Senate Republicans are looking at the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act as another chance to score a victory for the Second Amendment. The possible plan — to add an amendment that would allow gun owners to carry their weapons from one state to another in accordance with concealed carry laws. The possible rationale — to defend gay rights.There is enough political maneuvering that the Hate Crimes Bill may not be voted on independently. (It may be added as an amendment to the Defense Authorization for 2009 - by the same people who had a fit over the National Park Carry amendment to the Credit Card bill. I guess inside-the-beltway DC hacks don't get irony.)
“It makes sense for a group of people who would be protected by hate crime legislation to support something that would let them defend themselves before or after the crime,” said one Republican Senate aid familiar with the discussions. “It’s relevant, and we want to work together with gay groups to get the message out.”
Anyway, IF the hate crimes bill is voted on separately, and the National Carry Reciprocity amendment is added it should provide some great theater. Democrats voting for a Second Amendment Bill. Republicans voting for a Gay Hate Crime Bill. Just the possibility has to be driving Sarah Brady to drink. And Fred Phelps too.
A stand-alone version of National Carry Reciprocity could also be voted on. Write to your Senators and urge them to support S. 845. Urge Democrats to co-sponsor, since only a Democrat from Alaska is currently on board.
Whatever happens it promises to be interesting.