Filibustering could become something to not only stall votes, but also to educate Americans on the Constitution. As Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and his colleagues in the United States Senate did earlier this month, they are planning to do it again. Only this filibuster will not be about the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, it will be about the Second Amendment. Senators, Paul, Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Mike Lee (R-UT) are threatening to filibuster gun control legislation, according to a letter the presented to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office on Tuesday.
The letter reads:
Dear Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid,
We, the undersigned, intend to oppose any legislation that would oppose on the American people's constitutional right to bear arms, or on their ability to exercise this right without being subjected to government surveillance.
The Second Amendment to the Constitution protects citizens' right to self-defense. It speaks to history's lesson that government cannot be in all places at all times, and history's warning about the oppression of a government that tries.
We will oppose the motion to proceed to any legislation that will serve as a vehicle for any additional gun restrictions.
In a statement by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, he said, "To tell the families of those who lost their children to gun violence, that votes like this might be filibustered, I don't think that would be welcome news."
Senator Cruz showed concern about a national gun registry in a statement explaining his move. "The Democrats' proposed legislation would require universal background checks for private sales between law-abiding citizens, which according to DOJ would be effective only if accompanied by a national gun registry," he said. "This raises serious constitutional issues, and would divert resources from prosecuting felons and fugitives who try to illegally purchase guns."
"Rather than restricting the rights of law-abiding Americans," Cruz said, "we should be focusing on violent criminals. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has not made it a priority to stop violent criminals from acquiring firearms; for example, in 2010, out of more than 15,700 fugitives and felons who tried to illegally purchase a firearm, the Obama Justice Department prosecuted only 44."
"I am prepared to use any procedural means necessary to ensure that Congress does not pass any laws infringing on the Second Amendment, and look forward to working alongside Sens. Lee and Paul, and hopefully others, to protect our constitutional rights," he concluded.
Reid plans to bring up a gun-control measure that focuses on broadening background checks and cracking down on interstate gun-trafficking after the current Senate recess.
Conservatives are concerned that once that bill reaches the floor, amendments could stiffen restrictions on gun control.
Moreover, they understand that Reid intends to allow liberal amendments that would limit clip capacity and ban certain assault weapons to be offered — even though they would be defeated — to give Democrats a chance to vote on them. For moderate Democrats in competitive states, that amounts to an opportunity to vote no and show allegiance to gun rights.
Though they don't use the word "filibuster" in the letter, the conservatives are leaving no doubt that they would filibuster on an initial procedural question — the motion to proceed.
Senator Lee's communications director Brian Phillips told the Washington Examiner, "Bills that potentially violate Americans' constitutional rights should at least pass with a bipartisan majority and not be imposed by the majority alone. That's why we have these rules in the Senate."
Clearly these guys are separating themselves from the spineless old guard of the GOP and people are noticing.
— Inez Feltscher (@InezFeltscher) March 26, 2013
— Blacklibertarian (@LibertyToday219) March 26, 2013
Heck, I even like the idea so much, I think it could be monthly!
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I actually wish @senrandpaul would do a monthly filibuster to just educate the American public and elected officials on the Constitution!
— Tim Brown (@FPPTim) March 26, 2013