A Tough Week Gets Worse

Meanwhile, in Congress, expanded background checks for gun ownership, supported by an overwhelming majority of even NRA members, are voted down. Gabby Giffords says this:

They looked at these most benign and practical of solutions, offered by moderates from each party, and then they looked over their shoulder at the powerful, shadowy gun lobby — and brought shame on themselves and our government itself by choosing to do nothing.

They will try to hide their decision behind grand talk, behind willfully false accounts of what the bill might have done — trust me, I know how politicians talk when they want to distract you — but their decision was based on a misplaced sense of self-interest. I say misplaced, because to preserve their dignity and their legacy, they should have heeded the voices of their constituents. They should have honored the legacy of the thousands of victims of gun violence and their families, who have begged for action, not because it would bring their loved ones back, but so that others might be spared their agony.

This defeat is only the latest chapter of what I’ve always known would be a long, hard haul. Our democracy’s history is littered with names we neither remember nor celebrate — people who stood in the way of progress while protecting the powerful. On Wednesday, a number of senators voted to join that list.

But it gets worse! After that, another bill came up:

The National Rifle Association-backed measure, brought by Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) as an amendment to gun legislation, would have made a concealed carry permit in one state valid in other states. In other words, if it passed, California would be forced to let someone carry a concealed weapon in public if they were permitted to do so, say, by the state of Kansas.

The bill failed as it was subject to a filibuster-proof 60 vote threshold, like all amendments. But thirteen Democrats joined all but one Republican (Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk) in voting for it. It received more votes than background check legislation, which would have modestly tightened the nation’s gun laws and managed to find 55 supporters.

James Heflin

Author: James Heflin

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