A bipartisan proposal – written by two senators BOTH with “A” ratings by the National Rifle Association – got shot down in the Senate today via a GOP-lead filibuster, failing by a 54-46 vote; that means the Manchin-Toomey background check bill won’t become law (at least not yet). The Senate shot down three other amendments to the gun bill in quick succession Wednesday. With 60 votes needed to win… (Dis)credit where it’s due: five Democrats joined the GOP filibuster – Mark Pryor of Arkansas; Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota; Mark Begich of Alaska; and Max Baucus of Montana. Harry Reid (Nevada) did as well, on procedural grounds, to preserve his opportunity to bring the bill to the floor at a later date if he saw fit to.
But the obstructionists weren’t done there. Three more amendments went by the wayside, too.
The Grassley substitute amendment for Manchin-Toomey fell 52-48. Put together at the last minute, this bill would have provided more money for school safety and for mental health; stepped-up prosecutions of felons who try to get guns; easing of the interstate transport of guns by private citizens. Real divisive crap, eh? Let’s move on …
The Leahy-Collins amendment also failed 58-42. It would have imposed tougher penalties on gun trafficking and for straw purchasers (people who buy guns for individuals barred from legally owning guns. Again, nonsensical government over-reach, right? (note: sarcasm)
The Cornyn amendment mustered a 57-43 vote; it would have nationalized interstate reciprocity for concealed-carry permits. Right now, states have bilateral reciprocity agreements with each other, and those rules vary widely, state-to-state. For example, someone with an easily obtained Texas concealed-carry permit could carry a hidden firearm in New York, where such permits are a LOT harder to obtain.
For his part, President Barack Obama was PISSED, and let us all know it.
“It came down to politics, the worry that the vocal minority of gun owners would come after them in future elections,” Obama said of the Senate vote. “They worried that the gun lobby would spend a lot of money and paint them as anti-Second Amendment.
“And obviously, a lot of Republicans had that fear, but Democrats had that fear, too,” he added. “And so they caved to the pressure, and they started looking for an excuse – any excuse – to vote ‘no’.”
“…the fact is most of these senators could not offer any good reason why we wouldn’t want to make it harder for criminals and those with severe mental illnesses to buy a gun. There were no coherent arguments as to why we wouldn’t do this. It came down to politics.”
He mocked those who hailed today’s votes as “victories.”
““Victory for who,” he said. “Victory for what? Who are we here to represent?”