People were excited when it was decided after last week’s 15 hour filibuster to have a vote on some gun control measures, but realists knew there is a huge difference between the GOP allowing a vote and how the vote was going to go.
And it went pretty much as expected.
60 votes were needed to pass the amendments, and Democrats in the Senate do not cover that number. The NRA owned Republicans do, though.
The four amendments considered addressed background checks of prospective gun buyers and the sale of guns and explosives to people on terrorist watch lists.
But as even the dimmest wit could have predicted, the vote went along with the NRA’s wishes.
As the NRA executive director Chris Cox wrote,
“We all agree that terrorists should not be allowed to purchase or possess firearms. We should all agree that law-abiding Americans who are wrongly put on a secret government list should not be denied their constitutional right to due process. These are not mutually exclusive ideas. It is shocking that the safety of the American people is taking a backseat to political theatre.”
In a rare attendance count, all 100 senators voted for the first time this year.
Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, responded to the vote.
“Shame on every single senator who voted against these life-saving amendments and protected the rights of terrorists and other dangerous people to buy guns.”
One amendment would have blocked people on a terrorist watch list banned from flying while under investigation from buying a gun, and would have empowered the attorney general to prevent a gun purchase if there was “reasonable belief” the person could use the weapon for terrorism.
Republicans blocked a similar measure last year.
Another amendment would have allowed the attorney general to delay a gun purchase for up to 72 hours by a suspected terrorist or a person investigated for terrorism in the last five years, while a court order could also have been sought to prevent the sale.
Two other amendments meant to improve background checks for gun sales were similar to what was introduced after Sandy Hook, but which had failed.
When he held his filibuster last week, Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut had said,
“I know at a deep personal level what Orlando is going through. For all of the scarring, psychological harm that comes with losing a loved one or a neighbor, more harm is piled on when you find out that the people you elected to run your country just don’t care. It hurts something awful when you lose someone, but it gets worse when your leaders are silent, are totally silent in the face of your personal horror.”
And it is really bad when the deaths of children cannot get a certain party to consider doing what must be done to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to any other children.
The party that fights for the fetus turns its back on children after birth.
Senator Murphy’s amendment would have expanded the background check system, and mandated that sales at gun shows and over the internet be subject to closing the so-called “gun show loophole.” Also Federal agencies would have to certify that they submitted all records identifying individuals prohibited from buying a gun to the National Criminal Instant Background Check System and penalize states that failed to make data electronically available to the background check system.
But the amendment failed.
So we will have to wait and see where and when we have the next mass shooting, and whether the victims are worthy of action.
The trope that those who want better gun control are fighting to take away people’s Second Amendment rights appeals to people who do not check things out, as all they want is to make sure that guns that kill a lot of people at one time are not so easily accessible.
It’s almost as if the GOP wants people to be able to get guns and kill a bunch of people so they can condemn terrorists and claim that they, and only they, can effectively deal with the problem they allow.