Coburn Embraces Gun-Clinging Tea Partiers

Flickr/<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/senate_democrats/">Senate Democrats</a> (Creative Commons)

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At “question time” last week, President Obama called for an end to reckless and bitter partisanship. Rejecting this idea, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) will attach a set of gun rights amendments to must-pass appropriations bills to make Democrats who oppose such measures appear out of step with the public, Roll Call reports. But it’s unclear whether these amendments will achieve their desired effect.

An October Gallup poll, for example, found that only 12 percent of respondents favor making gun laws less strict, compared with 44 percent who support stricter regulations. And even Republican propaganda guru Frank Luntz says that the gun-rights culture war has been blown out of proportion. Luntz and Democratic Mayor of Milwaukee Tom Barrett wrote in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last month that even some of the most fervent gun rights advocates support stricter safety laws. Dennis Henigan, vice president of the Brady Center, explains the political odd couple’s argument for the Huffington Post:

For example, 69% of self-described NRA members, and 86% of gun owners who do not belong to the NRA, support closing the “gun show loophole,” by extending Brady Law background checks to private sales at gun shows. As Luntz and Barrett say, “the poll also found support among NRA members and other gun owners for numerous other policies to strengthen safety, security and law enforcement,” including blocking gun sales to persons on the terrorist watch list, requiring gun owners to report lost and stolen guns, and providing more crime gun data to local police

So more than a ploy to make Democrats take unpopular positions on guns, Coburn’s bills are another sign of the growing Tea Party takeover of the GOP. “Patriot” groups like the Three Percenters and the American Resistance Movement are petrified that Obama plans to nix the second amendment and take their guns away. And Coburn intends to cater to these groups to impair Democratic priorities amidst a massive deficit, mounting unemployment rate, and continuing recession.

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