Gun Control, The Gun Lobby, the Prez and Voters Who Mean It

We had weather in Oklahoma last night. 

It wasn’t too bad; just some small hail, winds, driving rain and a couple of little tornadoes. But anytime we have weather, we watch Gary England. Weatherman in Oklahoma is a serious job. People trust their lives to those folks on tv and most of us feel safest when the person we’re trusting is Gary England.

Watching the weather gave my family and I a healthy dose of other news, along with watching the radar screen and storm chasers. We worked in some channel flipping to see what was happening with the fertilizer plant explosion in Waco. Somehow or other that led to a momentary pause at MSNBC in which they were deploring what they said was the “gun lobby’s” total “control” of Congress.

This particular public deploring was a reaction to the defeat of President Obama’s plan for strict background checks on would-be gun purchasers. I didn’t watch it long enough to sort it out, but I’m betting that the defeat was more difficult for the bill’s supporters to take because it was handed to them by the Democratically controlled Senate instead of the Republican-controlled House.

I mean, what’s a prez to do when his own party leaves him standing at the curb like that?
Enter the “gun lobby” boogie man. 

I don’t mind when critics of legislation get upset over the hammerlock special interests have over so much of our public policy in this country. In fact, I share their pain. But I am little tired of hearing about the draconian “gun lobby.” 

My experience as a voting member of a legislative body for these past 17 years is that the “gun lobby” couldn’t persuade anybody to do anything if the people themselves didn’t back them up. The real “lobby” that killed this legislation is almost certainly the American people. 

That’s a painful pill for gun control backers to swallow. It appears to be so tough that they will not admit the truth of it, no matter how obvious it is.

The people of this country do not, by and large, want gun control. You can slice it and dice it and poll it until your spreadsheet software crashes and it doesn’t change anything. If you pass a gun control law, people who haven’t voted since heck was a pup will register just for the purpose of voting against you.

Back in 1994, I had relatives who had never voted in their lives and who were no more political than your average goldfish get themselves registered to go vote against a Congressman who was running for the United States Senate. Why did they do this? The Congressman had voted for the Brady Bill that President Clinton passed.

That, of course, is part of the  reason why polls don’t mean much with these fire-brand issues. Pollsters poll “likely voters,” which is another way of saying that they poll people who are in the habit of voting. But issues like gun control get the Saturday Night Wrestling crowd off the couch and out to the polls.

This kind of voter can not be massaged. They can not be persuaded by other issues. There is nothing you can say or do that will change their minds once they’ve set them on voting you out of office. If you represent certain parts of these United States and you do something as dumb as vote against these folks on one of their I-mean-it issues, you’d better be ready to pack up your office and go home, because your time in elected office is through.

That, and not the draconian machinations of the “gun lobby,” is why that bill bit the dust yesterday. It is also why if it hadn’t bitten the dust, the United States Senate would most likely be in Republican control come December 2014.

These aren’t tea leaves you need a sooth sayer to read for you. They’re the plain facts of what matters to a big swath of the electorate in a good many states.

Based on the news stories I’ve read, President Obama is steamed about losing his bill. He’s pledged to fight on and has accused the “gun lobbies and their allies” of “willfully lying” about the legislation. Frankly, I find the notion of a president who publicly promised conscience and religious exemptions in order to pass the Affordable Health Care Act and then turned around and signed the HHS Mandate accusing anyone of “willfully lying” to be pretty rich.


My only thought is that if the Senators in question represent people who don’t want gun control as much as Oklahomans don’t want it, they’d be wise to stick with what they did yesterday. The only reason to go against your constituents when they feel as strongly as people around here do about this is if you personally believe in it enough to sacrifice your career for it.

The following excerpt from a Newsmax article will give you a taste of the President’s angst over this vote.

An angry President Barack Obama denounced Senate Republicans on Wednesday for failing to pass stricter background checks on gun purchases, calling it a “pretty shameful day” for Washington.

Speaking in the Rose Garden as the families of some of the victims of the Newtown, Conn., shootings looked on, Obama vowed to press on in the fight for tougher gun laws.

“Families that know unspeakable grief summoned the courage to petition their elected leaders,” he said, standing alongside former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who left Congress after suffering a life-threatening gunshot wound to the head. “A few minutes ago a minority in the United States Senate decided it wasn’t worth it. They blocked common-sense gun reforms even when these families looked on from the gallery.”

Earlier, Senate Republicans, backed by rural-state Democrats, blocked legislation to tighten restrictions on the sale of firearms.

In recent weeks, the families of some of the victims of the December shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School pressed lawmakers with stories of personal loss, as Second Amendment advocates countered that none of the proposed changes would have stopped the grisly tragedy.

Attempts to ban assault-style rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines also faced certain defeat in a series of showdown votes.

The background check measure commanded a majority of senators, 54-46, but that was well short of the 60 votes needed to advance. A total of 41 Republicans and five Democrats pulled together to scuttle the plan.

“The gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill,” Obama said, referring to fears by some that the law would allow for creation of a federal gun registry.

The president alluded to polls that peaked at 90 percent of Americans supporting expanded background checks for convicted criminals and the severely mentally ill. He said “90 percent” of Democrats supported the bill, but “90 percent” of Republicans opposed it.

“There were no coherent arguments as to why we wouldn’t do this,” Obama said. “It came down to politics.”
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  • neenergyobserver

    Yup, and what they never realize is that for almost all of us, we learned our gun safety from, took our hunting course from, shoot in matches organized by and everything from who? Yeah, the NRA, that’s who. Do we always agree? Nope, but we always listen, and on core issues we ain’t fooling around, any of us.

    That said, many of us could be persuaded on registration if something were done on mental illness, or that was true. This administration has so poisoned the trust between the people and the government that we barely trust them to tell us when a tornado is on the horizon. And that’s very sad for us all.

    • Theodore Seeber

      That’s the one form of gun control I absolutely support- extending background checks to cover more mental illnesses. Would be nice if we could catch the ones who never quite got bad enough to be committed, but a bare minimum should be *any* history of violent behavior to self or others. Being locked up for three days on suicide watch as a kid, should be sufficient concern to keep you from owning a weapon during your wife divorcing you 30 years later.

      • Chumley

        That’s just offensive. If a person wants to die, he’s not necessarily crazy. And it’s HIS life in the end, whether he chooses to live to the maximum age his body permits… or not. To say otherwise, is to say we don’t own our lives and bodies… which is pretty un-American IMHO.
        Take away a person’s prized possessions (guns, if he has them) and you give him one less reason to want to keep on living. I suppose you can drug him into a state of goofy contentedness with antidepressants or whatever, but how does that do society… or him either… any good really?

  • Helen

    Communists are programed to get their way on every issue, No Matter What.
    That is one reason why it is almost impossible for a nation that is foolish enough to vote Socialism into office to regain their freedoms. Go Communist once and you find yourself stuck.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Helen, are you saying the President is a Communist? If so, please don’t. Name calling is verboten on this blog.

    • Theodore Seeber

      Inaccurate. Nothing Obama has done so far- including Obamacare, which is just a rehash of Hilarycare and has the same problems it did when proposed in the 1990s- is socialist.

      A hint for you: No socialist would leave PRIVATE INSURANCE COMPANIES in charge of our HEALTH CARE.

  • pagansister

    I just think it was outrageous that the Brady Bill as allowed to expire! ! :0(

  • Manny

    Oh what a cry baby Obama is. It breaks my heart. He’s got lame duck written all over his face. Maybe he’ll get something on immigration, but that’s only because the Republicans need it.

  • Bill B.

    Sad, but the NRA, (but not the other two 2nd and 3rd largest gun lobbies), seriously distorted the truth. Truth is, the majority of gun sales in gun shows are already background checked, since these sales are by federally licensed dealers. Why the NRA opposes extending this is unknown! It isn’t because there will be a gun ownership list created by the government, since the gun bill specifically made it unlawful to do that. (Something that isn’t unlawful now.) 86% of Americans support gun background checks to deter gun ownership by the mentally ill… Summary 2 of 3 major gun rights lobbies support the bill; 86 % of Americans support the bill; it forbids a gun registry; and that is the content of the bill…

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I haven’t seen any of the IRA literature on this legislation, but here in Oklahoma, their statements about legislation have been honest. I haven’t always voted with them, but I’ve never known them to lie.

      I can not say the same about President Obama.

  • Joeglocken Rightjustice

    Well said Helen on the Communist/Socialist systems ..This Gun control debate gave an extreme Right and Left a voice that otherwise would not have received any publicity.
    In realistic terms the emotional outcry after an atrocity is totally understandable and presents American`s sense of loss, grief,anger as being human. This would have all been sensored had it been within a Communist ,Socialist Govt. Those Politicians who manipulated the people on emotions for Political gain are a disgrace.
    In all it backfired as Obama`s directional intent whether Right or wrong ware as exposed.