Gun control failures in Senate

The Second Amendment is the reset button on the Constitution
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Gun control lost badly in the Senate yesterday. Seven gun control measures came to an up-or-down vote. All seven failed. But those votes were close. That, and the rhetoric from de facto President Obama and other gun control proponents, tells us something. It shows again the people are one vote, or one election, away from tyranny.

What happened to gun control in the Senate

The Senate considered a total of nine gun control measures. This came about after the Senate voted, by more than sixty, to debate the gun control issue. Sixteen Republican Senators voted to open that debate.

But of those sixteen, most did not vote for those gun control measure when they came for a vote. Alexander Bolton of The Hill has the details. Only four voted for the “extended background check” bill by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA). The four included Senator Toomey and Senators John McCain (AZ), Susan Collins (ME), and Mark Kirk (IL). Even that would not have been enough, but four Democrats voted against it: Mark Pryor (AR), Max Baucus (MT), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), and Mark Begich (AK).

When Democratic Floor Leader Harry Reid (NV) saw where the vote would go, he voted against the bill at the last minute. So now he can, in theory, move to reconsider the bill later. That, of course, is the oldest trick known to parliamentary law. The final tally: 54 for, and 46 against. But Reid brought these bills (actually amendments to a larger bill) to a vote under a rule needing sixty votes to pass.

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) cheered the defeat of the Manchin-Toomey amendment. He said little about the amendment he voted for: the Grassley-Cruz amendment, No. 2 on the above list.

Darla Dawald, National Director of the Patriot Action Network, posted this summary of yesterday’s Senate votes. She included this tally of the votes on all seven amendments:

  1. Manchin – Toomey amendment #715 (background checks) Not Agreed to (54-46).
  2. Grassley-Cruz amendment #725 (substitute) Not Agreed to (52-48).
  3. Leahy – Collins amendment #713 (trafficking) Not Agreed to (58-42).
  4. Cornyn amendment #719 (conceal carry) Not Agreed to (57-43).
  5. Feinstein amendment #711 (assault weapons/clip bans) Not Agreed to (40-60).
  6. Burr amendment #720 (veterans/guns) Not Agreed to (56-44).
  7. Lautenberg – Blumenthal amendment #714 (high capacity clip ban) Not Agreed to (46-54).

Bolton of The Hill suggested the main bill (S. 649) would likely die without the Manchin-Toomey amendment. But two more amendments will come to a vote at noon today:

  1. An amendment by Senator John Barasso addressing matters of privacy, and
  2. An amendment by Senator Tom Harkin (IA) addressing mental health.

Ms. Dawald recommends voting against both. She also recognized that the White House had flown several members of families who lost schoolchildren at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. She wrote this message to them (underlining in original text):

Today after the 7 bills were defeated, I listened to some of the Newtown families and the victims surrounding the Gabby Gifford tragedy speaking about how upset they are over the defeats, I can’t help but feel sadness for them. For these families, the success of the proposed gun bills were really important for their healing process…or so they believe. I get it, my brother committed suicide in August of 2011 and there’s a part of me that needed someone or something to blame. Here’s the message they haven’t yet accepted…There’s nothing that any of us can do that will ever bring back those murdered in heinous killings. As much as I feel for these families and have suffered with the loss of my own brother,  I cannot in good faith stand with them on gun control.

Darla Dawald understands what those Newtown people do not: the only sure defense against a bad guy with a gun, is you with a gun. She also understands that gun control is the first step to confiscation. And finally, she understands what Benjamin Franklin said about trading liberty for safety. And many other things Franklin and others said on the subject. Including this gem from our first President, George Washington:

Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance. They are the people’s liberty’s teeth.

Obama blows his cool

Gun control did not make it this time.

The Houston Gun Show, at the George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston, TX. Photo: M. Glasgow, CC BY 2.0 Generic License

De facto President Barack Obama, after those votes, launched into the angriest diatribe anyone ever heard from him. Ben Shapiro at Breitbart, Dave Sherfinski and Dave Boyer at The Washington Times, Greg Richter and Paul Scicchitano at Newsmax.com, Jeff Zeleny and his colleagues at ABC News, and Andrew Martin, National Conservative Examiner, all weighed in.

Obama began with three of his usual buzz phrases: “compromise,” “moderation,” and “common sense.” Anyone who listens to Barack Obama speak, needs a scorecard-like glossary to translate his Orwellian doublespeak into plain English. For instance, “balanced approach” always means “tax increases on those out of public favor.” And in this case, “compromise” means “Do what I tell you.” “Moderation” means “only the first step toward full gun control.” And “common sense” means the sense he has, not the sense of the common people. But Obama also used the word progress. That buzzword is more dangerous, for it means: I am coming back for more after I get this. And I will be back, and back, until I get the full gun control I want.

Obama also repeated this refrain: “Ninety percent of the American people supported it.” He might have been talking about any of several polls that Alex Seitz-Wald at Salon.com linked to, back in January. Or he could have been talking about one figure from this Fox News poll:

(Though as The Washington Times editorial board says, only four percent think gun control is important to them. So all the passion is on the anti-gun control side.)

Then came this:

Instead of supporting this compromise, the gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill. They claimed that it would create some sort of big-brother gun registry, even though the bill [long pause] did the opposite! This legislation in fact outlawed any registry! Plain and simple, right there in the text! But that didn’t matter. And unfortunately, this pattern of spreading untruths about this legislation served a purpose. Because those lies upset an intense minority of gun owners. And that in turn intimidated a lot of Senators….So all in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington. But this effort is not over. I want to make it clear to the American people that we can still bring about meaningful changes that reduce gun violence, so long as the American people don’t give up on it.

Obama wasn’t finished:

You’ve got to send the right people to Washington. That requires strength and it requires persistence. I see this as just Round 1. Sooner or later, we are going to get this right. The memories of these children demand it.

Shapiro, in his piece, described Joe Biden as making a “face creased in supposed emotional agony.” Martin quoted host Hugh Hewitt as saying the Obama gun control speech was “unbecoming…the office” he holds.More to the point: two days ago, Alan Korwin at The Daily Caller wrote this piece about the Manchin-Toomey amendment. To understand what the author is talking about, use this embed of the Manchin-Toomey bill:[docstoc docId=”152165893″ mId=”-10″ width=”500″ height=”550″ slideMode=”false” showRelatedDocs=”true” showOtherDocs=”true” allowdownload=”true” url=”http://www.docstoc.com/docs/152165893/Public-Safety-and-Second-Amendment-Rights-Protection-Act”]Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act[/docstoc]Here’s another buzz phrase alert: any bill whose title speaks of “public safety” and “protect[ing] Second Amendment rights” probably does the opposite.

Beginning on Page 27:

The Attorney General may not consolidate or centralize the records of the acquisition or disposition of firearms, or any portion thereof, maintained by a person with a valid, current license under this chapter, [or] an unlicensed transferror under section 922(t), or possession or ownership of a firearm, maintained by any medical or insurance entity.

Alan Korwin comments tartly:

Read the bottom of page 27 of the bill* (below at the asterisk, read it, it’s killer, very short) and you tell me if you think that language stops the federal government from recording, storing, collating, compiling, distributing, securing, retrieving, integrating, merging, using or… backing up its records forever. It doesn’t. Show me an audit trail. You can’t. It’s not there.

It doesn’t even limit the FBI or BATFE in this regard. It only restricts gun dealers and gun owners. It’s a complete farce.

Korwin is right. Though the bill calls it “prohibition of national gun registry,” it does not do that. This bill would have stopped the AG from gathering all the records of gun dealers, gun owners, doctors’ offices, and medical insurers. It would not have forbidden the AG to gather or archive the records of an agency in his Department.

So Obama, in accusing “the gun lobby” of lying, lied about the bill himself. His pattern of spreading untruths about atrocious acts, and his own proposed laws, tried to serve a purpose. He dragged the Newtown families in to sit in the Senate gallery and then stand with him in the Rose Garden. He tried to intimidate the Republican caucus into signing our Second Amendment rights away. It didn’t work.

Whither gun control now?

Obama, and even some of the Newtown people, threaten to come back until they get gun control, by whatever name they wish to call it. Those who value their liberty should take them seriously.

UPDATE: The last two amendments passed the Senate today. One of them (the Barrasso amendment) truly does protect the rights of gun owners. The other has no effect on those rights. See Darla Dawald’s fresh summary.

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