John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article yesterday about the four items related to guns that were voted down in the Senate yesterday. The four items were an overreaction to what happened in Orlando, but the votes and the suggested laws bear looking into.
The article reports:
Senator Chuck Grassley proposed legislation that would have increased funding for the NICS background check system, and would have pressed states to send more records to the FBI on felons and others barred from buying guns. It also revamped language that prohibits some people with mental health problems from buying guns. Grassley’s bill had majority support, 53-47, but wasn’t passed because the Democrats filibustered it.
Senator John Cornyn offered legislation to keep firearms out of the hands of suspected terrorists. His bill would let the government block a sale to a known or suspected terrorist, and prosecutors would then have three days to convince a judge that the would-be buyer was likely a terrorist. This seems like a sensible compromise, and it too had majority support, 53-47, but again the Democrats filibustered and blocked the bill from taking effect.
The Democrats likewise offered two proposals, both of which enjoyed less support. Dianne Feinstein proposed legislation that would bar gun sales to people on any federal terrorism watch list–a list that has included Ted Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, and many random, innocent citizens–without providing any way for people to get themselves taken off the list. I think it is safe to say that this proposal was sheer political grandstanding. It went down to a 47-53 defeat. It is shameful that so many Democrats voted for it.
Chris Murphy’s bill would have required the current, inadequate list of people who can’t buy guns to be applied to even more sales, including sales between friends or relatives. That, too, was defeated 47-53.
Frankly, I am glad to see all of these laws defeated, although the defeat of all of them shows the depth of the political divide currently in America. The first bill listed actually makes sense, but I object to the other three. The problem with Senator John Cornyn’s legislation is that it would set up a nightmare system of paperwork that would quickly be abused. The right political connections and a good lawyer can fairly easily get you removed from the terrorist watch list.
The problem with this entire discussion is that the terrorists are not bound by any laws. Terrorism tends to morph–it can change according to circumstances and can easily do things outside the law–Paris has very strict gun laws–that didn’t stop the terrorists–it just made their attack easier. Criminals don’t pay attention to gun laws–Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws and America and also one of the highest gun murder rates–so does Washington, D.C.
The bottom line here is that we are so politically polarized right now that we cannot even cross party lines to commit common sense. Unless this changes, our country is in serious trouble.