Dem Senator Mark Begich: I'm "not interested" in a new assault-weapons ban

No surprise that a pol from Alaska won’t touch guns, but in case you’re one of three people left in America who still thinks there’s a chance a new AWB will pass this year, let a highly vulnerable red-state Democrat who’s up for reelection put your mind at ease.

Asked which gun control measures he would support, Begich said, “I’m not supporting anything at this point, and I want to see what those recommendations are.”

Begich continued, “We have to be very careful that we don’t jump to the clamor of emotion. … I don’t believe that we just need to pile on new laws and suddenly that solves all the problems.”…

Responding to another question about whether he would support a renewal of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which outlawed the manufacture of several types of semiautomatic firearms for civilian use from 1994 to 2004, Begich said he is “not interested.”

Other red-state Democrats up for reelection: Mary Landrieu, Max Baucus, Tim Johnson, Kay Hagan, and Mark Pryor. Landrieu and Baucus voted no when the last AWB came up for renewal in 2004, and although Pryor voted yes, Arkansas wasn’t quite as red then as it is now. There’s no chance Reid will get to 60 in the Senate for a new ban; there’s a very slim chance that he won’t even get to 50. If you’re Pryor and you’re facing a tough campaign on unfavorable terrain, what’s your incentive for voting for a new AWB that hasn’t a prayer of passing?

And before you ask, no, the RINOs likely aren’t going to come to Obama’s rescue either. The other senator from Alaska sounds unsurprisingly chilly to new gun regulations too:

“I have a real hard time with this. We’re talking about the Second Amendment,” Murkowski continued. “A Second Amendment right in my view cannot be trumped, in my view, with an executive order so I’m not quite sure where the vice president’s coming from on this. I’ve suggested that — well, look, if what you’re talking about here is greater enforcement of existing laws, OK, let’s talk about that, but if through executive order you put a limitation or restriction through my executive rights or your executive rights, that’s wrong, we do not allow that to happen.”…

“As far as Sen. Feinstein’s proposal, again, we haven’t seen that actual legislative text,” Murkowki’s said. “I’ve heard enough of what she’s proposing to have very real concerns. The things that she is talking about would, in my view, demonize those of us who lawfully own, respect firearms without solving the problem.”

The NYT published a piece last night gently warning the congregation to lower its expectations for a new AWB. That also explains Biden’s conspicuous omission of the ban yesterday when rattling off gun-control measures on which he senses a consensus developing. (Even some Republicans have sounded their approval for more limited regulations, like a ban on high-capacity magazines.) Makes me wonder if Obama and Reid will dare disappoint their base by failing to even push for a Senate vote on Feinstein’s bill or whether they feel obliged to go forward in hopes of blaming everything on the GOP when it fails. That depends, I suppose, on whether they can convince Landrieu et al. to vote yes full in the knowledge that the ban won’t pass. If they can’t, then what’s to be gained from a tough floor vote in which the bill fails due to bipartisan opposition? It’ll damage the “GOP obstruction” talking point. Better to not offer the bill at all and have Obama and Reid issue statements that it’s pointless to proceed knowing that those damned Republicans would filibuster it and break America’s heart again. But I don’t know — maybe that wouldn’t be good enough to satisfy the left. If you believe Andrea Mitchell, O’s “absolutely committed” to pushing for a new AWB and it’ll definitely be in the Biden task force’s recommendations on Tuesday.