The 6 Most Important People in the Looming Gun Control Debate

The Washington Post put together a list of the six biggest players in the ongoing national debate on gun control following the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, which was the second-deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

For the most part, I agree with the people on the WP’s list: President Obama, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

However, upon further reflection, I made a few substitutions (I omitted Rep. McCarthy and Sen. Orrin Hatch), so below is my amended list with some additional notes:

President Obama – This one is quite obvious.  Obama, who has a history of being rather tepid on the issue of gun control, has certainly changed his demeanor following Sandy Hook.

It’s now clear that Obama will not only support, but also actively push for an Assault Weapons Ban that will include a ban on high-capacity magazines.

To see that this is accomplished Obama, on Wednesday, appointed Vice President Joe Biden to lead his gun control task force.  Biden, as we know, was instrumental in drafting the Clinton-Era Assault Weapons Ban.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg – I’ve been on record as saying that Bloomberg is the biggest threat to the Second Amendment.  I still believe that that’s the case.

Where many politicians are pro-gun control, I believe that Bloomberg is – in his heart of hearts – anti-gun.  The difference?  Most politicians can tolerate some level of restricted gun ownership whereas Bloomberg really wants to see gun ownership eradicated.

Additionally, no one has spent more of his own money fighting against the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens than Bloomberg, who, as the WP pointed out, “spent millions of dollars through his super PAC in the 2012 election to support pro-gun control candidates of both parties, even defeating a pro-gun incumbent Democrat in Rep. Joe Baca (CA).”

Bloomberg has the means and the resolve to gut the Second Amendment as we know it today.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) – She’s obviously a player because she – along with Biden – led the effort to pass the first AWB in 1994.  Her office is poised to introduce the next AWB to Congress in the coming weeks.

NRA Exectuive VP Wayne LaPierre – LaPierre, who was not on the WP’s list, is arguably the most vocal advocate for gun rights that the NRA has.

As he’s done in the past, LaPierre will set the tone for the NRA’s leadership heading into the negotiations.

While there’s reason to believe the tone will be conciliatory, in a statement released earlier this week the NRA said that it was “prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again,” one shouldn’t be surprised to see LaPierre go on the offensive and attack some of the gun control laws now being talked about.

Time will tell.  Actually, we’ll know tomorrow, as the NRA is scheduled to give a national press conference on the Sandy Hook tragedy and its agenda for the weeks and months to come.

Second Amendment Foundation Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb – Along with the NRA-ILA, Gottlieb’s Second Amendment Foundation is a leading force on the legal front for defending our right to keep and bear arms.

If draconian gun control measures are proposed (which is inevitable) and subsequently passed into law (which also, at this point, seems inevitable), it will be up to the NRA-ILA and the SAF to file lawsuits challenging their constitutionality.

The SAF has a track record of success.  Just recently it notched a huge victory in Chicago where the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the right to self-defense is “broader than the right to have a gun in one’s home” (for more on this, click here).

The SAF should bring some much-needed legal perspective to the ongoing gun control debate.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV): Like the WP, I also think Sen. Reid will be an important player because of his unique position.

Sen. Harry Reid

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)

Sen. Reid is a high-profile, moderately pro-gun Democrat who will be faced with a very tough decision: either side with his fellow Democratic lawmakers in the Senate (the majority of who will presumably back any gun control measure) or the people of Nevada (who are by and large pro-gun).

Though he is not the only one faced with this dilemma, there are other Senate Democrats from pro-gun states who will have to make the same choice: Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Kay Hagan (D-NC).

Due to his leadership role, how Sen. Reid votes on gun control will likely impact how these other senators vote.  Interesting note, the one’s listed above are all up for re-election in 2014, so, should they make the wrong choice, it could spell the end of their career in the Senate.

There’s little doubt that gun owners will be keeping a close eye on Sen. Reid as the negotiations begin to heat up.

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