Straight talk: The McCain record on guns

Updated
Sen. John McCain, (R-AZ).
Sen. John McCain, (R-AZ).
Cliff Owen/AP Photo

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) probably didn’t win himself many friends in the fight against gun violence this week when he told the mother of a mass shooting victim that she need some “straight talk” about firearms legislation in Washington. “That assault weapons ban will not pass the Congress of the United States,” he told Caren Teves, whose son, Alex, was killed in the mass shooting last year at a movie theater in Aurora, CO.

There is at least one figure in the gun control movement, however, who’s still willing to stand up for the McCain record on guns. While conceding that victims of gun violence and their loved ones have “a right to demand not just talk but a little bit of action, Mark Glaze, director of Bloomberg-backed “Mayors Against Illegal Guns,” also defended Arizona’s increasingly cantankerous senior Senator:

“I want to be fair to Senator McCain. The fact is the last time a controversial gun bill passed in the Senate, it was a McCain measure to close the gun show loophole. We need much more now and the Senator has actually said good things about expanding the background check system.”


True enough, in 2004, the Senate voted 53 to 46 in favor of an amendment to close the gun show loophole. (The legislation to which it was attached never passed Congress.) What Glaze forgot, however, was that McCain also took a vote that same year against re-authorizing the 1994 assault weapons ban. As he made it clear to town-hall attendants this week - and at other times - McCain does not believe in banning the kinds of semi-automatic assault weapons that have been used in mass shootings.

You can watch the rest of Martin’s conversation with Mark Glaze and Professor James Peterson of Lehigh University right here:

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Straight talk: The McCain record on guns

Updated