McConnell says his default position on guns is to reject weapons bans

02/25/2013 03:08 PM

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, won’t say whether he would support an assault weapons ban under any circumstances, adding that he starts as a “strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment.”

Instead, McConnell told Pure Politics after the Nelson County Lincoln Day Dinner earlier this month that he wants to wait to see what comes out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is taking up the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 on Wednesday.

McConnell said some version of this in response to multiple questions about whether he would support outlawing semi-automatic assault weapons and high-capacity magazines under any circumstances:

A liberal group, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, has bought $200,000 “worth of ad time”: http://mycn2.com/politics/group-doubles-down-on-ad-challenging-mcconnell-on-his-position-against-assault-weapons-ban to run commercials in Kentucky and Washington, D.C., criticizing McConnell for his stance on guns.

A review of McConnell’s voting record shows he has opposed most measures containing assault weapons bans over his career.

In 1993, he did vote for the full Senate’s version of a crime bill that included an assault weapons ban. That passed the Senate 94-4, but McConnell voted against the amendment to allow the ban. He said on an Aug. 15, 1994, edition of the former CNN show “Crossfire” that he strongly opposed the final version of that crime bill that emerged from a Senate and House conference committee in the summer of 1994.

“Well, the Senate passed a bill 94 to 4 last November that had the assault weapon ban in it. This conference bill is a monstrosity. It has managed to do what I thought was impossible. The Kentucky Fraternal Order of Police this weekend came out against this crime bill,” he said on the show.

And after questioning from journalist Michael Kinsley on that program, he said:

“If they want to bring up the assault ban separately, I think it will pass, not with my vote, but I think it will pass.”

McConnell also voted against an omnibus crime bill in 1990 containing an assault weapons ban that narrowly passed the Senate 50-49.

Also among those voting “no” were current Majority Leader Harry Reid. The other Senators who are currently serving and voted “no” were Democrat Max Baucus of Montana and Republicans John McCain of Arizona, Orin Hatch of Utah, Richard Shelby of Alabama and Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Dan Coats of Indiana, who has since left the Senate and returned.

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He is now pursuing an advanced degree in non-fiction writing from Murray State University and is a regular contributor to Pure Politics. Ryan has covered politics for more than 14 years, including seven years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ryan can be reached at purepolitics@twcable.com or @mycn2 on Twitter.

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