President Barack Obama chastised the Senate today after failing to go forward with the bipartisan background check amendment offered by Joe Manchin (D) and Pat Toomey (R). He said that overall it was a pretty shameful day in the Senate.
First, what did the law have in it? This is a pretty decent summary of the positives of the bill. Basically, it requires criminal background checks for commercial sales conducted at gun shows or over the internet. It does not require background checks for private sales, say from a neighbor to a neighbor, or a father to a son. It does not create a gun registry. It relies on the same recordkeeping that is already used by 59,000 licensed gun dealers around the country. If you misuse the paper receipts or illegally hold on to the receipts, you might receive a felony, punishable by up to 15 years in jail. Most things that are endorsed by the gun lobby. In fact, one prominent gun rights lobbying group supported the bill before retracting that support today. They cited the advancements in the bill for gun rights, "interstate sales of handguns, veteran gun rights restoration, travel with firearms protection, civil and criminal immunity lawsuit protection, and most important of all, the guarantee that people, including federal officers, will go to federal prison for up to 15 years if they attempt to use any gun sales records to set up a gun registry.” Oh well.
If gun control activists are serious about dethroning the gun rights lobby on capitol hill, they'll definitely have to spend more money on the elections in 2014. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has already started funneling money into elections that he feels are important. I expect that trend to continue in 2014. Possibly to great success.
If you are in favor of common sense gun control, you might be encouraged by some other news. Only 24% of voters are more likely to vote for an NRA endorsed candidate in an election while 39% are less likely to vote for an NRA endorsed candidate. Or you might be encouraged from this news from Project New America:
David Winkler, PNA’s Research Director, said: “Looking to 2014 and beyond, the GOP leadership should note that key voters they need to win strongly support [stronger background checks] – especially women, independents and even gun owners.”
“There is no grey area here. Voters in these states overwhelmingly support strengthening background checks at gun shows and want their senators to vote to expand them. Regardless of party, or whether they own a gun or not, these voters support expanding background checks,” said pollster John Anzalone.
Among the Senate seats up for grabs in 2014, voters are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports background checks at gun shows. These states are Arkansas, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Ohio.
An influx of cash and the already strong support of the voters there will make it more likely for stronger background checks to pass in 2014 and beyond.