GOP filibuster of gun bill losing steam but passage far from certain

There are still a dozen Republican Senators willing to filibuster Harry Reid's motion to bring the gun bill to the floor of the Senate.

But is that enough to block it? Even the GOP dozen are now "recalibrating their message," says National Journal:

The effort to filibuster consideration of the legislation has been led by the conservative flank of the Senate Republican conference, spearheaded by Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas.

The group appeared to be recalibrating its message on Tuesday. Lee said the effort wasn't about blocking the bill, but simply slowing down the process.

"By objecting to the motion to proceed, we guarantee that the Senate and the American people have at least three additional days to assess and evaluate exactly how this particular bill will affect the rights of law-abiding citizens and whether it will have any significant impact on crime," Lee said in a statement. "The president again is trying to rush legislation through Congress because he knows that as Americans begin to find out what is in the bill, they will oppose it."

Nearly two dozen Republican Senators came out against a filibuster in the last 48 hours, which probably means this round is over. New Senate rules have put roadblocks in front of those who wish to delay Senate proceedings so that the stalling tactics of Rand Paul et. al. will only put off debate for a few days.

However, this doesn't mean that a Senate bill with strict background checks is inevitable. None of those Republicans saying they will vote to proceed with debate have also said they will support the measure. There is also the possibility that the filibuster will make a comeback prior to the actual vote. And there are still several red state Democrats who are up for re-election in 2014 who may defect.

We'll have to see what kind of compromise on background checks is being worked out between West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin and Republican Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. They are working on compromise language that would allow for expanded background checks at gun shows, but not for transactions betwen family members. There would also be language to prevent the government from setting up a national gun registry, but for the bitter enders, it is doubtful that any language will placate their concerns.

Reid doesn't have the votes for passage yet. But Obama is putting pressure on him for an up or down vote which probably means that by late next week, the president will get his wish.