Senate fails to pass gun control legislation
On Wednesday, the 17th, the Senate failed to pass the Manchin-Toomey amendment. According to CNN’s report on the outcome, this amendment, “would have expanded background checks to include private sales at gun shows and all Internet sales, while continuing to exempt most sales between family members and friends” The final vote was 54 for and 46 against the proposed amendment.
President Obama was clear about this result being very disappointing in his statements to the press after the decision was announced, calling it “a pretty shameful day for Washington.”
Considering the horrible tragedies that have occurred recently, including the horrifying events in Newtown, Connecticut, it certainly is shameful that the bill was not passed.
The President stated this in his speech with family members of the Newtown Massacre as well as former representative and victim of gun violence, Gabby Giffords, at his side.
It is simply unacceptable that after so many tragic events, expanded background checks on the sale of guns, something that makes such common sense, would be brought down. CNN also reported that Republican Senator Rand Paul stated that the president has “in some cases… used them [Sandy Hook families] as props.”
The fact that Sen. Rand Paul would make such a statement is shameful in itself and is just another way to politicize this issue.
These background checks are not impeding on anyone’s rights and would simply be a measure to prevent convicted felons from purchasing these weapons.
Furthermore, the failure of the bill to pass shows a complete disregard for public opinion since a poll taken by CNN/ORC showed that 86% of Americans are in support of background checks. Republican Sen. Toomey who was proposing this compromise, explained that he supported background checks in 1999 and that “it makes common sense.” Unfortunately, not all Republican Senators are willing to realize this.
What this outcome demonstrates is the fear the Republican Senators feel in the face of passing the necessary gun control measures. There is a small minority of people who oppose background checks and somehow, they were able to put enough political pressure on these senators that popular opinion became largely ignored.
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz stated regarding the proposed background checks, “adopting mandatory federal government background checks for purely private transactions between law-abiding citizens puts us inexorably on the path to a push for universal [background checks].”
Why must there always be the talk about “paths” and “slippery slopes” on the side of the GOP? There has been no push for universal background checks in the Senate, but fear mongering is what senators such as Ted Cruz do best.
Another argument made was on behalf of Republican Sen. Richard Shelby who said, “I believe we should not restrict transactions between law-abiding citizens especially when we will not prevent such transactions between criminals.”
On his shown on Thursday, Jon Stewart perhaps explained these illogical arguments best by saying, “the people in our country who’ve spent millions of dollars to get elected to a legislative body, known as the Senate, are making the argument ‘there’s really no point in making laws because criminals are just gonna end up breaking them.’” They are essentially saying that because people break laws, there is no use making something illegal.
Even though this bill was not necessarily the most far-reaching plan since it was a compromise, it is still very disappointing that it did not pass. What is perhaps most disappointing about this is the arguments against background checks, which show a complete disregard for any type of logic or common sense in favor bending to the political side of the issue at hand”