Gun Control Bills Fracture Both GOP and Dems

By Justin Torres | July 7, 2008 | 8:24 PM EDT

(CNS) – Today's debate on a series of gun control measures is expected to reveal fault lines in both the GOP and the Democrats, as competing versions of the bill are brought to the House floor.

Yesterday, the House leadership decided to split the massive Juvenile Justice Crime Bill – which includes several stringent gun control proposals – into separate bills dealing, respectively, with media and cultural violence and gun control legislation.

A bill by one prominent Democrat, Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) enjoys the support of several leading Democrats as well as the National Rifle Association.

That bill requires background checks for gun buyers at gun shows, but is less restrictive than either the GOP proposal backed by both House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Judiciary Chairman Henry Hyde, or the bill supported by the Democratic leadership and sponsored by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY).

At least 60 Democrats are expected to buck their party's leadership and vote for the Dingell bill.

Disarray reigns on the GOP side of the aisle as well, with moderates like Hyde and Hastert – who both support some mild gun control measures – lining up against House Majority Whip Tom Delay and House Minority Leader Dick Armey, both of whom oppose all gun control measures.

Republicans have also attempted, with little success, to shift the focus of the debate from gun legislation to Hollywood violence, accusing Democrats of pandering to Hollywood elites that back their party with money and support.

"I'm not up here defending the NRA, but I am up here to tell you I'm tired of hearing about this one-way street" of portraying Republicans as being held hostage to gun lobby special interest groups, said Rep. Scott McInnis (R-CO).

However, some Republicans have criticized the cultural sections of the Juvenile Crime Bill, suggesting that it violates the First Amendment and Republican principles of free enterprise and little government interference of private ventures.