By Neil W. McCabe Wednesday, December 4, 2013
The House Republican leadership with its Dec. 3 vote to extend the ban on “undetectable” guns proved again it excels at political cowardice and betrayal of conservatives.
Do not bother looking for the roll call of the yeas and nays on the vote, the GOP leaders, working with Democrats, suspended the rules and passed the measure with a voice vote—with maybe 15 actual congressmen on the House floor.
In another profile in cowardice, Republicans put up Rep. J. Howard Coble (R.-N.C) to sponsor the bill, H.R. 3626. The 82-year-old congressman announced his retirement a month ago, so let’s just say he took one for the team, so one of his comrades, who will actually face the voters in 2014, would not have to defend the bill.
How ironic is it that a bill titled “To Extend the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988,” passed the House in a method that makes its supporters undetectable? And sponsored by a straw member of Congress?
Republicans wanted to dodge threatened Democratic attack ads that would have tagged supporters of plastic guns as supporters of terrorists looking to hijack planes with guns that avoid metal detectors.
But, what they did was so much bigger and dangerous than any attack ads.
First, by passing a restriction of gun rights—in this case the constitutional right to make your own firearm—the House has presented the Democratic-controlled Senate a bill it can now mate with its own bill restricting gun rights. Once it passes its own bill, the Senate can then go to a conference with the House to fashion a bill far more extension than the simple ban on plastic, printed guns. In conference, the bill can be completely re-written and that bill is then sent back to each chamber for final passage before sent to President Barack Obama.
What will the House GOP do when it is presented with a bill with expanded background checks, bans on pistol grips and scopes on military-style long guns and, heck, a ban on military-style long guns?
Having already gone on the record against the plastic guns as the tool of terrorists, how then can Republicans vote against the new bill, which in the eyes of the public is still just a bill keeping invisible guns out of the hands of Al Qaeda? It would be a heavy lift. Too heavy for the GOP, most of whose leaders think the gun rights community is a bunch nut jobs they have to tolerate to keep their jobs.
When Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was in the House and White House, he preached that winning brings more winning, so the Republicans have done the Democrats another favor. They have broken the Democrats losing streak and given them the change-of-the-subject they desperately needed as the scandal of the ObamaCare rollout had been dominating the headlines.
The great gun control battle ax Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D.-Calif.) signaled that “guns” was going to be the next diversion with an op-ed in the San Jose Mercury. Followed by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., talking up Obama’s executive actions against gun owners and the firearms industry.
Gauging the speed with which the GOP brought up and passed the plastic gun ban, it………………….