Coburn withdraws a water bill amendment requiring gun studies

Coburn said he withdrew the amendment — which would have required federal agencies to report annually on owned, purchased and lost guns and ammunition — as a show of goodwill since another of his gun amendments was going to get a vote.

The Senate is considering the Water Resources Development Act, which would authorize projects related to flood and storm risk reduction, coast and inland navigation, and ecosystem restoration.

Coburn’s other amendment also deals with gun rights. The amendment would allow individuals to carry guns at water resources development projects administered by the Army Corp of Engineers. His will be the first amendment voted on for the water infrastructure bill. That vote is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

Coburn said the Corp of Engineers projects are the most visited of any federal agencies’ sites. He said his amendment would simply make the Corp recognize states’ conceal-and-carry gun laws, which is the case in national parks and forests.

“Why should we not have the same policy everywhere,” Coburn said. “Why would we do something different for the Corps’ land? … It’s common sense to have a consistent law on all federal lands.”

Coburn said the number of rapes and other crimes in national parks were reduced once guns were allowed.

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who introduced S. 601 with ranking member David Vitter (R-La.), said she’d oppose Coburn’s amendment because it was “unnecessary.”

Boxer argued that guns are already allowed on Army Corp property as long as they are for hunting, fishing or recreational use. She also said she hoped all other amendments to her bill would be germane.

"This is not a gun bill," Boxer said. "I beg my colleagues, whatever side you’re on, we cannot turn this into a gun bill."

Coburn’s amendment will be held to a 60-vote threshold in order to pass. 

The Senate is expected to continue work on the bipartisan water bill through the week.

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