universal background checks

Shame on You, Johnny Isakson

Johnny Isakson

It hasn’t been a good few weeks for me if I wanted to be proud of my senators.  First, we had Saxby Chambliss use a ridiculous argument against same-sex marriage, and now we have Johnny Isakson’s opposition to a filibuster on gun control legislation.

Isakson’s office is reportedly saying he opposes the legislation, and that may be true, but he sees no problem with it passing.

You see, the United States Senate is in the hands of the Democrats.  They want this to become law.  That means it’s likely to pass the Senate.  Isakson isn’t a complete moron.  He knows this.  He knows that in a vote, the bill passes.

He should also know that he swore and oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States”, and on that he’s falling down on the job.

The problem stems from the misguided idea that universal background checks would do anything to curb violence in this country.

Folks, gang bangers, drug cartels, and other violent groups aren’t exactly deterred by laws. They’re criminals. By definiton, they skirt the law.  A universal background check will put more of a burden on the law abiding citizen who would like to purchase a gun from a buddy.

Isakson should know this.  I suspect he does know this.  However, instead of supporting an effort that is both legal and ethical as a way to block this, he’s arguing that members of his own party should sit down, shut up, and do nothing as they watch this nation go further down the tubes.

Biden: Proposed Gun Control Regulations Only the Beginning

During a conference call organized by the anti-gun group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Vice President Joe Biden said that the proposed gun laws in the United States Senate, which includes universal background checks, are just the beginning of the White House’s push for tighter gun control measures:

Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday the expected upcoming Senate votes on gun control are only the beginning of the White House’s fight.

The fate of gun control legislation is unclear. A vote on a Senate bill, including expanded background checks and harsher penalties for gun trafficking, is expected next month.

The White House also has been pushing for limits on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, but those provisions won’t be part of the Senate bill. Instead they are to be offered as amendments, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says they don’t have enough support to pass.

“That doesn’t mean this is the end of the process. This is the beginning of the process,” Biden said during a conference call organized by Mayors Against Illegal Guns pushing for the gun control measures.

Hillary Clinton to gun owners: “I don’t believe” in the Second Amendment

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton’s contempt for the Second Amendment was on full display yesterday. In a speech to the National Council for Behavioral Health, the likely 2016 Democratic presidential frontrunner expressed her dismay that “anyone” can own a gun (emphasis added):

“We have to rein in what has become [an] almost article of faith, that anybody can own a gun anywhere, anytime. And I don’t believe that,” she said, as applause drowned her out.

Clinton, who argued it was possible to hold her position and still support the right to gun ownership, warned that unfettered access to guns could have dangerous consequences. She called the country’s approach to guns “way out of balance,” and referred to cases in which gun violence has erupted over minor issues.

She painted a dark picture, warning that, “At the rate we’re going, we’re going to have so many people with guns everywhere, fully licensed, fully validated, in settings where [one] could be in a movie theater, and they don’t like someone chewing gum loudly or talking on their cell phone and decide they have the perfect right to defend themselves against the gum chewer or cell phone user by shooting.”
The proliferation of guns combined with few restrictions on where they can be carried can “give someone the means to respond in the moment in a way that he wouldn’t if a few minutes passed and there was no means to inflict harm … We really have got to get our arms around this,” she said.

Gun rights group sues Colorado government over new anti-gun laws

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners

The fight over Colorado’s new gun control laws didn’t end with the recent recall of two anti-gun state senators. Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO), a Colorado-based organization associated with the National Association for Gun Rights, has filed a lawsuit against the new gun control laws.

The new laws, which were passed by the Colorado legislature in March and signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO), took effect on July 1. They include a ban on high-capacity magazine and universal background checks.

The suit filed by RMGO in Colorado State District Court says the new gun control laws infringe upon the rights of law-abiding citizens.

“Rocky Mountain Gun Owners will fight to keep the constitutional rights of Coloradans intact by challenging these laws on every front,” said Dudley Brown, executive director of the gun rights organization, in a press release last week. “Two anti-gun Colorado senators were rejected by their constituents [on September 10], and we are now looking to overturn these laws in court.”

Colorado legislators facing recall over onerous gun control measures

A couple members of the Colorado legislature are facing a recall over gun control measures — including universal background checks and a ban on high-capacity magazines — passed earlier this year.

Gun rights supporters and groups have organized a recall campaign against Colorado Senate President John Morse (D-Colorado Springs) and State Sen. Angela Giron (D-Pueblo) for their support of the gun control measures in what the Washington Post calls a “referendum on guns”:

In the wake of mass shootings in suburban Denver and Newtown, Conn., last year, Colorado became one of the few states to pass new gun control legislation. Now, the architects of that legislation face recall elections that have become proxy wars for conservatives angry about the new gun rules, among other liberal initiatives the Democratic-controlled state legislature passed earlier this year.

Pundits Realize Broader Ramifications of IRS Scandal

Joe Scarborough

The IRS serving as a political tool isn’t exactly a new concept. The agency has long-been used by administrations to target political and ideological opponents. But the latest incident involving the agency and its target of Tea Party groups has made some pundits to have an epiphany — that government abuses lend weight to concerns over other areas of public policy where sensitive information is obtained.

Citing concerns that expanded background checks would eventually led to a national gun registry, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Mike Lee (R-UT) promised to filibuster a procedural motion to bring the gun control measures to the floor. While they were initially unsuccessful in filibuster, the trio was able to rally enough support to kill the Manchin-Toomey amendment.

Many talking heads slammed those who voted against background checks during last month’s gun control debate in the Senate, but a couple of pundits have realized that maybe opponents of background checks had a point.

Joe Scarborough, host of the MSNBC’s Morning Joe, conceded on Friday that his argument in support of background checks is “less pursuasive today due to these scandals.”

Gun Control Proponents Turn to Ballot Measures

With the recent failure of Manchin-Toomey in the Senate, a measure that would have expanded background checks to gun shows and online firearms sales, Politico reports that gun control advocates are looking to push the proposal through ballot measures in various states around the country, starting with the State of Washington:

After struggling to sway both state and federal lawmakers, proponents of expanding background checks for gun sales are now exploring whether they will have more success by taking the issue directly to voters.

While advocates generally prefer that new gun laws be passed through the legislative process, especially at the national level, they are also concerned about how much sway the National Rifle Association has with lawmakers.

Washington Rep. Jamie Pedersen, a Democrat who had sponsored unsuccessful legislation on background checks at the state level, said a winning ballot initiative would make a statement with broad implications.On Monday, proponents of universal background checks in Washington will announce their plan to launch a statewide initiative campaign that would require the collection of some 300,000 signatures, according to a person involved in the initiative planning who spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to pre-empt the official announcement.

Reid Tables Gun Control Bill, Manchin Still Lobbying for Background Checks

Harry Reid

It seems that the gun control is on hold in the Senate. According to The Hill, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced yesterday that the bill had been tabled and that the chamber would move on to other issues:

“It’s only a matter of time before we bring this anti-gun-violence measure back to the floor for a vote,” Reid said Thursday. “The stand of the Republicans is not sustainable.”

Reid said Democrats knew passing gun control measures would be an uphill battle.

“We knew all along that efforts to pass stronger background checks and keep guns out of the hands of criminals wouldn’t be easy,” Reid said. “But it’s worth the effort.”

Two of the policies pushed by President Barack Obama and most Senate Democrats went down on Wednesday. The Manchin-Toomey amendment, which would expand background checks to unlicensed gun dealers and online gun sales, failed in a 54 to 46 vote (60 votes were needed) and the Assault Weapons Ban amendment, sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) only received 40 votes.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has said that he will continue to push the background checks amendment in hopes to gain enough support to bring it back up in the future. However, the opposition to the bill will be substantial unless there are tweaks.

Senate Votes to Proceed on Gun Control Bill

The United States Senate voted this morning on Majority Leader Harry Reid’s motion to proceed with debate on proposed gun control laws.

Conservative senators — led by Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Rand Paul (R-KY) — had declared their intent to filibuster any attempt to move forward on new gun control laws. But with the pointless deal struck yesterday between Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) on expanded background checks, it was clear that momentum had shifted.

The Senate approved the motion to proceed by a 68-31 vote. Sixteen Republicans voted in favor of the motion to move forward on the gun control proposals. Two Democrats — Sens. Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Mark Begich (D-AK) — voted to sustain the filibuster.

Just after the vote, Reid said that it was likely that the Senate would take up the Toomey-Manchin amendment on background checks later today. He also noted that there would be a vote on the Assault Weapons Ban as an amendment to the bill. Reid had dropped that particular proposal out of the bill last month after he conceded that he couldn’t muster enough support for it.

The amendments process for the bill is expected to take some time, so a final vote on the bill is likely a few weeks away.

Toomey, Manchin Reach a Pointless Background Check Compromise


There was some news in Washington this morning as Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) reached an agreement on expanding background checks for some gun sales that will likely be part of the gun control package to come before the chamber in the next week:

Sen. Joe Manchin, West Virginia Democrat, and Sen. Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican, unveiled a measure Wednesday that would require criminal background checks for firearms sales conducted over the Internet and at gun shows — a compromise intended to boost the prospects of gun legislation advancing in the chamber.

The measure is less far-reaching than language originally introduced by Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, that would expand background checks to virtually all gun sales.
Mr. Toomey said he does not consider background checks to be “gun control,” describing the measure as “common sense” that would not infringe upon Americans’ Second Amendment rights.

According to the Washington Times, the agreement reached between the two senators would prohibit a gun control registry (gun registration), which has been a source of concern for both pro-Second Amendment groups and the American Civil Liberties Union.

While the deal gives the perception of compromise, which helps both Senate Republicans and the White House, there is nothing here that would have prevented the kind of tragedies that we’ve seen in the news over the last couple of years. The deal is also misleading, as Jacob Sullum explained today at Reason (emphasis mine):

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