Mayor Mike is coming for your guns, but not even this administration -- and this Congress -- is naive enough to play along. Bloomberg appealed to Congress this week to address what is oddly being called the "terror gap," but which supporters of Second Amendment rights better describe as "secret government lists." The question is this: Should U.S. citizens on terror watch lists be allowed to purchase firearms? The answer from Congress is yes (though the Huffington Post and the New York Times would have you believe it's just Republicans obstructing Bloomberg's "common sense" proposal).
There are as many as one million names on the government's various no-fly lists and terror watch lists. (The list has even included such notables as the late Massachusetts Senator Teddy Kennedy.) But the government is only very good at keeping lists of people that owe it money. For any number of reasons it seems completely incapable of maintaining an effective list of possible terrorists. But for Americans concerned about their right to keep and bear arms, of whom there are many, this issue is a non-starter. The government has never been allowed to maintain a list of firearms purchases for fear that such a list might ultimately be used to seize those weapons (the government must destroy all background checks after 24 hours under current law). Gun owners don't trust the government to keep lists, and they certainly don't trust the government to keep a secret list of people who can't buy firearms.
Naturally, the NRA is stoking opposition to legislation (S. 1317) that would implement such a ban -- and they're having some success. Harry Reid is counting on NRA support in a tough reelection fight in Nevada. There's a better chance of Obama making a new push for offshore drilling this year than there is of Harry Reid taking up gun control legislation on behalf of Mayor Mike.
And in any case, the only clamor for this legislation is from gun control groups who haven't had a serious legislative victory in over a decade. Just a few weeks ago, Nancy Pelosi was prepared to move legislation granting D.C. a vote in the House on the condition that nearly every gun control measure in the District be repealed. The D.C. City Council balked at the last minute and the Democrats pulled the bill. Last week Senators McCain and Tester introduced the same bill in the Senate -- and they'll likely attach it to the financial reform bill, and any other bill that comes down the pike after that.
Democrats didn't have the stomach to fight on this issue when they were at the peak of their power last spring (when Attorney General Eric Holder threatened to push a new assault weapons ban last year, 65 House Dems signed a letter informing him that no such measure would be considered -- 65!). They certainly aren't going to take on the gun owners of America six months out from the midterm elections.