This is an oddball post if I’ve ever seen one. Before final passage of the bill, Harry Reid managed to slip into Obamacare protection for gun owners that prevents the government from collecting any information relating to “lawful ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition“. This was added, according to CNN, as a “relatively benign way to make sure the National Rifle Association didn’t get involved with this.”
But CNN also points out that Harry Reid was singing a different tune back in 2010 as he was trying to court 2nd amendment voters in his state for his upcoming reelection – even inviting NRA’s Wayne LaPierre to speak at a gun range in his state. And true to form after the Aurora, Colorado movie theater massacre 2012, Reid wasn’t interested in the slightest about changing gun laws, saying “with the schedule that we have, we’re not going to get into a debate on gun control.” This was after he had won his 2010 reelection, of course, but in the midst of a heated presidential race.
So how does Reid explain his change of opinion on gun control now? According to his staff his opinion on gun control is evolving: “The Senate majority leader’s views on gun control are changing. He’s in a different place than he was in 2010.”
Yeah, right. Watch the full report below:
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When President Obama signed national health care reform into law, few in Washington knew that buried in the legislation’s more than 900 pages was a gift to the nation’s powerful gun lobby. But here it is, a provision entitled Protection of Second Amendment Rights.
It states the government and health insurers cannot collect any information relating to the lawful ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition. The provision was such a secret, “The Washington Post” reports that some people in the White House didn’t even know it existed, despite being in the president’s signature legislation.
Health care advocate Joan Alker did notice it and has a hunch where it came from.
(on camera): And so how do you think this got in there?
JOAN ALKER, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: I don’t know, but I’m assuming the NRA put it in at the last minute.
ACOSTA (voice-over): So who put it in there? It might surprise you to learn it was this man, the most powerful Democrat in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. But why? A Democratic source close to the passage of the health care law tells CNN: “This is what was viewed as a relatively benign way to make sure the National Rifle Association didn’t get involved with this.”
Reid has been a top advocate of gun rights for years. In fact, just days after the health care law was signed, Reid invited Wayne LaPierre, a top official at the NRA, to the opening of this Nevada weapons range.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: People who criticize this probably would criticize baseball.
ACOSTA: LaPierre’s visit was a big boost for Reid, who was courting gun owners in his very pro-Second Amendment state of Nevada in a tough battle for reelection.
WAYNE LAPIERRE, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: I also want to thank you, Senator, for your support every day at the federal level for the Second Amendment and for the rights of American gun owners.
ACOSTA: Both Reid and the NRA declined to talk to CNN on camera, but Democratic sources on Capitol Hill say the NRA was not the only threat to the president’s health care bill. Lawmakers were also worried about conspiracy theories circulating among gun enthusiasts that falsely accused the Obama administration of plotting to use the health care law to go after gun owners.
One group, the Gun Owners of America, insists it could still happen.
LARRY PRATT, GUN OWNERS OF AMERICA: It says that all of our medical records are available to be pawed through by bureaucrats somewhere in Washington looking for a reason to disenfranchise gun owners.
ACOSTA: As for Reid, his staff told us today: “The Senate majority leader’s views on gun control are changing. He’s in a different place than he was in 2010,” says an adviser. Consider how Reid answered the question after the July movie theater massacre in Colorado.
REID: With the schedule that we have, we’re not going to get into a debate on gun control.
ACOSTA: And how he responded after the killings in Newtown.
REID: We need to accept the reality that we’re not doing enough to protect our citizens.