons. What he didn’t mention was the agenda includes pretty much banning all weapons with direct or indirect confiscation soon to follow.

Happy Nomad on January 17, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Partner we live in the liberal utopia in which we have to pass a bill to find out what goodies it contains. So words mean our overlords want them to mean until they want them to mean something else.

HumpBot Salvation on January 17, 2013 at 10:04 AM

It amazes me that db’s like Franken relish getting in front of the camera and people like Boehner shirk away from the lights.

Mr. Arrogant on January 17, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Mr. Franken, the 2nd amendment isn’t about hunting.

Mohonri on January 17, 2013 at 9:20 AM

Thank you. I get really tired of people making that reference.

scalleywag on January 17, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Anyone who uses the word “hunting” when discussing the 2nd’s rights has lost the argument and should be dismissed from any further serious discussion on the subject.

The 2nd is not about hunting and never was.

Jabberwock on January 17, 2013 at 10:15 AM

A filibuster may not make sense for the Republicans in this case. Since the ban isn’t going to get past the House anyway, why not force the Democrats in the Senate to vote on it?

PersonFromPorlock on January 17, 2013 at 10:17 AM

Minnesota, rabidly… obnoxiously socialist as it is, has A LOT of people who own guns. Hunters, farmers, etc. Like Obamacare, this gun stuff overreaches beyond the safe margins of the Left’s newly-minted majority. Franken probably knows that this won’t fly with Minnesota voters. He also knows that he doesn’t have a comfortable margin to work with given that he only got elected on the very razor’s edge of found-in-the-trunk ballots.

SAMinVA on January 17, 2013 at 11:01 AM

Ed, Pawlenty has already declined to run for Stuart Smalley’s seat.

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/268571-republicans-look-to-oust-franken

This one is staying blue in a landslide, unfortunately.

cdog0613 on January 17, 2013 at 11:03 AM

“I think most people agree that you don’t need 30 rounds to bring down a deer,”

But you need at least that many to take down what a tyrant brings with him.

CurtZHP on January 17, 2013 at 11:25 AM

We need to make sure we don’t have weapons out there that are really designed for the battlefield, and not for hunting.-AF

It is truely staggering just how dumb a Senator can be.

Jabberwock on January 17, 2013 at 11:36 AM

To my fellow conservatives, on behalf of Minnesota, I would like to apologize for this joke of a man. I did not vote for him.

Othniel on January 17, 2013 at 11:38 AM

“I think most people agree that you don’t need 30 rounds to bring down a deer,” Franken said in arguing for ammunition magazine limits.

..apparently, Senator Slimy Skivvies has not seen me shoot.

The War Planner on January 17, 2013 at 11:46 AM

I’m really sick of the left defining anything more potent than a Daisy BB gun being labeled an assault weapon.

Words have meaning. Biden declared that the administration was not going to ban legal weapons. What he didn’t mention was the agenda includes pretty much banning all weapons with direct or indirect confiscation soon to follow.

Happy Nomad on January 17, 2013 at 10:00 AM

..I am not a lawyer and don’t even play one on TV, but by legal definition, assault means to threaten battery so, therefore, a rock, a slingshot, a spit wad could be an assault weapon. Therefore ALL guns, when pointed at someone with malice, are assault weapons.

The Second Amendment guarantees that “..the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

How hard can this be for those lib tools.

..oh, wait!

The War Planner on January 17, 2013 at 11:56 AM

I would like to see some data showing that having the ban made any difference or that lifting it made any difference. Connecticut, for example, has a state assault weapons ban. Existence of a federal ban was absolutely not a factor in the Connecticut shooting.

crosspatch on January 17, 2013 at 11:57 AM

…*shakes head*

KOOLAID2 on January 17, 2013 at 9:39 AM

+1

(why waste the bandwidth?)

Tim_CA on January 17, 2013 at 12:07 PM

This one is staying blue in a landslide, unfortunately.

cdog0613 on January 17, 2013 at 11:03 AM

I live in Minnesota. The DFL is in complete control here now and 2014 is going to be a top-to-bottom referendum on DFL policy and governance. I wouldn’t be so sure that the seat is lost.

Mr. D on January 17, 2013 at 12:20 PM

“Wolverines!!!”

“the chair is against the wall, the chair is against the wall”, “john has a long mustache, john has a long mustache”. It’s twelve o’clock, American, another day closer to victory. And for all of you out there, on, or behind the line, this is your song.
[the Battle Hymn of the Republic begins to play]

Fett on January 17, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Once again a tepid editorial, a bland description of the EVIL present in our world. Al Franken is a giant snarky venal POS, beneficiary of a stolen election, who ran to DC and cast the deciding vote for Obamacare, and Mr Morrissey here waffles about Franken’s intentions. Really? REALLY? Just pathetic naivete.

rayra on January 17, 2013 at 12:28 PM

To my fellow conservatives, on behalf of Minnesota, I would like to apologize for this joke of a man. I did not vote for him.

Othniel on January 17, 2013 at 11:38 AM

Ditto.

Mirimichi on January 17, 2013 at 2:18 PM

And again, if the hard-Left Franken is treading this carefully in Minnesota, just imagine what the half-dozen red-state Democratic Senators who have to face voters in 2014 are thinking.

Eh, I dunno Ed. Reports are the WV’s Manchin will buckle under, likely bought out with a admin job.

http://www.pagunblog.com/2013/01/15/joe-manchin-lying-sack-of-shit-on-guns/

oryguncon on January 17, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Welcome to Ninneysota, land of 10,000 loons and all of them liberal. I am ashamed to say I live there, where ellison, klobuchar and franken are supposed to represent me……..Keep voting stupid people….wait till your taxes go up with dayton and the dems in charge….what a bunch of all day suckers

crosshugger on January 17, 2013 at 6:20 PM

Hell, I honestly believe Franken could scream the N-word for 20 minutes from the floor of the senate and the voters in MN would still vote him back into office. The only reason he won’t retain that seat is if the DFL tells him to step down so they can put whomever they want in the seat.(And then throw him a bone like a position in the Barry administration) The saying shouldn’t be “Minnesota nice”, it should be “Minnesota crazy”

Dave_d on January 17, 2013 at 7:57 PM

I also support the principle that we should reinstate a ban on assault weapons, and I will carefully review any proposal to do that.

I’d yell “surprise!”…but nobody is.

Tim_CA on January 17, 2013 at 8:54 PM