The push for new gun control measures took a major hit Wednesday when a “compromise” background check proposal failed to attract the 60 votes necessary to clear a filibuster hurdle in the Democrat-controlled Senate. I emphasize “Democrat-controlled Senate” in both the heading and the first line here for good reason. When gun control advocates begin to chastise Republicans for refusing to get behind these proposals, it should be known that Democrats in the Senate failed to muster enough support to bring this proposal to a vote – even with GOP Senators McCain, Collins, Kirk, and co-sponsor Toomey voting YES.
In addition to Toomey, GOP Sens. John McCain, Susan Collins, and Mark Kirk voted yes on the amendment.
The background check legislation, championed by Democrat Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Republican Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, received only 54 votes, six short of the 60 needed to clear a threatened filibuster. In the 24 hours leading up to the vote, President Barack Obama and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., along with her husband, Mark Kelly, had personally lobbied on-the-fence senators or those who had declared themselves as “no” votes. But those efforts failed.
The political ramifications…
WASHINGTON TIMES: The vote is a major disappointment for President Obama, who had called not only for universal background checks but also for bans on some types of firearms and on high-capacity ammunition magazines. Both of those proposals were expected to be defeated later Wednesday.
The defeat not only dooms what had become the “sweet spot” of gun legislation, as co-sponsor Sen. Charles E. Schumer described enhanced background checks, but creates significant logistical problems for broader gun measures.
The amendment from Sens. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat, and Patrick J. Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican, was meant to replace more far-reaching language in the underlying bill from Mr. Schumer. The New York Democrat had wanted universal background checks on virtually all gun sales — a measure considered a non-starter with most Republicans and some Democrats.
Opponents of the amendment said that it would do nothing to stop gun violence, could infringe on the Second Amendment rights on law-abiding citizens and “would be a first step on the path to a national gun registry,” said Sen. Mike Johanns, Nebraska Republican.
If a background check proposal is DOA, I find it extremely difficult to imagine another measure clearing the Senate. This proposal was seen as the one area of relative agreement between and among senators from both parties. The fact that it failed probably means the gun control debate is now tabled for the time being. I say – for now – only because we’re but another tragedy or crisis away from once again seeing this overly reactive legislative agenda revisited.