Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced recently that he won’t seek re-election in 2016. The decision signals the end of a 30-year career in the U.S. Senate—and opens the door for U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) to become minority leader. Reid had a B rating by the NRA, indicating a pro-gun-rights lifetime voting record. In fact, in his re-election campaign in 2010, Reid got National Rifle Association leader Wayne LaPierre to speak about Reid’s support for gun rights.
“He is a true champion of the Second Amendment back in Washington, D.C.,” LaPierre said of Reid at a dedication for a new shooting range in 2010.
Reid was first elected to the House in 1982 and to the Senate in 1986. He became Senate Democrat leader in 2005 and served one of the longest tenures as floor leader in Senate history. Speculation is that Reid is retiring because he now has to live in the minority for at least two years and then face re-election in 2016.
According to a Wall Street Journal article, Reid has endorsed Schumer as his successor, saying he hoped the endorsement would prevent a fight to succeed him.
Charles Ellis “Chuck” Schumer, born November 23, 1950, has attacked the National Rifle Association as a “fringe group.” In 2010, NRA gave Schumer an F grade during his re-election campaign. In 2010, he cruised to a 66%–33% margin of victory. Schumer was re-elected in 2004 by a margin of 71%–24%.
While serving in the House of Representatives, Schumer authored the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. The Assault Weapons Ban, which banned semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, and handguns possessing certain features, expired in September 2004 despite attempts by Schumer to get it extended. He was one of 16 senators to vote against the Vitter Amendment, which prohibited the confiscation of legally owned firearms during a disaster.
As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, Schumer defended the Clinton administration’s handling of the Waco siege hearings in 1995.