The US Senate Decides Guns are More Important than People

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Courtesy Marquil at Empirewire.com

Do you think that the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees an unrestricted right to bear arms?

Does the 2nd Amendment guarantee the right of paranoid schizophrenics or clinically diagnosed psychopaths to bear arms?

Does the 2nd Amendment guarantee a toddler’s right to bear arms?

Does the 2nd Amendment guarantee the right of felons to bear arms?

Does the 2nd Amendment guarantee the right to own a tank? A drone? A rocket-propelled grenade launcher?

None of the above are rhetorical questions. I’m absolutely serious. 

Does anything in the Constitution guarantee my right – your right – not to be shot? How about the kids from Sandy Hook or the moviegoers in Aurora?

Do you think that the 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution is also absolute and unrestricted in any way? You’d be wrong. There are plenty of government restrictions on speech that have been ruled constitutional. You’re not allowed to incite a riot or libel someone, for instance.

And so it is that, although 90% of Americans support universal background checks for dealer and gun show sales, the United States Senate Wednesday night was unable to defeat a Republican-led filibuster of the Manchin-Toomey Amendment. Drafted by a conservative Republican and a conservative Democrat, the amendment would have implemented background checks to prevent homicidal maniacs and felons from legally obtaining guns.

This new gun control initiative was brought about in response to the Sandy Hook massacre, where 20 little boys and girls were mowed down by a lunatic. One of the biggest efforts was to close the gun show loophole, to make sure that those sales are subject to the same background checks that retail sales undergo. Yesterday on Facebook, people argued to me that implementation of this statute would not have prevented Sandy Hook. But that’s a disingenuous argument – it’s too late for that, and you can’t retroactively prevent anything. I brought up that Australia and the UK implemented stringent gun control in response to their school massacres, and have seen none since. Someone brought up a shooting of 12 in Cumbria that took place in 2010 – the first mass shooting in the UK since the 1996 Dunblane massacre. In the US, we have mass shootings much, much more frequently than that, and we can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. After Dunblane, the UK effectively banned handguns.

This is what I have to say about your gun and your gun rights.

England and Wales see .7 gun homicides for every 100,000 people. Scotland has no data. Australia has .14 homicides per 100,000 of population. Canada sees .51 homicides per 100,000 people. By contrast, the United States has 3 gun homicides per 100,000 people. That doesn’t count accidental deaths and suicides. The United States has 5% of the world’s population, and close to 50% of the small arms. Access to guns and ammo are not at risk or adversely affected.

From TPM,

The legislation, written by Toomey and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), was the centerpiece of gun control efforts in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. shootings. It was supposed to be the breakthrough that led to the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. But it only picked up a few senators and hardened the opposition of many. A last-ditch effort by Democrats to win over skeptical senators by offering new concessions fell apart late Tuesday.

About nine out of 10 Americans support universal background checks, according to polls. The failed vote reflects the enduring power of the National Rifle Association, which opposed the bill and threatened to target lawmakers who voted in its favor.

“Today, the misguided Manchin-Toomey-Schumer proposal failed in the U.S. Senate,” the NRA’s top lobbyist Chris Cox said in a statement issued immediately after the vote. “As we have noted previously, expanding background checks, at gun shows or elsewhere, will not reduce violent crime or keep our kids safe in their schools.”

Centrist senators who were courted eventually revealed their opposition to the proposal this week, making it all but clear by Wednesday that it lacked the votes to pass. Opponents voiced gripes ranging from an alleged infringement on Second Amendment rights to the more far-reaching — and inaccurate — claim that the legislation would set up a national gun registry.

So, the NRA defeated the will of 90% of the people, and prevented a vote from being held on the amendment. The United States congress cannot pass a law without 60% of the Senate, and that’s not how our system is supposed to work. Of course, in 1999 – after Columbine – the NRA supported universal background checks. What’s changed? Why must 90% of America succumb to the will of a small lobby representing a small number of people?

A lunatic shoots up a school, and the Senate filibusters a reasonable and constitutional gun control bill drafted by two conservatives.

I think that former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords said it best,

Moments ago, the U.S. Senate decided to do the unthinkable about gun violence — nothing at all. Over two years ago, when I was shot point-blank in the head, the U.S. Senate chose to do nothing. Four months ago, 20 first-graders lost their lives in a brutal attack on their school, and the U.S. Senate chose to do nothing. It’s clear to me that if members of the U.S. Senate refuse to change the laws to reduce gun violence, then we need to change the members of the U.S. Senate.

 

22 comments

  • ”old lady judges watch people in pairs limited in sex they dare to push fake morals insult and stare while doesn’t talk it swears, obcenity, who really cares? Propaganda, all is phony”. Bob Dylan

  • In 2012 there were about 65 notifications to Congress of proposed government-brokered foreign military sales with a combined potential value of more than $63 billion. In addition, the State Department office that regulates direct commercial sales was on track to receive more than 85,000 license requests in 2012, a new record.

    http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE90005D20130101?irpc=932

  • The U.S. Senate decided a law which only aids and abets criminals, at the expense of law abiding citizens, isn’t the answer.

    • Spoken like a true Ayn Paul acolyte.

      • At least you consider me a follower of people who value liberty, logic and critical thinking skills. You could have called me a knee-jerk, Utopian progressive who favors feel-ggod legislation over substance.

        • Only if you consider responding to the Gabby Giffords gun down, the Aurora movie massacre and 20 kindergarteners plus 6 adults dead not to mention Virginia Tech and oh you know a few here and a few there “knee jerk…” We both know it was no love of liberty or any of the amendments that caused that bunch of spineless fuckwads to vote as they did. It was nothing more than a fear of being primaried by gun lobby money. So if you appreciate the reality that your political agenda is driven by gun lobby money not by any form of idealism then we’re good. But don’t most young guys read Any Rand freshman year of college then get laid and forget all about it? I guess Ryan and Ayn Paul didn’t have much luck…

          • What’s worse? The occasional lunatic or criminal who kills, despite any gun legislation in force? Or, the cold, calculating moves of a President who has no problem with civilian deaths due to his authorization of unarmed drone use?

          • Ahh finally some common ground. I have all the ssme objections and more to this remote control kill policy especially in myslim countries where i visited my peace corps sister as a kid. I probsbly hate Obama MORE than you do for entirely different reasons. But hey in Irish culture that makes us friends, even if its only on ond topic. But anti social hate mongerrs and delusionals have no right to military weapons. As a father a teacher and a human I cant justiy cho or loughner or lanza or any of them owning the weapons they used.

          • Said so well

          • Michael, I was wondering why you changed the topic. Do you feel in your heart these people should not have access to weapons but your contempt for government/Pres. Obama does not let you admit it out loud? I’m not trying to be critical or an asshole but I noticed in a couple of your posts when someone makes a good point, you deflect it.

  • “Yesterday on Facebook, people argued to me that implementation of this statute would not have prevented Sandy Hook. But that’s a disingenuous argument – it’s too late for that, and you can’t retroactively prevent anything.”

    Krauthammer is wrong about tons of things, but he’s right about this one subject when he notes that if you want a law in reaction to a school shooting, and the families of victims are proponents of the bill, then the law you are proposing should at least have been relevant to stopping the said incident. But the Sandy Hook guns could have been purchased the same under the proposed law. You can’t have it both ways.
    Instead, our state passes an eye wash law and an incomplete bill dies in the Senate. We need universal background checks, we need better mental health systems, we need to analyze the data and see where we could make the biggest impact. But don’t try to ban “assault weapons” when they (statistically) aren’t the problem, don’t make it illegal to have 7 rounds in a 10 round mag except at the gun range, don’t piss on my leg and tell me its raining. People of goodwill should be mad our government sucks at their main job – passing effective laws. Progressive Dems should be doubly mad their side sucks at organizing and educating when it counts.

    • Dammit Castner, everyone knows, if you’re not going to support Bill X Which Will Do Nothing then you support murdering kids! WHY DO YOU WANT TO MURDER KIDS, CASTNER!??

  • A gun registry? Holy shit, next thing you know they’ll expect us to register cars and dogs even fer chrissakes. Scuze me whist I step out on the back porch with my corncob and my UncleDad to cuss the gubmint.

    • The 2nd and 10th Amendments prohibit the federal government from regulating firearms. Dogs and cars are registered at the local or state level.

      • Only in Ron Paul’s home school curriculum are your amendment statements true. I do find it hilarious that you bothered to dignify the absurdity of the comment though with hard bitten libertarian “facts.”

  • Are the democrats still pussyfooting about the republican fillibuster? Can’t they just use procedure to get around that procedure? I forget the name of the action but I remember it being discussed during the healthcare debatcle.

    • No Spineless Harry had his chance and pissed the bed. They are actually worse than the Republicans in many ways. They are coawrds
      and they cave at the first sign of trouble.

  • Holmes, Lanza, Loughner and Cho were all law abiding citizens prior to the time they weren’t.

    • They were all on the radar as being crazy anti social assholes, please don’t kid yourself. Lanza’s prepper mommy was getting ready to lock his ass up, Cho’s professors were onto his crazy same with Loughneer and Holmes, They were crazy anti social assholes and they never would have passed any kind of mental hygiene screening, not that we’d ever get that clever in this country.

  • It takes a real tough bunch of guys to avoid a debate on an issue – which no matter what side you happen to be on, warrants discussion – which by the way, just happens to be their job, aside from voting for another pay raise or an adjournment. The U.S. Senate is a vastly dysfunctional body and expecting anything positive or substantive to occur there is parallel to getting blood out of the proverbial root vegetable.

  • Pardon the thumb typos of the iphone post

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