As NPR reports, this morning the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on four bills that seek to address our problems with gun violence. Because the Judiciary Committee is stocked with reliable liberals, all four bills are expected to pass and go to the floor of the full Senate. Here is a list of the bills.
— The “assault weapons ban of 2013,” sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
— The “stop illegal trafficking in firearms” act put forward by Committee Chairman Pat Leahy, D-Vt.
— New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer’s “protecting responsible gun sellers act of 2013,” which would expand background checks for gun buyers.
— The “school safety enhancements act of 2013” from Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.
I have seen no one argue that Diane Feinstein’s bill has any chance of passing in the Senate, let alone the House. Schumer’s bill is overwhelmingly popular but it is reportedly opposed by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Mark Kirk (R-IL).
“We are committed to continuing to work in a bipartisan effort with Sens. Schumer, Coburn and others in order to find a commonsense solution for enhanced background checks, however, Sen. Schumer’s current proposal is one we cannot support as it stands today,” the two senators said in a statement Wednesday evening. “Our goal is to pass a bill that will close loopholes in the current background check process in a way that does not burden law-abiding citizens.
“Any bill we support will guarantee that Americans’ Second Amendment rights are clearly protected,” they added. “We simply want to make sure firearms do not end up in the hands of convicted criminals or people who are deemed mentally unstable by court ruling.
“While the bill Sen. Schumer introduced today doesn’t meet this standard, we will continue to work with Sen. Schumer, Sen. Coburn and other colleagues to find a commonsense compromise,” the senators continued in a statement.
Progress on a background check bill is not totally stalled. Tom Coburn sounds optimistic that something can still be salvaged, but it will probably have to come in the form of an amendment to Schumer’s bill.
I can’t find much information on Boxer’s bill or its prospects. I’d note, for the record, that Republicans tend to oppose anything Boxer proposes just on principle, so she has not succeeded in her long career in accomplishing much of anything on her own. Teddy Kennedy, she is not.
Republican Senator Mark Kirk is co-sponsoring Leahy’s Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act of 2013, so I think it has a good chance of passing.
So, my guess is that Leahy’s bill will go to the House, Schumer’s bill will be amended and passed and go to the House, Boxer’s bill I am not so sure about, and Feinstein’s bill will be filibustered or perhaps just voted down.
I don’t know if the House can get its crap together to act on any of this legislation, but the Leahy and Schumer bills have the potential to become law.