Reps. Hastings and Smith Share a Gun Rights Victory

By Chris Kissel May 20, 2009

Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA, 4) got some good news yesterday when the Senate passed a bill to increase regulations on credit card companies. His small victory didn't have anything to do with credit cards, though—the legislation included a last-minute amendment from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) to allow visitors to carry concealed weapons into national parks, a proposal Hastings has been pushing for months.

A Democrat from our delegation also shared in the good news--Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA, 9). Smith, who represents the Tacoma suburbs, is one of our delegations's stronger supporters of gun rights.  He co-sponsored Hastings' original guns-in-national parks measure. (Interesting fact: According to, Smith's "B" ranking from the NRA makes him the NRA's favorite Democrat from our delegation. Reps. Jim McDermott (D-WA,7), Norm Dicks (D-WA,6) and Jay Inslee (D-WA,1) all scored F's.)

Smith's office couldn't be reached for comment this afternoon. Hastings' office, on the other hand, provided a transcript of Hastings' floor speech this morning.

"Democrat Leaders have spent the past five months using every legislative trick in the book to obstruct a fair and open process," said Hastings. "Democrat Leaders have finally cried uncle and decided to hold a debate and a vote. I applaud their capitulation."



Hastings, the ranking Republican on the House natural resources subcommittee, proposed a measure to allow firearms in all national parks and wildlife refuges earlier this year, a week after a U.S. District Judge threw out an identical Bush Administration rule, citing wildlife concerns.

This week, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) successfully attached the amendment based on Hastings' proposal to the credit card legislation. (Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) both voted against the proposal--making them part of a slight minority among the Senate Democrats.)

President Obama, who has supported the credit card legislation, is expected to sign the bill despite the gun amendment.
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