“That’s what has brought this momentum,” said Rep. Jim Costa, a California Democrat and self-described centrist who said his support for further gun control measures “really depends on what’s in the package.”
The package being prepared by Thompson and the House Democrats’ gun task force eventually will have to merge or compete with other efforts. Under the supervision of Vice President Joe Biden, President Barack Obama has established his own gun control task force, which Obama says will provide recommendations “no later than January.” California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein is circulating draft legislation in the Senate that focuses on reviving an assault weapon ban. Feinstein says she will introduce her bill on the first day of the new Congress.
“There is no more uphill fight than this,” Feinstein said in a news conference Friday, cautioning that “it may take a year, it may take two, it may take three.”
Although Democrats control the Senate, the institution’s rules make it easy for individual senators to block or detour legislation. In the House, moreover, Republicans control the committees and the floor, through which any legislation must pass.
“Unless they get buy-in from the Republican leaders, it won’t go anywhere,” Costa said of the House Democratic efforts.
The incoming chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Virginia Republican Robert Goodlatte, earned an “A” rating from the NRA Political Victory Fund in 2010 and a 92 percent rating from the gun group for his positions this year.