Toomey: Background check plan failed because of Republican politics
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Senate rejects expanded gun background checks
White House press secretary Jay Carney demanded an explanation from Senators who are voting against the gun control bill which would expand background checks.
Since the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, President Obama and many in Congress have pushed a “do something” mentality on gun control.
Heritage experts urged lawmakers to consider the host of complex factors that contribute to violent outbreaks and to steer away from untested ideas that would restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens. But the plan facing a vote in the Senate today would have much broader effects on law-abiding citizens than it would do anything to curb gun violence.
The plan, proposed by Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Pat Toomey (R-PA), and Joe Manchin (D-WV), gives Attorney General Eric Holder the power to write countless regulations affecting gun laws. Heritage legal expert David Addington has detailed three dangers to American citizens from the Schumer-Toomey-Manchin gun control bill:
1. It sets “a trap for the innocent.”
The bill’s treatment of gun transfers “lets the Justice Department send people at gun shows to jail for up to five years for a crime they did not even know was a crime.”
2. It allows firearms dealers to do secret background checks on job applicants.
Employers could run secret background checks on job applicants through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database without obtaining consent from the job applicants.
3. It “reduces existing privacy protection for mental health records relevant to background checks.”
The bill would weaken existing privacy protection for mental health records in connection with the NICS system, “leaving only what privacy protection the Attorney General cares to provide,” Addington explains.
These changes all affect law-abiding Americans—eating away at our civil liberties. Empowering the Attorney General to write more regulations will not avert future tragedies like we witnessed in Newtown.
As Heritage’s John Malcolm and Jennifer Marshall pointed out, “Gun control laws do not correlate with decreased violence. If gun control were a panacea, then Washington, D.C., Oakland, and Chicago, which have very strict gun control laws, would be among the safest places to live rather than among the most dangerous.”
We need to address the underlying problems that lead to violence and fix any outstanding issues with the current system. But encroaching on the rights of Americans and eroding privacy laws is not the way to do it.
(ABC) Senate Sets Up Big Votes Wednesday for Gun Control: The day of reckoning is Wednesday for the embattled Manchin-Toomey background check provision and a myriad of other gun amendments, including a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity clips. The outcome of which will determine the fate of the biggest gun control legislation the Senate will vote on in two decades. A 4 p.m. vote on the Manchin-Toomey amendment will kick off the votes. The amendment, proposed this past week as a bipartisan compromise from Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, and Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, always faced an uphill climb to pass in the Senate… Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., was seen as a wild card because, although he supports the amendment, he has been ill and home in New Jersey. Aides said Lautenberg “hopes” to get back for the vote Wednesday. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., sounded a bit resigned Tuesday when he defended the bill’s momentum while, in the same breath, admitting that the votes may not be there. Regardless, he said, gun control supporters have the “wind at our back.” President Obama made calls to the few undecided senators Tuesday, ABC News’ Jonathan Karl reported. A White House official said there still was a path to 60 votes but conceded it is “a narrow path.”
(NBC) Manchin Concedes That Background Checks ‘Will Not Get The Votes’ : Amid growing Republican opposition to a bipartisan proposal that would expand background checks for gun purchases, one of the measure’s chief sponsors acknowledged Wednesday that it will fail in the Senate — at least for now. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) conceded to NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell that the proposal “will not get the votes today.” O’Donnell relayed the remarks on Twitter.
Sen. Joe Manchin tells me “we will not get the votes today” expanded background checks to fail in Senate. Try again he says.
— Kelly O’Donnell (@KellyO) April 17, 2013
Following O’Donnell’s tweet, a spokesman for Manchin issued a statement expressing optimism about the measure’s prospects. “So far Senator Manchin has managed to garner support from an A-rated NRA member and three Republican Senators as well as 90 percent of his own party,” the spokesman said in the statement. “With a record like that, I see no reason to bet against Senator Manchin today.”
(WAPOST) Letter sent to Miss. senator believed to be laced with poison: Federal officials said a letter addressed to a U.S. senator was discovered to contain a potential poison. It was intercepted at an off-site facility in Landover where congressional mail has been examined before delivery since anthrax-laced letters were sent to Capitol Hill in 2001. The letter was addressed to Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and initially tested positive for ricin, but officials familiar with the case said it was undergoing further testing late Tuesday. The officials gave no indication why the letter was sent to the second-term senator. In a statement, Wicker thanked federal authorities “for their hard work and diligence in keeping those of us who work in the Capitol complex safe.” During an afternoon briefing on the attacks at Monday’s Boston Marathon, senators were told that there is no suspected link between the letter and the attacks.
(REUTERS) Senators unveil immigration reform bill: A group of Democratic and Republican senators on Tuesday unveiled long-awaited landmark legislation to remove the threat of deportation for millions of illegal immigrants and give them an opportunity to eventually become U.S. citizens. Under the proposal, undocumented immigrants who came to the United States before December 31, 2011, and had stayed in the country continuously could apply for “provisional” legal status as soon as six months after the bill is signed by the president. But beyond that, they would have to wait a decade or more for full citizenship which would entitle them to federal benefits, while the government works on further securing U.S. borders and enforcing the new immigration law. The bill’s sponsors – four Democrats and four Republicans – felt such conditions were necessary to help their plan succeed where similar measures have failed, mostly because of opposition to what opponents see as “amnesty” for law-breakers. Even with the many caveats, the proposal faces months of debate, scores of amendments and potentially significant opposition, particularly in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
An envelope sent to an office of Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) included a substance that has tested positive for Ricin, two sources say.
It was not immediately clear when the envelope was received or whether it was sent to his Washington, D.C., office or a field office.
In an apparent slip of the tongue, Harry Reid this morning referred to the gun-control bill he brought to the Senate floor as “anti-gun legislation.”
“On the anti-gun legislation before the Senate, we are making good progress on the effort to schedule a series of votes on amendments to the anti-gun violence legislation before the Senate.”
Some, however, are questioning whether the Senate minority leader accidentally revealted his true feelings. GOP sentaor Ted Cruz, a leading opponent of the bill, questioned whether Reid’s statement was in fact a “Freudian slip.” He said in a Tweet:
Freudian slip? Sen. Harry Reid calls bill “anti-gun legislation” youtube.com/watch?v=pHj6KA…
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) April 16, 2013
Senate Democrats are struggling to corral votes for the bill, which faces an uphill battle. A cloture vote on the compromise amendment proposed by GOP senator Pat Toomey and Democrat Joe Manchin could come as early as Thursday.
Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said their compromise to expand background checks for gun sales may lack the votes to pass.
Yesterday 16 Republican Senators, including both Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker from Tennessee, joined Democrats in voting to begin debate on legislation expanding background checks on gun purchases. With 68 votes to begin debate, a threatened GOP filibuster was stopped before it started.
Grassroots reaction was both swift and pointed.
Grassfire.com wrote, “Sen. Harry Reid’s gun-control legislation has cleared the first hurdle … bringing the creation of a national gun registry and the outright confiscation of your firearms closer to reality.”
The TN Campaign for Liberty wrote, “After having dinner with President Obama last night, Senator Lamar Alexander then voted this morning to advance Obama’s gun control scheme.”
Listening to the critiques one might assume these Senators are, even now, fueling up the black choppers and SUVs to dispatch them for quiet conversations with Americans about their guns.
But what did they do, exactly?
They did not vote for a bill that infringed on the 2nd Amendment Rights of Americans. They voted to begin debate on a bill that would infringe on the 2nd Amendment Rights of Americans. Support for having the debate is not the same as supporting the bill.
For example, Grassfire.com notes both the NRA and the ACLU believe the Toomey-Manchin bill is unconstitutional. This is a powerful fact which deserves attention. There are voices respected by both sides of the political divide opposing the bill.
However, a letter issued by Chris Cox of the NRA stating they would negatively “score” cloture votes on the issue was misread by many. The vote in question is not today’s vote but an upcoming cloture vote needed to move the bill to an actual vote. Even the Lefties at Slate got that one wrong. Bottom line is that while the NRA is opposed to the bill, they are not beating up Senators who voted to debate it.
And neither am I.
There are any number of folks eager to have this debate; eager to have Democrats and liberal Republicans explain how what they are doing passes constitutional muster. They want amendments and recorded votes for later use against 2nd Amendment haters and gun detractors. Some of those folks voted for cloture yesterday to make that reality possible. That does not mean they will vote for a necessary second cloture vote to close debate and move to voting for passage or defeat on the actual bill.
In fact, some Senators voted for cloture to open debate while remaining committed to opposing Toomey-Manchin and the ongoing assault on the 2nd Amendment.
Oklahoma’s Tob Coburn is one.
Lamar Alexander of Tennessee is another. He said, “I’ll examine each amendment to determine whether it strengthens or infringes upon our Second Amendment rights … The Toomey-Manchin proposal to expand background checks in my opinion doesn’t meet that test and I will vote against it.”
So is Tennessee’s Bob Corker who said, “I don’t understand why any senator wouldn’t want to debate these issues, but in the end, I will not support any legislation that violates our Second Amendment rights.”
These Senators voted to begin debate. They were not signalling their support for the measure being debated. They certainly don’t seem to be “advanc[ing] Obama’s gun control scheme.”
It may be that when it comes time to vote on the actual bill that one or more of them will vote for a bad piece of legislation. If they do, I will be the first to call them out on it. But this is not that vote. Nor can it be used to predict a future vote.
For that, we should watch the debate process, note the amendments offered, the questions asked, the follow-ups and the positions staked out. Eventually we will need to watch a cloture vote – the one to close debate. If that one passes, no sure thing as many do not, the actual vote on the measure will be the defining one.
To now excoriate Senators for voting to do what the Senate is supposed to do – consider and debate – seems also to be bad behavior. I cannot and will not condone it or participate.
That having been said, I’m sure there are any number of my friends who will disagree with me. I look forward to your thoughts in the comment section.
Gun control legislation moves forward; North Korea celebrates Kim Jong Un; and quite possibly the most elaborate squirrel obstacle course you’ve ever seen.