Booze Cruise Helps Politicians Craft Gun Laws

By McCarton Ackerman 04/12/13

Illinois Senators forge bipartisan agreements aboard an alcohol-drenched yacht.

45m Bilgin Yacht Tatiana - Exterior desinged by Joachim Kinder-680.jpg
Partisanship overboard! Photo via

Where better to determine the future of gun laws than.... on a booze cruise? Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk told reporters that Democrat and Republican lawmakers who were open to compromise often met for alcohol-filled parties on the Black Tie, a boat partially owned by Sen. Joe Manchin, a democratic from West Virginia. "Sometimes alcoholic beverages might be served and ties might ... get loosened," said Kirk. "The Black Tie... has been much of the reason for much of the bipartisan cooperation around here." The booze-fueled efforts for bipartisanship seem to have paid off; yesterday, Kirk broke with most of his party on gun-control legislation, joining a scant 16 Republicans to derail a GOP vote-blocking effort for a bill proposing to expand background checks for weapon buyers at gun shows. The bill would also increase background checks for Internet sales and make it harder for gun traffickers to operate. The scene of the compromise is a 2001 540 Sea Ray Sundancer, featuring two bedrooms, a wet bar, a washer and dryer, an entertainment center and a 600-gallon gas tank. "We can get 10 or more senators and have a good time. We go out on the Potomac. You build relationships," said Manchin. "Just beer, pizza, whatever, just have a good time. But it was a way to break the ice. Cheapest thing you can do is feed people."

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.