Don’t pop that champagne bottle and start celebrating yet, but there are indeed signs that the ban on so-called assault weapons pushed out of the House Judiciary Committee last week is still a few votes shy of passage.
On today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co we take a look at the evidence that House Democrats still don’t have the 216 votes needed to approve the gun ban bill authored by Rhode Island Democrat David Cicillini, starting with the fact that the calendar for the House Rules Committee, which is the next stop for HR 1808, hasn’t listed the bill for consideration this week. The conventional wisdom is that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi won’t bring the bill forward until she knows the votes for passage are in hand, so the absence of HR 1808 on the Rules Committee calendar is a pretty good sign that Democrats aren’t assured that they have the support of 216 House members.
Another sign? The number of co-sponsors for the bill has been stuck at 212 for over a week now, with embattled Virginia congresswoman Elaine Luria the last Democrat to sign on to the bill back on July 14th. Currently the bill has no Republican co-sponsors, even though retiring GOP House members Adam Kingzinger and Chris Jacobs are likely to vote for the measure if it gets to the House floor, but even with their votes Democrats may end up being a couple of members shy of a majority.
Perhaps the best indication that Cicillini’s gun ban bill is in trouble is the fact that Democrats have simply stopped talking about it. Last week there was a bit of a media frenzy over the House Judiciary Committee marking up the bill and sending it on to the Rules Committee for a final vote before discharging the legislation to the House floor, but since then there’s been nothing but radio silence. POLITICO didn’t mention HR 1808 in its look ahead at this week on the Hill, and Roll Call’s reporting on this week’s House action also lowered expectations of a gun ban vote.
If they can find time, Democratic leaders may also schedule a vote on bills related to banning semiautomatic assault weapons and the use of gun trace information in civil proceedings, reported out of committee last week after a lengthy partisan debate.
The Washington Post even ran a big feature today on Chris Jacobs’ newfound support for gun control without once bringing up a potential vote on an “assault weapons ban” this week, which is another sign that the bill may be in some trouble. Cicillini himself hasn’t said anything about his pet gun ban legislation on social media since shortly after the Judiciary Committee approved the measure along party lines, which is also unexpected for someone who should be intensely (and publicly) lobbying for support.
Again, this doesn’t mean that the bill is doomed to defeat, so gun owners and Second Amendment supporters shouldn’t get cocky. At least one Democrat was willing to go on the record this weekend with a prediction that the gun ban bill will be approved before the end of the week.
A discussion of whether to ban assault weapons broke out over the weekend at a town hall hosted by U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Highland Park, and views were exchanged in what the Congressman called a civil manner.
Though Schneider and many in the crowd of more than 80 people — including women wearing red Moms Demand Action T-shirts — support the ban, not everyone there did. Schneider said he was pleased with the tone of the discussion, which is sometimes lacking, and added compromise is needed.
… Telling the crowd legislation banning those guns was approved by House Judiciary Committee last week, Schneider said he hopes the legislation is passed by the House of Representatives this week. He told his Democratic colleagues his firsthand experience in Highland Park.
“I must have given a really good speech,” he said. “After that, it was announced we were going to move ahead on an assault weapons ban. I’ve been making calls to my colleagues who I think are on the fence, and I think we have the votes. We have to get these weapons of war off our streets.”
Yeah, about that. It’s incredibly dishonest of Rep. Schneider to tell his constituents that the bill he’s supporting will take even a single modern sporting rifle (much less a “weapon of war”) off the streets, because Cicillini’s bill grandfather’s in existing gun owners. I have no doubt that Schneider would support a ban that goes further and requires existing gun owners to hand their lawfully-purchased arms over to the federal government, but by design that’s not what this bill does. Right now Pelosi and company are far more interested in passing something they can point to as a success, and their full-scale gun ban and confiscation plans would draw less support than Cicillini’s current bill, so instead of running with Joe Biden’s more expansive plan for an “assault weapons” ban Democrats are simply misleading their base about what Cicillini’s bill would actually do.
The House is set to begin its August recess this Friday afternoon, so time is growing short if Democrats are going to bring HR 1808 to the House floor for a vote. If you haven’t already contacted your representative to let them know your thoughts on banning the most popular rifle in the United States, now’s the time. Nancy Pelosi is going to pull out all the stops to drag this unconstitutional bill across the finish line in the House in the next few days, but Second Amendment supporters still have a fighting chance to defeat Cicillini’s legislation or to keep it bottled up in committee before lawmakers head back to their districts for their month-long summer vacation.