The U.S. Senate, which struggles mightily with topics such as health care, education, and balanced budgets, had no troubles Tuesday amending a credit card bill of all things with a measure to allow concealed weapons to be toted about national parks and wildlife refuges.
On an easy vote of 67-29 the senators tacked on the amendment, sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, to a bill concerning how many fees credit card companies can charge you. If opponents to concealed carry in national parks are right, the senators might not have realized what they were doing.
"Senator Coburn’s amendment to the Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights Act of 2009 would allow individuals to openly carry rifles, shotguns, and semi-automatic weapons in national parks if the firearm is in compliance with State law," the National Parks Conservation Association, Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, Association of National Park Rangers, and the U.S. Park Rangers Lodge, Fraternal Order of Police, said in a letter sent to the Senate prior to the vote.
"As a result, individuals could attend ranger-led hikes and campfire programs with their rifles at Yellowstone National Park, Shenandoah National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, and other national park treasures across the country."
In passing the amendment, it perhaps could be said that the senators viewed themselves as being above the law. Earlier this year a federal judge blocked a somewhat similar gun regulation from remaining in effect, saying the Interior Department had failed to conduct the obligatory National Environmental Policy Act reviews before approving the regulation. The irony, of course, is that Congress passed NEPA, and now the Senate is thumbing its collective nose at it.
The measure has a way to go before it can become law. The credit-card legislation needs to pass the Senate and gain approval in the House of Representatives, and then President Obama must sign it into law.
Here's how the senators voted on the amendment:
Sessions (R) Yes; Shelby (R) Yes.
Begich (D) Yes; Murkowski (R) Yes.
Kyl (R) Yes; McCain (R) Yes.
Lincoln (D) Yes; Pryor (D) Yes.
Boxer (D) No; Feinstein (D) No.
Bennet (D) Yes; Udall (D) Yes.
Dodd (D) No; Lieberman (I) No.
Carper (D) No; Kaufman (D) No.
Martinez (R) Yes; Nelson (D) Yes.
Chambliss (R) Yes; Isakson (R) Yes.
Akaka (D) No; Inouye (D) No.
Crapo (R) Yes; Risch (R) Yes.
Burris (D) No; Durbin (D) No.
Bayh (D) Yes; Lugar (R) Yes.
Grassley (R) Yes; Harkin (D) No.
Brownback (R) Yes; Roberts (R) Yes.
Bunning (R) Yes; McConnell (R) Yes.
Landrieu (D) Yes; Vitter (R) Yes.
Collins (R) Yes; Snowe (R) Yes.
Cardin (D) No; Mikulski (D) Not Voting.
Kennedy (D) Not Voting; Kerry (D) No.
Levin (D) No; Stabenow (D) No.
Klobuchar (D) Yes.
Cochran (R) Yes; Wicker (R) Yes.
Bond (R) Yes; McCaskill (D) No.
Baucus (D) Yes; Tester (D) Yes.
Johanns (R) Yes; Nelson (D) Yes.
Ensign (R) Yes; Reid (D) Yes.
Gregg (R) Yes; Shaheen (D) Yes.
Lautenberg (D) No; Menendez (D) No.
Bingaman (D) No; Udall (D) No.
Gillibrand (D) No; Schumer (D) No.
Burr (R) Yes; Hagan (D) Yes.
Conrad (D) Yes; Dorgan (D) Yes.
Brown (D) No; Voinovich (R) Yes.
Coburn (R) Yes; Inhofe (R) Yes.
Merkley (D) Yes; Wyden (D) Yes.
Casey (D) Yes; Specter (D) Yes.
Reed (D) No; Whitehouse (D) No.
DeMint (R) Yes; Graham (R) Yes.
Johnson (D) No; Thune (R) Yes.
Alexander (R) No; Corker (R) Yes.
Cornyn (R) Yes; Hutchison (R) Yes.
Bennett (R) Yes; Hatch (R) Yes.
Leahy (D) Yes; Sanders (I) Yes.
Warner (D) Yes; Webb (D) Yes.
Cantwell (D) No; Murray (D) No.
Byrd (D) Yes; Rockefeller (D) Not Voting.
Feingold (D) Yes; Kohl (D) Yes.
Barrasso (R) Yes; Enzi (R) Yes.