States’ Rights Views Change As Senate Defeats Gun Bill


How do you outgun the National Rifle Association? “Very, very carefully,” says the Washington Post, describing the Senate vote yesterday that killed an NRA-backed proposal that would have expanded the right to carry guns interstate. The gun lobby has a lot of money and a lot of clout, not to mention a lot of guns. And it doesn’t mind firing off a few rounds to keep lawmakers in line, says columnist Dana Milbank. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) reminded his colleagues that the NRA would factor this vote into its ratings.

Urban liberals, who typically champion federal authority, lined up to proclaim their fealty to states’ rights. “Leave us alone! Leave us alone!” demanded Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA). Her California colleague, Dianne Feinstein (D), displayed an enlarged photo of the flag-draped caskets of police officers who have been killed. Southerners, who historically promote states’ rights, demanded that the federal government overrule the states on gun laws. John Thune (R-SD), who sponsored the measure, said that he was merely trying to “clarify this patchwork” of state laws, and he accused the Democrats of “wild exaggerations” and “scare tactics.”

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