By Justin Sink - 05/09/13 12:22 PM EDT
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) on Thursday blasted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) as a "failure" and said the Democratic leader broke his promise to allow him an amendment on last month's gun control bill.
“Harry Reid is a nice guy. I like him. But I think he has been a failure as a majority leader for the Senate in terms of keeping the history of the Senate and the progress of the Senate in line with what it was intended to be by our founders," Coburn said.
The Oklahoma Republican was appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" to explain why he had attempted to attach an amendment to a water resources and infrastructure bill that would have allowed gun owners to carry firearms into recreational areas.
"He has been dishonest with me, not truthful, not kept his word," Coburn continued. "He’s played games, you know? We’ve done our own damage to that in response to it. So what we have is people pointing fingers at each other.”
In a statement issued Thursday morning, Reid said he was "disappointed" with Coburn's public remarks.
“If he wishes to raise concerns with me I would have hoped he would talk to me directly," Reid said. "He and every other Senator knows my door is always open. Sadly, Senator Coburn's lack of discourse is perhaps an example that too many are more interested in media attention than they are in working to find consensus to fix our nation's problems.”
Coburn's amendment to the water and infrastructure bill would have allowed states to decide whether visitors to areas controlled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — including many of the nation's campsites and trails — would be allowed to carry weapons. The amendment failed Wednesday in a 56-43 vote, four short of the 60 necessary to proceed.
Coburn argued that the restriction on carrying a firearm in those areas led to more violence.
"The fact is, violence has decreased; safety is up; and the only place you can't do that is Corps land," the Oklahoma lawmaker said. "Corps land has more visitors, more rapes, more murders ... than we ever had in the parks, but we can't for some reason — for some reason they don't want us to be able to express our Second Amendment right."
In 2010, President Obama signed a bill allowing visitors to national parks and wildlife refuges to carry loaded firearms.
Coburn pledged that he would keep fighting for the amendment and predicted he would eventually prevail.
"What I'll do is, I'll publicize every rape and every murder that goes on in Corps land, and every murder, and say these wouldn't have happened, or a good number wouldn't have happened if we passed this amendment, so we'll get there," Coburn said.
This story was updated at 11:57 a.m.