Thune’s gun measure falls short

THUNE’S GUN MEASURE FALLS SHORT…. Following up on this morning’s item, the Thune amendment on carrying concealed firearms across state lines needed 60 votes to be attached to the military’s budget bill. Despite strong NRA backing, the measure came up just short.

In a narrow defeat for gun rights groups like the National Rifle Association, today the United States Senate voted against a proposal that would have allowed certain gun owners to bring concealed weapons across state lines.

The Senate’s 58 to 39 vote fell just short of the 60 votes needed to tack on the contentious amendment to a massive defense policy bill…. The amendment would have let people with concealed weapons permits carry their guns into other states as long as they followed that state’s laws about where concealed weapons are permissible.

The AP report noted, “The vote reversed recent trends where Republicans and gun rights Democrats from rural states joined to push pro-gun rights issues and block gun control legislation.” That’s true; the NRA hasn’t lost many of these votes, and by all indications, the group and its allies were fairly optimistic about today’s outcome.

Looking over the roll call, this was hardly a party-line vote. The 58 senators in the majority included 20 Democrats. What’s more, two Republicans — Dick Lugar of Indiana and George Voinovich of Ohio — broke ranks and voted with most Democrats.

The Hill added that while this was a rare setback for the NRA, the vote was also a big win for mayors: “One less-noticed aspect of Wednesday’s vote: The influence of a little-known coalition of U.S. mayors who worked hard against the amendment. Mayors Against Illegal Guns, co-chaired by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, lobbied senators far more intensely than other recent gun votes in the Senate. Lindsay Ellenbogen, a spokesman for Bloomberg, said the group ‘got out there and got our voice heard.'”

It’s unlikely to matter, but perhaps a vote like this might help the Republican caucus to think about the utility of mandating 60-vote supermajorities on nearly every issue of interest? I doubt it — the caucus is already gearing up for health care filibusters.