2004: The Last Time the NRA Lost a Vote in Congress

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 18 2012 1:09 PM

2004: The Last Time the NRA Lost a Vote in Congress

In my story today, I recall that the NRA hasn't watched a gun control bill pass in either chamber of Congress since 1999, when a 51-50 vote moved a gun control loophole-closing bill out of the Senate. Jim Kessler, senior vice president of policy at the centrist group Third Way, emails to remind me of a more recent loss.

On March 3, 2004, the NRA brought its bill to grant the gun industry immunity from lawsuits to the Senate floor. The bill had more than 55 cosponsors and was certain to get the 60 needed to pass. At our old gun group, Americans for Gun Safety, we succeeded in allowing senators to offer 2 amendments. The first, to close the gun show loophole, passed 53-46. The second, to renew the assault weapons ban, passed 52-47. The NRA was so stunned that these amendments passed that they sent messages via blackberry to Senators on the floor to renounce support for the immunity bill. The bill failed 8 to 90.
The NRA doesn’t lose often, but they do lose. And it was glorious.

And it sort of sunk into a memory hole, but it remains relevant. I've been asking various senators and members of Congress whether they'd be open to any new gun legislation, of any kind. "I voted for [the assault weapons ban] in 2004," said Sen. Susan Collins. I asked whether that meant she'd vote for a new law. "I already answered that question," she said.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics



Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
Oct. 21 2014 1:12 PM The Global Millionaires Club Is Booming and Losing Its Exclusivity
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger's New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 1:47 PM The Best Way to Fry an Egg
Oct. 21 2014 10:43 AM Social Networking Didn’t Start at Harvard It really began at a girls’ reform school.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.