It looks like gun control efforts in the U.S. Senate are effectively dead for the time being, after the Senate voted down seven gun-related proposals during a contentious session full of hyperbole, exaggerations and outright lies on Wednesday. More emotional speechifying was presented on Thursday as the final two amendments were debated: an amendment to restrict federal funds from states that do not safeguard gun owner information and an amendment to enhance mental health and suicide prevention services. Both of these amendments were adopted, but no vote has been taken or scheduled on the underlying bill, S.649, and, since the provisions of that bill are more restrictive than the amendments already rejected by senators, it is not expected that it could pass.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., can call for a vote on S.649 at his discretion, and he has a narrow window for demanding reconsideration of the background check amendment introduced by Sens. Manchin, D-W.V., and Toomey, R-Pa., which failed Wednesday. Senate rules say that anyone who voted on the prevailing side of a question can make a motion to reconsider the question within two days of the original vote. Reid made it a point to vote against the Manchin-Toomey amendment even though he had previously expressed his support for it. The only reason Reid would vote against the bill is to preserve his option to call for reconsideration. The fact that the amendment failed by six votes (including Reid’s) means that he would have to shift five other senators’ positions to change the outcome. While that seems very unlikely, gun owners have been burned by such tactics in the past, and most political observers remember the tricky maneuvering employed in passage of Obama’s health-care bill, so we are taking nothing for granted. The Firearms Coalition is urging our members and readers to continue putting pressure on senators – thanking those who voted against gun control and urging them to continue to stand fast, and urging those who voted wrong on Wednesday to do their best to make amends by voting against any future attempts to revive the gun control efforts. A full breakdown of the day’s important votes is posted at www.FirearmsCoalition.org.
In the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, there has been little sign of support for gun control. Speaker John Boehner said today that they are looking for ways to reduce criminal violence and to reduce the chances of something like the Sandy Hook massacre from happening again, but he was careful to avoid using hot-button terms like “gun violence” or offering any suggestion that restricting firearms is part of his party’s agenda for reducing violence and preventing atrocities.
Meanwhile, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (whose very name is a lie) is using the terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon as fodder for fundraising and pushing their anti-gun agenda. In an email fundraising appeal/call to action on Tuesday, Brady President Dan Gross made the illogical leap that it is the availability of dangerous tools that causes violence. In the appeal Gross offered condolences to the victims and families of the Boston bombing and then said:
“Regardless of whether casualties are caused by knives, guns or bombs, Americans have had enough. We can no longer be a nation that makes it easy for terrorists, criminals and other dangerous people to get their hands on the deadly tools that enable mass murder.”
He followed this backwards “logic” by calling for people to contact senators and “Tell them you reject violence in all forms, and urge their support for expanded background checks as an important next step to make our nation safer.”
Rejecting violence is all well and good, and I strongly support Mr. Gross and his followers’ right to do so, but not at the expense of my right to defend my family and community.
A demented video-game addict murders his mother, steals her guns and goes to “run up a score” at a local elementary school. A wacked-out college student seriously injures a dozen classmates with by slashing them with an X-ACTO knife. Terrorists use gunpowder, or fertilizer, or bat poop in pressure cookers full of screws, nails and ball bearings to kill and injure runners and spectators at the Boston Marathon. … and Dan Gross and the Brady Bunch say that the answer to such demented violence is to restrict, investigate and track tens of millions of non-criminal, non-violent Americans who choose to exercise their constitutional right and civic responsibility to keep and bear arms.
Evil, violent, demented people are going to do evil, violent, demented things regardless of how constrained and helpless we make the rest of society. There is no evidence that any gun control law has ever even reduced criminal violence, much less prevented maniacal attacks. As a matter of fact, there is strong indication that disarming citizens creates inviting, safe-working environments for these monsters. And the thing that is almost never discussed is the billions of dollars that go into enforcing these ineffective gun control measures – billions of dollars that could be being spent on better mental health programs, proven violence prevention programs and keeping serious threats contained in prisons and hospitals.
The irrational threats of the hoplophobes have been blocked for the moment, but they are not giving up on their misguided dreams. They will continue to press for new restrictions, and you can be sure they are making their preparations, getting their media campaigns and legislative proposals in line to be ready to launch another full-scale attack on our rights the next time tragedy strikes. Therefore we must remain vigilant, and start planning for the 2014 elections. This week’s votes were much too close for comfort, so we need to begin focusing our energy on establishing a truly Brady-proof Congress.