Endgame: Mark Pryor opposes Feinstein's assault-weapons ban

Noteworthy, not just because he’s a Democrat but because Pryor actually voted yes on Feinstein’s last AWB bill in March 2004. That was sort of safe to do since he wasn’t facing reelection until 2008. The timing is different now — his seat is up next year in a state that produced Bill Clinton but now votes reliably red — and so he’s taking no chances.

As a coalition of gun control advocates pushes for a new federal Assault Weapons Ban, U.S. Senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman of Arkansas say they cannot support California Senator Dianne Feinstein’s bill. Pryor says the objective should be to lessen gun violence not violate people’s constitutional rights.

“I think everyone agrees that the goal here is to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, the mentally ill, and young people while at the same time protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens,” Pryor said. “The question is, how do we do this and how do we lessen the gun violence? I will continue to look at proposals here and also listen to Arkansans and law enforcement.”

Pryor says the bill is cumbersome, confusing, and includes about 100 pages that list specific weapons. He says there are no details on why certain guns are banned and others are accepted.

For all the media buzz about public opinion on guns having changed dramatically, how many red-state Democrats in the Senate feel secure enough electorally to back a new AWB? The only one I can think of offhand is McCaskill and she’s onboard only because she doesn’t have to face the music again until 2018. Joe Manchin has made noise about doing more to regulate guns but the AWB appears to be a bridge too far. Mark Begich is a flat no. As of last month, Max Baucus and Jon Tester were taking a “cautious approach” and have been lying low ever since. Democrats will happily run kids up onstage for their gun-control photo ops, but if passing something For The Children involves taking a political risk, oh well. Moment of truth for Harry Reid, then: Now that he knows the AWB will fail, and fail with not a few Democrats voting no, does he bring it to the floor? He has to, right? It’s going to screw up the Democrats’ “Republicans killed the AWB” talking point, but they’re better off trying to finesse that (“it was mostly Republicans who killed the AWB”) than irritating their base by not even chancing a vote. Then again, if they couldn’t muster the stones to hold hearings about the Tucson shooting because they were too worried about the election, why would Reid muster them to force a vote on the AWB?

Via Newsbusters, here’s Scarborough achieving peak smug by asserting that Gayle Trotter looked like a “jackass” for defending assault weapons at yesterday’s Senate hearing. Watch the clip, then go here and watch the clip of a woman in Texas who found herself confronted by three home invaders while she was putting her six-year-old to bed. They don’t say what type of weapon she had but it sure looks like a semiautomatic from the video. And if you’re serious about stopping massacres, then you have to be serious about getting rid of semiautomatics, not just “assault weapons.” If not now, then eventually.