The Thune Amendment, which would have allowed people with concealed carry permits to carry weapons across state lines, even to places with strict gun control laws, was narrowly defeated in the Senate. But the effects of the vote may be long lasting,
The Thune Amendment, offered by Senator John Thune, was defeated by a margin of 58 Senators for and 39 Senators against. Because 60 votes are required to pass a bill without a filibuster stopping it in the Senate, the Thune Amendment was not passed.
According to the Washington Post, the vote exposed deep divisions in the Democratic Party between traditional liberals and newly elected Senators from nominally Republican states who support the rights of gun owners.
“In a 58-39 vote, supporters of the looser gun law — including all but two Republicans and almost 20 moderate Democrats — fell two votes short of the 60 they needed under Senate rules to approve the measure. The amendment, sponsored by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), showed the bitter divisions among a Democratic caucus that now holds 60 seats, many of whom got to the Senate by winning in conservative states as they proudly supported gun rights. It also divided the party’s leadership, as Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), campaigning for re-election in 2010, sided with gun rights supporters. His top lieutenants, Sens. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), led the push against the measure.”
The debate showed a curious role reversal among Senators, with liberals, such as Senator Barbara Boxer, championing states rights and gun rights supporters champion the individual right to keep and bear arms. States rights, usually the right to restrict the freedom of people to do things, such as to carry weapons, marry their own sex, or some other thing, is often a flexible argument, depending on the issue and the ideology of the person making it.
Senate Charles Schumer made the most specious argument against the Thune Amendment, painting the picture of New York gang members scurrying to Vermont, which has loose gun laws, to get weapons to take back to New York to commit murder and mayhem. Senator James Webb, another Democrat, pointed out that gang members already have enough fire arms to commit their felonies. “The people who need this bill are the ones that the gang members might be threatening,” said Senator Webb.
Ironically the defeat of the Thune Amendment may rebound against Democrats running for reelection in 2010, even those who support the rights of gun owners. The National Rifle Association is very powerful and gun ownership is a jealously guarded right in the United States.
Source: Democrats Defeat Concealed Weapons Amendment, Paul Kane, Washington Post, July 22nd, 2009