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A gun rights vote only the GOP base can appreciate

David Hawkings, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in News & Features

Roskam, Lance and Costello all won their current terms with the NRA's endorsement after earning 93 percent approval ratings from the group in the previous Congress. The others had much lower scores.

Both Democrats in competitive races who voted for the bill, Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota and Ron Kind of Wisconsin, have mixed records in the eyes of gun rights groups.

A similar measure -- without any concealed carry provisions attached to weigh it down -- has the sponsorship of 13 Democratic and a dozen Republican senators. But its author, Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, openly doubts that he can get the narrow bill passed now that senators supportive of the NRA have the opportunity to push instead for the two-pronged House measure.

The House's concealed carry bill has already bubbled up in at least one Senate race. Both leading candidates for the GOP nomination in West Virginia, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Rep. Evan Jenkins, are touting their support for the bill in contrast to the position of the incumbent, Democrat Joe Manchin III, who has become a leading Democratic gun control advocate in the past five years after decades on the other side of the issue.

The House bill also tells the Justice Department to study -- but only study -- the criminal use of "bump stocks," the piece of equipment that transforms a semiautomatic weapon into a de facto machine gun. Such devices enabled a gunman in Las Vegas to kill 58 people and roughly 500 others at a concert in October. Legislation to outlaw bump stocks has been put on hold by GOP leaders while the Justice Department determines whether current laws allow the product to be pulled off the shelves because using them amounts to manufacturing a prohibited kind of gun.

 

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