Even though President Obama is pushing Congress to take up his gun control policies, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who is up for re-election in 2016, doesn’t want to take the lead on the issue, according to the Washington Post:
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said in a statement Wednesday that he hopes to move forward on gun control legislation “early this year” and that “all options should be on the table moving forward.” But Reid sounded more skeptical over the weekend, telling a Nevada television station that Obama’s most ambitious request – a new federal ban on assault weapons – likely couldn’t be passed by the House and Senate in the current political environment.
Senate Democratic aides said that unlike debates in recent years on health-care reform and fiscal policy, Reid is likely to step back on the gun issue, allowing longtime gun control advocates, including Sens. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), to steer legislation to consideration by the full Senate.
The Post notes that Reid benefited from the NRA staying out of this 2010 bid for re-election, though they didn’t endorse him either, and that there is concern that Obama’s push for gun control “could be a significant factor in at least 10 of the 23 Democratic Senate seats up for grabs” in 2014.
The gun control issue was a factor that helped lead the Republican takeover of Congress in the 1994 election, just after then-President Bill Clinton signed the so-called “assault weapons” ban into law. The next Tea Party movement may be peaceful, law-abiding gun owners who fear that the White House and Democrats are coming after them and they may well use the ballot box to show their anger.