Sen. Tom Coburn Could Be Biggest Obstacle to Gun Control Changes
If there's one person most likely to keep new gun-control measures from passing Congress swiftly, it's Sen. Tom Coburn.
Conservatives revere the Oklahoma Republican for his fiscal hawkishness and regular reports on government waste. But he's also a staunch gun-rights advocate, and he's shown a willingness to obstruct even popular legislation, something in the Senate that a single member can easily accomplish.
That mixture could make Coburn the biggest threat to quick passage of new gun-control laws in the aftermath of the Newtown, Conn., shooting that has prompted even pro-gun NRA-member lawmakers like Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to endorse a new look at how access to the most powerful weapons can be limited.
Coburn's office did not respond to multiple requests to discuss the current push for gun legislation. But given his record, it's hard to imagine Coburn agreeing to a major, new proposal without some fuss.
The last time Congress considered a major gun law -- one with broad support -- Coburn held it up, proving that the details of gun control are sticky when a conservative senator raises unpopular objections, especially a senator who's joked that it's too bad he can't carry a gun on the Senate floor. More