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”: 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 has covered politics for more than 10 years, including 7 years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Follow Ryan on Twitter @cn2Alessi. Ryan can be reached at 502-792-1135 or


  • Bruce Layne wrote on February 26, 2013 06:15 PM :

    What Senator McConnell should have said is that “assault weapon” is a completely invented term that is designed to emotionally prejudice people in favor of an unconstitutional disarming of the American people.

    The horrific mass shootings are a tiny fraction of the deaths that occur in the US each year. Many more people are murdered with hammers than rifles, of which the so-called “assault weapons” are a subset. Shouldn’t we be discussing a ban on “assault hammers” or “assault tools”? Automobiles result in over 40,000 deaths a year in the US. Why aren’t we talking about “reasonable limits” on automobiles? Nobody needs a car that can reach speeds in excess of 150 MPH, and the automobile isn’t specifically protected by our Bill of Rights.

    Disarmament is a political agenda. It empowers big government. It’s unthinkable to the big government advocates proposing unconstitutional bans on firearms, but historically, the result of empowering big government and disarming citizens is democide – the deliberate killing of citizens by their own government. 6 million Jews were killed by their Nazi government, but Stalin quietly killed as many citizens of the USSR, many of whom were deliberately starved to death as a form of genocide. Both of these atrocities pale compared to the 60 million Chinese citizens killed by Mao. 170 to 220 million people were killed by their own governments in the 19th century, depending on where we draw the line between war and democide. THAT’S the real issue behind this gun control disarmament debate, but nobody seems to want to discuss that aspect.

    Armed people are citizens. Disarmed people are subjects.

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