In an interview aired this morning on ABC News’ This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was asked to define his position on gun legislation.
Stephanopoulos asked him pointedly: “Many, including the National Rifle Association President David Keene, are wondering where you stand, right now, on the issue of gun legislation?”
Reid began his answer by telling Stephanpoulos, “I had guns from the time that I was a little boy…I have lots of guns, I keep them for sentimental reasons. I was a police officer, right over here is my badge. I was a police officer, I carried a gun, and that’s what I did to put myself through law school.”
To be fair, when a Democrat begins an answer in this manner, it’s hard to tell whether he’s sitting you up for the fall or whether he might, in fact, be getting ready to do the unthinkable and defend the Second Amendment–and if the rest of Reid’s answer is any indication, we are closer to the latter than the former.
Reid then turned his answer to address the contemporary push for gun control. He said he told Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) to conduct the Jan. 30 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence in such a way that a bill could come out of it which could make it to the floor of the Senate for amendments and get a vote.
In other words, it seemed Reid was saying, let go of the extreme gun grabs, find something tenable, and push for it instead.
Reid singled out Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) legislation in his answer: “If Dianne Feinstein by the time through the Judiciary Committee…doesn’t have her assault weapons [ban], at least let her have an opportunity to offer this amendment.”
Would Reid vote such an amendment if it’s offered? Here’s what Reid says: “Oh, I don’t know…I haven’t even read her amendment. I didn’t vote for the assault weapons [ban] last time because it didn’t make sense.”
Stephanopoulos then tried to twist the screws on bit, and Reid admitted the emotional pull to do something following public shootings where children are shot is compelling. But he still would not commit to supporting an “assault weapons” ban.
So Stephanopoulos took another tack–he tried to shame Reid by saying the NRA has supported Reid in the past, and that the NRA is “extremist.” Reid diffused this by saying, “I know Wayne LaPierre and he’s always been pleasant to me.”
In the end Reid would only say “I want to do something,” but he put “immigration” before guns and he focused on addressing “mental health” before “assault weapons.”