Make It Stop
THESE SIX SENATORS ARE KEY
With Republicans in the majority in Congress, gun control advocates are playing defense. They’re trying to beat back one bill that would deregulate silencers and another that would allow concealed carry permits to be transferred from state to state. That means a permit obtained in a state with weak gun laws would be valid in a state with stronger restrictions.
Advocates have the best shot at defeating the legislation in the Senate, where Democrats can make use of the filibuster. Below is a list of six key senators — four Democrats and two Republicans — who have voted with the gun lobby in the past and are up for re-election next year. Some can be prodded to change their positions and others should be pushed out of office.
Manchin co-authored bipartisan legislation to expand background checks for gun sales in the wake of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., suggesting he’s open to gun control measures. But the measure failed in 2013. And earlier this year, he voted for a repeal of an Obama administration regulation that prevented some mentally impaired people from buying firearms.
Heitkamp was one of a handful of Democrats to vote against the expanded background check legislation after Sandy Hook. She was also one of 13 Democrats who voted for the 2013 version of the concealed carry reciprocity bill, making her a key figure in the renewed fight over the issue.
Heller was endorsed by the National Rifle Association in his last election. But polls show he could have real trouble winning re-election. And the Las Vegas shooting, in his home state, will ratchet up the pressure to shift his position on guns.
Flake is a staunch opponent of gun control. But he’s struggling mightily these days — feuding with President Trump and increasingly vulnerable to Democratic challenge in a state with a growing Latino population. With Las Vegas just over the border, the savage imagery from the killings is making a deep impression on Arizona voters.
Donnelly enjoys a 93 percent rating from the NRA. He opposes an assault weapons ban and was one of only four Democrats who earlier this year voted to overturn the Obama-era rule preventing some mentally impaired individuals from buying firearms. According to a Washington Post analysis, he has received more money from the NRA than any other member of Congress from his state.
Tester voted for the 2013 version of the concealed carry bill. But this spring, the National Rifle Association targeted him for voting against the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch, whom the organization called “a highly-qualified, pro-Second Amendment” nominee for the Supreme Court.