Don’t Always Judge A Book By Its Cover

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN-9) represents the Memphis area in Congress. His Congressional district is majority African-American and is considered one of the safest Democratic seats in the country. A win in the Democratic primary is tantamount to winning the election.

Cohen is also extremely liberal. According to the website,, his lifetime score is 95.84% which puts him ahead of such liberal icons as Nancy Pelosi and the Queen Bee of Gun Control, Carolyn McCarthy. It is hard to find anyone more liberal than Cohen and he tends to wear his politics on his sleeve. Indeed, Cohen caused a stir back in January when he said “Republicans are like Nazis” when discussing healthcare.

Unsurprisingly, Cohen is listed as one of the co-sponsors for Rep. Carolyn McCarthy’s HR 308 which seeks to ban standard capacity magazines and eliminates the grandfathering that the Clinton-era AWB had.

So you can imagine my surprise when I was checking the co-sponsors of HR 822 – the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Bill – and saw his name listed as becoming a co-sponsor this week.

I don’t know how and I don’t why he decided to become a co-sponsor but I certainly welcome his support. It may have something to do with his comments after the Tucson shooting when he said he was planning to apply for his Tennessee CCW permit. According to the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, Cohen did vote for right to carry legislation as a State Senator and has said he owns a pistol. I might even suggest he contact Tom Givens at RangeMaster for his CCW permit training.

The upshot of all of this is that sometimes strange and unusual coalitions can form around gun rights legislation. It is a mistake to think that all Democrats and all liberals are for each and every gun control measure put forth. Sometimes they are and and sometimes they aren’t.

As to HR 822, it now has 197 co-sponsors including 26 more so far this week. The leading gun control measure, HR 308, is stuck at 107.

107 – 105 (Updated)

No, that isn’t a NBA basketball score. And it certainly was not the score in the UConn vs. Butler game for the National Championship.

Actually that is the number of co-sponsors that HR 822 – National Right-To-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011 – has versus those for HR 308 – Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act of 2011. We have finally overtaken the number of co-sponsors for Rep. Carolyn McCarthy’s bill. While they are close to topping out, there are still a good number of pro-gun Congressmen who have not signed up as co-sponsors.

The seven Congressmen who put it in the lead are:

Rep Denham, Jeff [CA-19] – 4/4/2011
Rep Ryan, Tim [OH-17] – 4/4/2011
Rep Camp, Dave [MI-4] – 4/4/2011
Rep Lucas, Frank D. [OK-3] – 4/4/2011
Rep McKinley, David B. [WV-1] – 4/4/2011
Rep Shuster, Bill [PA-9] – 4/4/2011
Rep Reed, Tom [NY-29] – 4/4/2011

The new co-sponsors include six Republicans and one Democrat. Representatives Camp and Lucas are also part of the Republican leadership as chairmen of major committees (Ways and Means Comm. and Agriculture Comm.)

UPDATE: It should now read 116 to 105 as another nine Representatives have joined the co-sponsors’ list. I am especially pleased to see Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC-2) on the list as she has a concealed carry permit and didn’t hide the fact during the 2010 campaign – or after Gabby Giffords was shot.

Rep Thompson, Glenn [PA-5] – 4/5/2011
Rep Guinta, Frank C. [NH-1] – 4/5/2011
Rep Brooks, Mo [AL-5] – 4/5/2011
Rep Ellmers, Renee L. [NC-2] – 4/5/2011
Rep Conaway, K. Michael [TX-11] – 4/5/2011
Rep Flores, Bill [TX-17] – 4/5/2011
Rep Marchant, Kenny [TX-24] – 4/5/2011
Rep Murphy, Tim [PA-18] – 4/5/2011
Rep Brady, Kevin [TX-8] – 4/5/2011

McCarthy Crowing

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy is crowing about how her bill, HR 308, has now reached 100 co-sponsors. She includes numerous congratulatory accolades from gun prohibitionists in her press release. Normally, 100 co-sponsors of a gun control bill like hers would be of concern. However, given that the co-sponsors are all liberal, anti-gun Democrats and the House is now Republican majority, HR 308 is merely something to keep one’s eye on and not something that should cause great and immediate fear. While this bill make get a few more sponsors, I think it has come close to its high water mark.

By contrast, HR 822 – the National Right-To-Carry Reciprocity Bill – now has 83 co-sponsors in less than a month since its introduction. It probably would have more sponsors added this week if the House wasn’t on break this week for a “constituent work break”. If your representative is having an event in his or her district, that might be a good time to ask them to become a co-sponsor if they haven’t already. If they have signed up as a co-sponsor, make sure to thank them.

And now for some light reading courtesy of Rep. McCarthy.

Bill to Ban High-Capacity Ammo Magazines Reaches New Milestone
Wednesday March 23, 2011

H.R. 308 Now Has 100 Cosponsors in House, With More on the Way

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Carolyn McCarthy’s (D-NY04) bill to ban high-capacity ammunition magazines has reached a new milestone, with 100 cosponsors now supporting the proposal.

More cosponsors still are expected for H.R. 308, which aims to reduce injuries and save lives by banning the sale or transfer of magazines that allow shooters to fire more than 10 bullets at a time. In the recent mass shooting in Tucson as well as the 1993 massacre on the Long Island Railroad that affected Rep. McCarthy’s family, the shooters were stopped by bystanders only when they stopped to reload their high-capacity magazines.

The 100 cosponsors hail from every part of the country, and represent a broad coalition of Congress members representing urban, suburban and rural areas.

The rapid growth in support behind the bill – which was introduced on Jan. 18 – is the result of a two-pronged strategy being executed by Rep. McCarthy and a nationwide network of advocates.

On one level, Rep. McCarthy is going member-to-member on Capitol Hill making the case personally, reminding her colleagues of her unique perspective as a victim of gun violence herself. Her husband was killed, and son seriously injured, in the 1993 LIRR shooting.
On another level, groups like the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, States United to Prevent Gun Violence, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, the Violence Policy Center, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence and the Citizens Crime Commission of NYC are working tirelessly with local partners across the country to speak to members of Congress and their constituents directly in their districts.

“The broad and steadily growing coalition of cosponsors for the bill to ban high-capacity magazines is a clear sign that millions of Americans support commonsense measures to address gun violence,” Rep. McCarthy said. “Together with strengthening our background check system so that people known to be dangerous can’t get their hands on deadly weapons in the first place, this proposal is sure to reduce injuries and save lives in our nation.”

Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence President Paul Helmke said: “We applaud this new milestone and are encouraged that Congress is waking up to the fact that sensible gun laws save lives. More members of Congress are beginning to understand that restrictions on military-style weaponry are necessary to help prevent mass shootings. We are encouraged by the support of these 100 co-sponsors and are determined to fight for the passage of this proven and effective law to reduce gun violence.”

States United to Prevent Gun Violence Executive Director Andy Pelosi said: “We applaud Rep. McCarthy’s leadership and the growing Congressional support on this issue to re-establish the ban on high capacity ammunition magazines. No private citizen should have access to such high-power lethality. Our state-based gun violence prevention organizations have found wide support for this ban which will save lives.”

Violence Policy Center Legislative Director Kristen Rand said: “Increasing support in Congress for restricting high-capacity magazines demonstrates the public’s recognition that these devices have no legitimate purpose in a civilized society.”

Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Executive Director Josh Horwitz said: “Representative McCarthy has shown yet again that she is a tenacious advocate. Reaching the 100 cosponsor mark in such a short amount of time is a reminder that Congress will have to consider this legislation sooner rather than later. Our Coalition has worked tirelessly to develop cosponsors and it is rewarding to see so many Members respond.”

New Yorkers Against Gun Violence Executive Director Jackie Hilly said: “A ban on large capacity ammunition magazines is a sensible step to reduce gun violence and is supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans. I thank each of the 100 cosponsors of H.R. 308 for listening to the demands of their constituents. The leadership shown by these Members of Congress, particularly Representative Carolyn McCarthy, will help save lives.”

Citizens Crime Commission of NYC and formerBrady Campaign President Richard Aborn said: “The fight for commonsense gun control has never been an easy one, but we’re halfway there with Congresswoman McCarthy’s outstanding leadership on H.R. 308. The issue is simple: this isn’t about Democrats or Republicans, it’s about protecting law enforcement and keeping the public safe. Congress needs to understand that cops should not be outgunned by criminals; it’s not fair.”

Michael Bane made a comment a week or so ago that we as Americans tend to accord victims a special status. McCarthy always wants to play on that status by never failing to mention the murder of her husband on the Long Island Railroad in 1993 by a deranged individual.

Like McCarthy, I was widowed in 1993. My wife died from breast cancer at the age of 42. Neither event was supposed to happen but they did. As harsh as it may sound, life goes on and we need to deal with it. To expect – and even demand – continued sympathy from an event that happened over 17 years ago like McCarthy seems to want to do is sad. It is sad that McCarthy hasn’t really moved on with her life and sad because she is using the tragic death of her husband as a means of political gain.

Co-sponsor Wars – HR 308 v. HR 822

The two firearms-related bills before the current Congress that have the most co-sponsors are Carolyn McCarthy’s magazine ban bill, HR 308, and Cliff Stearns’ National Right-To-Carry Reciprocity bill, HR 822.

Currently, HR 308 has 97 co-sponsors and added four new co-sponsors last week.

Rep McNerney, Jerry [CA-11] – 3/10/2011
Rep Clarke, Yvette D. [NY-11] – 3/10/2011
Rep Hanabusa, Colleen W. [HI-1] – 3/10/2011
Rep Pastor, Ed [AZ-4] – 3/11/2011

By contrast, the number of co-sponsors for HR 822 stands at 66 which includes 23 co-sponsors added just last week. When I last reported on HR 822 last week, it had only 57 co-sponsors. Another nine were added on Thursday and Friday.

Rep Green, Gene [TX-29] – 3/10/2011
Rep Wittman, Robert J. [VA-1] – 3/10/2011
Rep Harris, Andy [MD-1] – 3/10/2011
Rep Jordan, Jim [OH-4] – 3/11/2011
Rep Costello, Jerry F. [IL-12] – 3/11/2011
Rep Fleming, John [LA-4] – 3/11/2011
Rep Ross, Dennis [FL-12] – 3/11/2011
Rep Rivera, David [FL-25] – 3/11/2011
Rep Bilirakis, Gus M. [FL-9] – 3/11/2011

The lists of co-sponsors are a study in contrasts. For example, every co-sponsor of HR 308 is a Democrat while HR 822 is a bi-partisan bill with 12 Democrats including the 3 NRA-endorsed Democrats in North Carolina as co-sponsors. Both lists of co-sponsors are also mutually exclusive – no co-sponsor of HR 308 is a co-sponsor of HR 822 and vice-versa.

Momentum seems to be with HR 822 as it is adding co-sponsors in double-digit amounts each week. It should continue to do so if we keep up the pressure on pro-gun Congressmen to sign on to this bill. There are almost 200 Republicans and the rest of the Blue Dog Democrats who could sign on as co-sponsors but haven’t as of Friday.

By contrast, after the initial flurry of co-sponsors to McCarthy’s bill in the immediate days after the Tucson shooting, its growth has slowed tremendously. With only 83 Democrats not committed one way or another and only a handful of Republicans that might sign on as a co-sponsor, I anticipate that HR 308 has or will soon hit its high watermark. And that is good news.

UPDATE:  On Monday, two more fellow travelers were added to HR 308. I imagine this might be due to Obama starting “a national conversation” on guns or something like that. This brings the total to 99. The two additions, John Larson and Xavier Becerra, are both Democrats. Larson is Chair of the House Democratic Caucus and Becerra is the Vice-Chair.

Rep Larson, John B. [CT-1] – 3/14/2011
Rep Becerra, Xavier [CA-31] – 3/14/2011

Also on Monday, four more co-sponsors signed on the HR 822, National Right-To-Carry Reciprocity. This brings that total to 70. As I have said earlier, start calling your representative if he or she isn’t a co-sponsor of HR 822 and ask why not.

Rep Latta, Robert E. [OH-5] – 3/14/2011
Rep Rogers, Mike J. [MI-8] – 3/14/2011
Rep Johnson, Sam [TX-3] – 3/14/2011
Rep Kinzinger, Adam [IL-11] – 3/14/2011

HR 308 – Updates For March

Another month and some more fellow travelers have signed on to Carolyn McCarthy’s HR 308 which would ban standard capacity magazines.

The newest co-sponsors who signed on yesterday are:

Rep Pallone, Frank, Jr. [NJ-6] – 3/1/2011
Rep Sanchez, Loretta [CA-47] – 3/1/2011
Rep Johnson, Henry C. “Hank,” Jr. [GA-4] – 3/1/2011

You may remember Rep. Hank Johnson as the Congressman who questioned whether redeploying more Marines to Guam would cause the island to tip over and capsize. How Adm. Robert Willard, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, kept a straight face in response is beyond me.

As to Rep. Loretta Sanchez, you may remember that in an interview on a Spanish-language radio station in fall 2010, she accused “the Vietnamese” of trying to steal her seat from Hispanics. She eventually apologized for that gaffe. In January, Sanchez attempted to get Gabby Giffords removed from the House Armed Services Committee while she was recovering from her wounds. As you can imagine, that didn’t go over too well.

I guess Carolyn McCarthy is not too picky about her bill’s supporters. As it is, not one Republican – not even Rep. Peter King (R-NY) – has signed on to her bill. No hearings have been scheduled on the bill which was referred to the House Judiciary Subcomittee on Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security on February 7th.

New HR 308 Co-Sponsors

HR 308, Carolyn McCarthy’s bill to ban standard capacity magazines and other loading devices, has 15 new co-sponsors which brings the total to 80. I still don’t see any Republicans as co-sponsors of this bill or of Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s companion bill, S. 32.

Last week, this bill was sent by the House Judiciary Committee to their Subcomittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security which is chaired by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) who is A-rated by the NRA on gun issues. Two-thirds of the Democrat minority of this subcommittee are listed as co-sponsors of HR 308.

The new co-sponsors are:

Rep Towns, Edolphus [NY-10] – 2/10/2011
Rep Engel, Eliot L. [NY-17] – 2/10/2011
Rep Crowley, Joseph [NY-7] – 2/10/2011
Rep Roybal-Allard, Lucille [CA-34] – 2/10/2011
Rep Capuano, Michael E. [MA-8] – 2/10/2011
Rep Napolitano, Grace F. [CA-38] – 2/10/2011
Rep Lee, Barbara [CA-9] – 2/10/2011
Rep Scott, Robert C. “Bobby” [VA-3] – 2/10/2011
Rep Tonko, Paul [NY-21] – 2/10/2011
Rep Payne, Donald M. [NJ-10] – 2/10/2011
Rep Olver, John W. [MA-1] – 2/10/2011
Rep Fattah, Chaka [PA-2] – 2/10/2011
Rep Sutton, Betty [OH-13] – 2/10/2011
Rep Tsongas, Niki [MA-5] – 2/10/2011
Rep Frank, Barney [MA-4] – 2/10/2011

UPDATE: Four more fellow travelers have been added to McCarthy’s list of co-sponsors.

Rep Price, David E. [NC-4] – 2/15/2011
Rep Fudge, Marcia L. [OH-11] – 2/15/2011
Rep Stark, Fortney Pete [CA-13] – 2/15/2011
Rep Garamendi, John [CA-10] – 2/15/2011

Lisa Price, the wife of Rep. David Price, is the co-founder and long-time head of North Carolinians Against Gun Violence. Rep. Price is also a co-sponsor of McCarthy’s “gun show loophole” bill.

One name missing from this list is Rep. Nancy Pelosi. I doubt she has changed her stripes but it is interesting nonetheless.

UPDATE II:  Another four Democrats have signed on to HR 308 as of yesterday.

Rep Johnson, Eddie Bernice [TX-30] – 2/17/2011
Rep Capps, Lois [CA-23] – 2/17/2011
Rep Richardson, Laura [CA-37] – 2/17/2011
Rep Cummings, Elijah E. [MD-7] – 2/17/2011

UPDATE III: You can add two more Democrats to the list of co-sponsors of HR 308.

Rep Schwartz, Allyson Y. [PA-13] – 2/18/2011
Rep Schiff, Adam B. [CA-29] – 2/18/2011

Schiff lists himself as a Blue Dog Democrat but this doesn’t look like what I’d expect a Blue Dog to do. Maybe he is really a Purple Dog just like Rep. Jane Harman who is also listed as Blue Dog. Harman was on the original list of co-sponsors of this bill.

Eight New Co-Sponsors For HR 308 (updated)

The following are the latest co-sponsors of Carolyn McCarthy’s HR 308 – the magazine ban bill.

Rep Gutierrez, Luis V. [IL-4] – 1/24/2011
Rep Sires, Albio [NJ-13] – 1/24/2011
Rep Carson, Andre [IN-7] – 1/24/2011
Rep Rangel, Charles B. [NY-15] – 1/24/2011
Rep Markey, Edward J. [MA-7] – 1/24/2011
Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51] – 1/24/2011

As far as I can tell, all the bill’s co-sponsors are Democrats. The other co-sponsors can be found in this post.

UPDATE:  Two more co-sponsors – both Democrats – were added to the list for HR 308 on Wednesday. They are:

Rep DeLauro, Rosa L. [CT-3] – 1/26/2011
Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-7] – 1/26/2011