A great deal of anger and frustration is being felt by many of us Americans who feel that the U.S. Senate has let us down. We elect senators based on the premise that we believe they will go to Washington D.C. and represent our interest and the interest of the nation. When those who are elected to office completely ignore what their constituents want from them, their career as a politician will surely be short.
The vote on the gun control bill came to 54 – 46 in favor but did not reach the 60 votes needed to block a filibuster. The bill, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (WV) and Republican Senator Pat Toomey (PA) would have required background checks on most gun purchases, including gun shows, except for a few private sales.
As much as 90 percent of Americans support universal background checks on all gun purchases in the United States and even 74 percent of NRA members support background checks. Now the leaders of the NRA went against the organization’s members by threatening “political retribution against supporters of tougher gun laws”. It also “called the expanded background checks a first step toward a national gun registry and government confiscation of firearms.”
Let me interject something here; it confounds me how those in the Senate who voted against this bill, because of fear of the NRA and “political retribution” and yet do not fear the 90 percent who wants background checks and sensible gun control. What we all know is, though we like it or not, there will eventually be another mass shooting and innocent lives will be taken. It will remind Americans of that gun control bill and those who voted “no” on it, when Election Day comes.
President Obama was feeling the same as the rest of us gun control advocates after the vote. He let his feelings be known by saying, “Instead of supporting this compromise, the gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill,” said the president. He went on to add “pretty shameful day for Washington, who are we here to represent?”
Since the mass killing of 26 people, including 20 young children in Newtown Connecticut, ten days before Christmas, December 15, 2012, an abundance of passionate support has grown for more gun control across the country. A majority of Americans support not only universal background checks but also a ban on assault weapons and on high capacity clips.
Unlike other mass shootings, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, touched the nation in such a way that the effect is just not going to go away. Perhaps Americans came to the realization that it was not acceptable that we continue to stand by and do nothing to protect our children and all our citizens so that any crazed gunmen could freely walk into wherever they please and kill as many people as they can, as quickly as they can.
I have to ask, why do not the members of the NRA, who overwhelmingly support background checks on all gun purchases, demand that its leaders represent their interests? I would hope that its members are not as afraid of the organization as apparently, many of our U.S. Senators are.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is not giving up on the bill just yet. He has put a freeze on the bill saying, “I’ve spoken with the president, he and I agree that the best way to keep working toward passing a background check bill is to hit a pause and freeze the background-check bill where it is.”
I have very little faith the majority leader will succeed. In fact, I doubt the bill ever had a chance of passing. Perhaps what we have seen as far as cooperation from Republicans in the Senate recently has actually only been posturing. Perhaps also, the immigration bill will turn out to be nothing but posturing too. We spent the last half of President Obama’s first term watching the “Party of ‘no'” refuse to allow hardly anything to pass that had Obama’s signature on it.
Comprehensive gun control will happen. It may take a couple of election cycles to drive the message home. The Second Amendment is not some absolute law that cannot be changed by a large majority of the People. There is no reason why a couple guys from the NRA should have so much sway over our Congress. If those senators who voted “no” on the gun control bill — including both of my own state’s senators; James Inhofe (as expected) and Tom Coburn (disappointing) — acted out of fear of the NRA and their backers, wait until you see the fury of the American people at the ballot box .