How is Energy Different from Guns?

Like most liberal Democrats, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a strong proponent of gun control. It’s odd then, to read that she’s amenable to scheduling a House vote on legislation to reform D.C’s strict and unconstitutional gun ban:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she personally opposes a bill loosening the District of Columbia’s gun laws, but that does not mean she will block it from coming to the floor.“I want to see the particulars,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday. “Then we’ll see what comes to the floor or doesn’t come to the floor…”The bill, to be numbered H.R. 6691, would repeal the district’s ban on semi-automatic pistols, the requirement that handguns be registered, and allow District residents from traveling to Virginia or Maryland to buy guns. The District currently forbids importing guns, and there are no registered gun dealers with shops in Washington.

It’s good to see that Ms. Pelosi remembers her pre-election promise not to hold up votes on legislation with popular support just because she’d lose. But if she’s willing to lose a vote on a relatively narrow issue like guns in the District of Columbia, why is she still refusing to schedule a vote on drilling?

“It could be that in the bigger picture of things, as things go together it may be that it has a place,” Pelosi said in an end-of-session roundtable with reporters. “Whether it’s for coal, for natural gas or whether it’s for nuclear. … If it fits into the bigger picture, it may have a place.”And, asked if she could envision a scenario where there could be a vote on new offshore drilling, she said, “Of course.”But shortly thereafter, Pelosi’s office issued a written “clarification” stating that Pelosi was not changing her position.“She has no plans to bring to the floor a bill to allow drilling in protected areas,” spokesman Drew Hammill said in the statement. “The Speaker was referring to the issue of expanding supply. Drilling, no doubt, will be part of the mix in transitioning to a more fuel-efficient global economy.”

What’s the difference between guns and energy? Simple. The Democrats still remember the electoral bloodbath they suffered in 1994, in which their pro-gun control views were a primary reason they lost more than 50 seats. In the case of energy however, the public hasn’t punished them — yet — for their obstinate and irrational devotion to liberal orthodoxy. Give it time, though. If Pelosi refuses to schedule a drilling vote in this Congress, she may get another memorable lesson in November.