Senate Democrats Block Hunting Bill

Per the Wall Street Journal, a bill to expand hunting and shooting permissions on federal land is being held up in the Senate:

WASHINGTON—Senate Democrats split Monday night on a procedural vote to consider a hunting and recreation bill introduced by one of the chamber’s most vulnerable Democrats of this election cycle, reflecting a divide among Democrats over gun-control policy.

Currently, eleven Democrats and one Republican (Tom Coburn) have elected to block the measure.

They can do what they like, of course. If they don’t want to pass the bill, they don’t have to. But the reasoning is a little odd. This bill doesn’t really relate to “gun-control policy”; it relates to federal land policy. As the Journal confirms, the bill “includes provisions designed to expand access to hunting and fishing on public lands and enable states to use a greater proportion of federal funding to build and maintain public shooting ranges.” It doesn’t do anything to address the availability of firearms, it just expands where they may be used for practice and hunting.

In particular, the two senators from Connecticut are unhappy with the Senate’s choice to focus on this rather than on restricting the right to keep and bear arms. “If the United States Senate is going to spend a week debating about gun policy,” Senator Chris Murphy suggested, “then we should be talking about getting rid of illegal guns.” His colleague, Senator Blumenthal, took a similar tone:

“I am unable to go back to Connecticut and tell those people who ask me about what we are doing to stop gun violence in America, is that what we’ve done is make it easier for Americans to shoot at targets.”

Considering the recreational shooting bill “is a stark reminder of the Congress’ misplaced priorities and unfulfilled obligations,” he said.

Overall, this is something of a non-sequitur, and one that is destined to go nowhere. It should be perfectly clear by now that Republicans are not going to consent to new gun-control measures. If their doing so is the price of Democratic support for this bill, it’s dead on arrival.

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