During the Senate’s passing of their (congressional budget) Concurrent Resolution 8 on March 23, Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe successfully inserted Senate amendment 139 to “prevent the United States from entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.” (Text of bills can be retrieved from Library of Congress “Thomas” site.)
In a 53-49 vote, the Senate passed Inhofe’s amendment. The list of Yeas and Nays is what’s important going forward, and contains both good news and a warning.
Along with all 45 Republicans, 8 Democrat senators voted Yea:
- Mark Begich, Alaska
- Joe Donnelly, Indiana
- Kay Hagan, North Carolina
- Martin Heinrich, New Mexico
- Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota
- Joe Manchin, West Virginia
- Mark Pryor, Arkansas
- Jon Tester, Montana.
Now the bad news: Joe Manchin has been working with Senator Schumer on universal background checks. This is an important step towards federal registration, since Senator Schumer’s bill requires permanent retention of sales records. Senator Tom Coburn, the other Oklahoma senator, has also interacted with Schumer, and has stated that “enhanced” background checks are “the right thing to do.”
Montana Senator Max Baucus claims he’s against the Schumer bill, but Baucus voted against passing Inhofe’s UN Treaty ban.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also voted against Inhofe’s amendment, and is already promoting a gun control package that includes universal background checks. In 2010, Reid was graded “B” by the NRA, but now he’s acting like a Brady endorsee.
The last bit of good news is: If the other seven Democrats voting against the UN treaty hold true to the Second Amendment, none of the Reid/Schumer gun control bills will pass the Senate.
Now it’s your job to contact your senators, and keep this momentum going.