Congress Considers More Gun Control and Less Gun Control

Congress Considers More Gun Control and Less Gun Control May 8, 2013


Gun control has become a metaphor for the way our Congress doesn’t work these days. 

Proponents of the defeated gun background checks bill are looking at ways to amend it in hopes of getting the votes of push it through. Meanwhile, at least one senator, as well as the House of Representatives are pushing measures to either relax existing gun control laws or broaden situations where guns are allowed.

My question is, why try to jump the Grand Canyon flat-footed if you’re a turtle?

What I mean by that is that politics is supposed to be the art of the possible. But it appears that it’s become the art of public demagoguery in order to rally your voter base. The desire to actually accomplish anything for this country appears to be dead.

I do not see how constantly erecting straw man legislation and then voting on it does anything for the people. I know that there are times when a lawmaker will introduce legislation they don’t have much hope of passing to make a statement about deeply-held principles. I’ve done this myself. But when this becomes the only thing that Congress is doing, it starts looking like cheap demagoguery designed to deepen the culture wars and lock your sliver of the vote in place for the next election.

We call these kinds of things “hero deals,” and done in moderation, they are not only harmless, but can serve a purpose. However, the purpose of a governing body is to govern, not do endless “hero deals” for the cameras.

Surely there is something besides pumping more money into unneeded defense contracts and going on lobbyist-provided junkets that the members of Congress can agree on. Frankly, I’d like to lock all of them up in a dormitory and make them eat beans and sleep on cots until they agree to start governing for the common good and what is best for the people of the United States of America.

Given the deference they are accustomed to, I think one night of this torture should break almost all of them.

From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senators backing gun control are discussing ways to revise the defeated Senate background check bill to help win the votes they need to resuscitate the measure.

Among the changes they might consider are limiting the fees buyers would pay at gun shows, adding provisions dealing with the mentally ill and altering language extending the background checkrequirement to all online sales, senators said Tuesday.

Supporters fell five votes short when the Senate defeated legislation last month that would have extended required federal background checks to more buyers.

That vote, four months after the massacre of 20 first-graders and six educators at a school in Newtown, Conn., was a defeat for President Barack Obama and gun control advocates. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has promised to revisit the issue, perhaps by early summer.

While Senate Democrats hunted more votes to expand background checks, the Republican-run House took a step in the opposite direction Wednesday, voting to make the system less restrictive for some veterans.

The House Veterans Affairs Committee voted by voice to require a judge or magistrate to declare a veteran is dangerous before the name is entered in the background check system’s database of people barred from getting firearms. Currently, the Department of Veterans Affairs sends the system the names of veterans it has declared unable to manage their financial affairs — 127,000 names since 1998.

Supporters of the measure said veterans who can’t handle their money aren’t necessarily dangerous. The department opposes the measure, saying veterans in the database already have the ability to appeal.

Gun rights advocates were also taking the offensive in the Senate.

The chamber planned to vote Wednesday on a measure by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., allowing firearms on land owned by the Army Corps of Engineers if it didn’t conflict with state law. (Read the rest here.)


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12 responses to “Congress Considers More Gun Control and Less Gun Control”

  1. Unless they’re willing to expand background checks to include diagnosis of mental illness, and simplify them to the point of entering a driver’s license number into a website and getting back an “OK to sell” or “Red flag warning, reason withheld for privacy concerns”, I don’t see increased background checks or any other form of gun control doing any good.

    Ammo control maybe- requiring proof of ID and restricting number of rounds bought in any given month- but not gun control.

  2. Instead of the specific contents of any given proposed law, it seems like there is a yes or no question as to whether there should be any controls whatsoever placed on the sale and ownership of guns. Even the most sane legislation will be shot (excuse the pun) down by gun zealots. The second amendment, for all its good intentions, is killing us. It no longer serves the common good for which it was intended. Those who put it on a pedestal are severely deluded. It’s no longer a good law.

  3. What is really interesting and educational is following politics through the eyes of someone who really understands the technicalities – something that few journalists do – and nonetheless has an unstained and vigorous moral compass. It makes me understand things I haven’t yet, and I’m not a young man. If you won’t run for President as you should, would you at least consider trying to become a nationally known commentator? Millions of people in America and elsewhere need to read articles like this one.

  4. It’s all become a joke. I told you Obama would be a very fast lame duck. He went lame duck in less than 100 days into the second term. He can’t even get his own party to follow suit. There’s going to be a vacuum in leadership soon, especially after the Benghazi hearings. Obama will be struggling to stay relevant.

  5. Thank you Fabio. I’m too old and fat to be a national commentator. Besides, I’m not moving away from Oklahoma. But I do appreciate the compliment.

  6. Oh don’t put yourself down Rebecca. You’re an endearing person. How else would you get a Conservative like me to routinely come to your blogs. 🙂

  7. Manny, I just thought you were doing missionary work among the liberal heathen. 🙂

  8. I’m not sure what makes this legislation “straw man”. The term “hero deal” seems a better one; I’m presuming it refers to a law introduced that is not expected to do anything except allow an incumbent to say “I voted for ________” when seeking re-election. It makes both sides seem like a hero to their home political base, while doing absolutely nothing of consequence to the law or politics of the issue.

    However, this seems rather different. True, it failed in the Senate — but several of the senators who opposed it have consequently had sizable drops in approval ratings from their states (EG), because epic majorities in their home states think requiring background checks for sales at gun shows would be good policy — at levels that make “strong Republicans” seem comparatively indecisive about opposing the legality of abortion. It’s even been bandied about that the bill may be re-introduced, as
    this constituent backlash may have added a few more votes to the bag. In so far as Senators tend to either respond to the attitudes of their constituents or get voted out of the Senate, forcing such votes seems less a “hero deal” than a “villain deal” — which may indeed have consequences for what laws go on the books.

  9. I called it a straw man because everybody in Congress knows that it will never pass into law.

  10. I have my views, which are quite well known, they are also irrelevant here. You are exactly correct, nothing will be passed, it’s gotten far too polarized, and, in truth, I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.

    I’m inclined to thing that if the President and Congress would sit down and be quiet for 6 month or so, we’d all be better off.

  11. It seems the best argument for sane restrictions on gun is the
    Constitution itself. As the preamble makes clear, the purpose of the
    constitution is “to insure domestic tranquility.” A professor at Biola
    University lays out the case pretty well, and also addresses Christians
    who think that the Bible supports unrestricted access to “weapons of
    mass destruction” (= assault weapons). He has a couple posts on the
    subject. Here’s the link to the first post if anyone is interested: