WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, wants more than news conferences from fellow Democrats pushing gun control legislation.
“I think people should have the opportunity to vote if they know what they’re voting on,” Begich said in an interview with the Daily News-Miner in Alaska. “I might be one of those that at the end of the day that doesn’t vote for cloture, because anyone can talk about amendments, but we haven’t seen one of them yet.”
Cloture is the term used for a vote to end debate on a measure and thereby allows a measure to proceed to a vote. The Senate requires 60 votes in order to proceed with the gun control debate on Thursday.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would join a group of Senate Republicans threatening a filibuster to oppose a cloture vote if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid moves the gun bill to the floor Thursday. McConnell joins a group of 13 senators who have already vowed to block any gun legislation.
Sen. Begich said he is weary of such political talk and is considering joining the filibuster.
“There’s no bill, no amendment,” he told the News-Miner. “I’ve seen this played before. Until I see it in detail … I’m waiting to see what that looks like.”
Begich said that President Obama called him this past Tuesday to speak on a series of issues, including the push for gun control.
“Obviously this was what he was calling about,” Begich told the News-Miner. “We had a robust discussion and I reminded him of the current law and asked why are we not enforcing that.” Begich noted that anyone who is selling at gun shows is required to have a license from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which requires a background check by law.
Begich said he explained the ATF license requirement to President Obama, and its related background check. “I said ‘Mr. President, you could go in gun shows … these people who are selling guns without licenses are doing it illegally.’”
“I also said that if we are going to put some law forward and five years from now we haven’t resourced it properly, we’re selling a bill of goods to the Sandy Hook family and it’s unfair to the gun community.”