Thursday, 11 April 2013 19:01

Sen. Landrieu in Louisiana political crossfire on gun control vote

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landrieu-blueCould the fate of Mary Landrieu ‘s vote on gun control legislation shoot down her chances of remaining the senior Senator from Louisiana?



Some powerful Louisiana Republicans are hoping it will do just that.   One Republican leader has tried to put her into a proverbial political box or a "no win-situation".

Now, based upon her vote today and the vote of 16 Republican and all but two Democratic  Senators,  Landrieu will obtain the opportunity to vote on an deeply-held emotional issue that could seal her fate, one way or another.

Landrieu voted aye to bring the gun control legislation to a Senate floor vote.

How she casts her ultimate aye or nay when the merits of the legislation is squarely presented to the nation could have a major impact upon her popularity in the state among likely voters as much as the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare did when that legislation put her in the national spotlight that caused her popularity in this state to sharply plumet.  

Already, the political public relations push is on for her to take sides.
On Thursday morning, Roger Villlere authored a Louisiana GOP email that cast Landrieu as dangerously undecided and vague on the gun control issues but also casting her as somewhat of a “born again” 2nd Amendment advocate due to elections.

Villere said in the LAGOP email,



“Landrieu’s refusal to come clean with her constituents leaves voters no choice but to turn to her record for answers. A quick look at Landrieu’s voting pattern explains why she refuses to be forthright with voters “back home” which reveals a history of hostility towards the Second Amendment and law abiding citizens who exercise their Constitutional right to own firearms. ….

Throughout her nearly two decades in Washington, Landrieu has repeatedly supported harsh new gun laws, including expanded background checks and assault weapon bans.

 Now, facing a very difficult re-election in 2014, she seems to be experiencing a miraculous "election year conversion" on the second amendment and hoping that Louisianans just won't notice.

 Sen. Landrieu can run, but she can't hide, from her real record.

 Mary Landrieu on the assault weapons ban:


In 1996, Landrieu Said She Opposed Repealing The Assault Weapons Ban.  (Bill McMahon, “Hopefuls Differ On Gun Issue,” The [Baton Rouge, LA] Advocate, 9/1/96)


Landrieu Has Been “Non-Committal” On Whether She Would Support An Assault Weapons Ban. “Landrieu -- who voted against renewing the initial version of the assault weapons ban when it expired in 2004 after a decade as law -- has been non-committal. She said she supported ‘common-sense reforms’ and that she would carefully review proposals before the Senate.” (John Whitesides, “In Louisiana, A Conservative Backlash Against Gun Control,” Reuters, 3/6/13)

Mary Landrieu on background checks:


In March 2004, Landrieu Voted For An Amendment That Would Have Required Background Checks On All Firearm Transactions At Gun Shows. (S. 1805, CQ Vote #25: Adopted 53-46: R 8-43; D 44-3; I 1-0, 3/2/04, Landrieu Voted Yea)

In 1999, Landrieu Voted For An Amendment That Would Have Required Background Checks At Gun Shows, And Directed The Attorney General To Hold Background Files Collected On Gun Owners For 90 Days. (S. 254, CQ Vote #134: Adopted, with Vice President Gore casting a ‘yea’ vote 50-50: R 6-49; D 44-1, 5/20/99, Landrieu Voted Yea)

In 1998, Landrieu Voted Against An Amendment That Would Have Prohibited The Use Of Any Taxes Or Fees To Pay For The Background Checks Required Under The Brady Bill. (S. 2260, CQ Vote #217: Adopted 69-31: R 55-0; D 14-31, 7/21/98, Landrieu Voted Nay)

In 1996, Landrieu Said She Opposed Repealing The Background Check And Waiting Period Requirements Of The Brady Law. (Bill McMahon, “Hopefuls Differ On Gun Issue,” The [Baton Rouge, LA] Advocate, 9/1/96)


Landrieu Has Not Taken A Position On Universal Background Checks, And Her Spokesman Said “She Looks Forward To Working With Law Enforcement Officials, Who Want To See Additional Precautions Taken To Keep Weapons And Handguns Out Of The Hands Of Criminals.”  (Greg Sargent, “Three Red State Dems Flirt With Instant Political Self Destruction,” The Washington Post’s Plum Line Blog, 3/25/13)

Will Mary Landrieu’s habits of supporting strict gun laws on law abiding Louisianans continue? Or will she put the Pelican State before President Obama’s agenda?




The obvious essence of Villere’s blast is cast her as a “Obama supporter” should she back the gun control legislation and to paint her as a political opportunist should she go along with the Republican majority and the likes of the NRA.

However, the an arm of the Louisiana Democratic Party, Louisiana Progress has also gotten into the crossfire and sent out an email on Thursday that could be interpreted as trying to give Landrieu some cover. The email said:

   “Later today, the senate will take-up a comprehensive gun bill that seeks to expand the background check system, enhance penalties for gun trafficking, and invest in school safety. The action will represent the first Congressional debate about firearm safety since the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

This comes just one day after a bipartisan agreement to require background checks for gun sales at gun shows and online websites, the same way guns are purchased in licensed gun shops.

Louisianans strongly favor common-sense gun-violence prevention measures and polls show that 85 percent of residents “want every gun buyer to pass a criminal background check.”

Background checks will not prevent every gun crime, but they can keep hundreds of thousands of people who shouldn’t have guns from obtaining them.

For instance:

62 percent of private gun sellers on the Internet and 63 percent of private sellers at gun shows have agreed to sell a firearm to buyers who said they probably couldn’t pass a background check.

Will you call Senator Landrieu at 202-224-5824 and tell her to keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn't have them?

Ryan West




The obviously combustible issue comes on the heels of another political email, this one sent Wednesday’s from Landrieu’s campaign committee stating  that she did better this quarter than her only opponent so far, Baton Rouge Republican Congressman, Bill Cassidy.

The campaign email said, in part,


“U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today announced that she will report raising $1.2 million during the first quarter of this year, which ended March 31, to put her in a very strong position as the 2014 cycle begins. This brings the Senator’s cash on hand to $3.46 million, almost twice as much as she had at this point in her last reelection cycle. Polls show Sen. Landrieu leading all potential challengers.

In addition, this war chest is being built with the help of two prominent leaders, including Joe Canizaro and Boysie Bollinger.

"Any challenger to Sen. Landrieu will have a hard time building support as more and more prominent business leaders back her. People know that at the end of the day, Mary always fights for our state. For me and many Louisianians, that's more important than anything,” Boysie Bollinger said.


No question, this campaign which now appears to be a Landrieu-Cassidy shootout could depend upon Louisiana voters' anger over the healthcare law vote, their views as to whether her gun-control vote is acceptable, their views of her record and whether the Senator can peel off major Republican supporters such as Bollinger and Cannizarro as campaign trophies.

While the GOP’s Roger Villere wants to cast Landrieu as a liberal and loyal Obama foot-soldier, Landrieu’s strategy in claiming she has bipartisan support for her “get things done for Louisiana” could provide her campaign enough political ammunition to enable her to maintain that senatorial seniority.




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