Why Democrats Should Settle On Gun Control Baby Steps


Boulder, Colorado-March 22: On Monday, March 23, 2021, in Boulder, Colorado, mourners visit where gunmen fired at a grocery store in King Super. The attack killed 10 people.  (Photo by Chet Strange / Getty Images)

A mourner visited a gunman’s fire at a grocery store in King Supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, killing 10 people in an attack on March 22. (Chet Strange / Getty Images)

Sometime this spring, in an attempt to do something about gun control, the U.S. Senate revived a bill requiring people who buy guns from unlicensed dealers to undergo a federal background check, often ” It fills a gap called the “loophole in the firearms trade fair”. .. “

If it passes, this very modest measure makes buying a gun a bit more difficult for criminals, people with mental illness, and others who shouldn’t roam our city with guns. National Rifle Association. You will scream about the fictitious threat to the Second Amendment. And liberals who support strict European firearms regulations will be disgusted by the painfully narrow ambitions of the bill.

But as long as the Senate’s proposal is limited, “this will be the most important background check expansion in 28 years,” said Jim Kessler, a centrist political group who has been working on gun control for decades. Told me last week.

And that’s why the fight to get through it is worth it.

Under current law, anyone who buys a gun from a gun store or other authorized dealer must pass a federal background check. This process usually takes less than 2 minutes.

However, in most states, anyone who buys a gun from an unlicensed dealer, including sellers who list their products on the Internet, does not have to pass a background check. Survey According to researchers at Northeastern University, it is estimated that 22% of guns are sold as such. For example, the weapons used in the 2019 mass shootings in Midland, Texas and Odessa. (On the other hand, this month’s shooting suspects in Georgia and Colorado clearly pass federal background checks and do not meet the requirements. Panacea.)

The· House of Representatives Last month, a stronger bill was passed that required a background check on almost anyone who got a gun through personal sales, loans, gifts, etc., except for direct family acquisitions.

But the bill cannot pass the Senate. Two Democratic senators, Joe Manchin III in West Virginia and Jon Tester in Montana, said they thought it was too wide.

Manchins and testers are not the only obstacles. The Senate’s Filibuster Rule requires approval from 60 out of 100 members to advance legislation — and the current 50-50 Senate requires at least 10 Republicans. It means that.

So we Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) Prohibit assault weapons. Feinstein’s bill has gained public support from just 36 members of the current Senate, far from the majority.

In light of these realities, Senate leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) urged his allies to find a compromise that could attract Republican support. Manchin and Senator Patrick J. A friend written by Toomey (R-Pa.).

“It’s modest,” Toomey admitted last week. Still, he added, it’s “very difficult” to collect 10 Republican votes. In 2013, when Manchin-Toomey last voted, only four Republican senators supported it.

And why is this year different?

Schumer’s chief Democratic scout on the issue, Senator Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut, said Republicans could be movable this time due to increased public support for gun control.

“The NRA’s powers are declining. The effects of the anti-gun violence movement are increasing,” he claimed. “I think there is a chance.”

He is at least partially correct. A Pew Research Center Survey In 2019, general support for stricter gun control was shown to increase.

In addition, identification support is widespread. A Pew poll found that 88% of voters, including 82% of Republicans, were in favor of this concept.

It doesn’t move Republicans from gun owners, well-organized, and loudly noisy local states.

But the Democratic promotion is aimed at moderate voters, especially Republican senators in urban and suburban states who need help from women to retain their seats, namely Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who will be re-elected next year. And. In 2018, 17 people were killed in a shooting at a high school in Florida. 1 vote It turns out that 96% of Floridians support identification.

If the Republican Party sinks the bill, Schumer plans to use it against the Republican Party in next year’s campaign.

“There will be a vote,” he promised last week. “They are feeling the heat … they can’t hide anymore.”

So, from Schumer’s point of view, this is a useful fight — win or lose? And putting Republicans on the hotseat gives Democrats another reason to support the compromise. Even if it’s not much tougher than many of them like.

This story was originally Los Angeles Times..

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