Senate Republicans reject tighter background checks, ban on assault weapons

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 8:08pm
Staff and Associated Press reports

Senate Republicans backed by a small band of rural-state Democrats scuttled the most far-reaching gun control legislation in two decades Wednesday, rejecting tighter background checks for buyers and a ban on assault weapons as they spurned pleas from families of victims of last winter's school massacre in Newtown, Conn.

Tennessee Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker both voted against the key bipartisan Toomey-Manchin amendment.

After the vote, Alexander said, “I’m examining every amendment to gun legislation to see whether it infringes upon or strengthens Second Amendment constitutional rights.

“I voted against the so-called ‘assault weapons’ ban because it clearly infringes on Second Amendment rights, and I voted against the Toomey-Manchin amendment because it could easily evolve into a national gun registry.”

Of his vote, Corker said, “Like most Americans, I want to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and dangerous mentally ill people. Today I supported the Grassley amendment to enhance mental health reporting requirements, which I believe is the central issue, and to improve the background check system in a way that is not an impediment to Second Amendment rights.”

Corker added, “Unfortunately, the Toomey-Manchin amendment overly burdens a law abiding citizen’s ability to exercise his or her Second Amendment rights and creates uncertainty about what is and is not a criminal offense when it comes to gun ownership.”

"This effort isn't over," President Barack Obama vowed at the White House moments after the defeat on one of his top domestic priorities. Surrounded by Newtown relatives, he said opponents of the legislation in both parties "caved to the pressure" of special interests.

A ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines also fell in a series of showdown votes four months after a gunman killed 20 elementary school children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary.

A bid to loosen restrictions on concealed weapons carried across state lines was rejected, as well.

That last vote marked a rare defeat for the National Rifle Association on a day it generally triumphed over Obama, gun control advocates and many of the individuals whose lives have been affected by mass shootings in Connecticut and elsewhere.

Some of them watched from the spectator galleries above the Senate floor. "Shame on you," shouted one, Patricia Maisch, who was present two years ago when a gunman in Tucson, Ariz., killed six and wounded 13 others, including former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Vice President Joe Biden gaveled the Senate back into order after the breach of decorum.

Gun control advocates, including Obama, had voiced high hopes for significant action after the Newtown shootings. But the lineup of possible legislation gradually dwindled to a focus on background checks, and in the end even that could not win Senate passage. Chances in the Republican-controlled House had seemed even slimmer.

By agreement of Senate leaders, a 60-vote majority was required for approval of any of the provisions brought to a vote.

The vote on the background check was 54-46, well short of the 60 votes needed to advance. Forty-one Republicans and five Democrats voted to reject the plan.

The proposed ban on assault weapons commanded 40 votes; the bid to block sales of high capacity ammunition clips drew 46.

The NRA-backed proposal on concealed carry permits got 57.

In the hours before the key vote on background checks, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) bluntly accused the National Rifle Association of making false claims about the expansion of background checks that he and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) were backing.

"Where I come from in West Virginia, I don't know how to put the words any plainer than this: That is a lie. That is simply a lie," he said, accusing the organization of telling its supporters that friends, neighbors and some family members would need federal permission to transfer ownership of firearms to one another.

The NRA did not respond immediately to the charge, but issued a statement after the vote that restated the claim. The proposal "would have criminalized certain private transfers of firearms between honest citizens, requiring lifelong friends, neighbors and some family members to get federal government permission to exercise a fundamental right or face prosecution," said a statement from Chris Cox, a top lobbyist for the group.

Said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) "Expanded background checks would not have prevented Newtown. Criminals do not submit to background checks."

Even before the votes, the administration signaled the day's events would not be the last word on an issue that Democratic leaders shied away from for nearly two decades until Obama picked up on it after the Newtown shootings.

Biden's presence was a purely symbolic move since each proposal required a 60-vote majority to pass and he would not be called upon to break any ties. Democratic aides said in advance the issue would be brought back to the Senate in the future, giving gun control supporters more time to win over converts to change the outcome.

Obama, standing near Giffords and relatives of other shooting victims, said at the White House public opinion was strongly behind expanded background checks. Despite that, opponents of the legislation were "worried that the gun lobby would spend a lot of money" at the next election, he said.

"So all in all this was a pretty shameful day for Washington," he added.

The day's key test concerned the background checks, designed to prevent criminals and the seriously mentally ill from purchasing firearms. Under current law, checks are required only when guns are purchased from federally licensed firearms dealers. The proposal by Manchin and Toomey called for extending the requirement to other sales at gun shows and on the Internet.

On the vote, Democratic Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska and Max Baucus of Montana joined Pryor and Heitkamp in voting against the proposal. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a supporter of the plan, switched his vote to the prevailing “no” side to permit him to call for a revote in the future.

Begich, Pryor and Baucus are all seeking re-election next year. In an indication of the intensity of the feelings on the issue, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a liberal group, swiftly announced it would seek to defeat them in 2014.

Among Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Mark Kirk of Illinois, John McCain of Arizona and Toomey sided with Democrats.

Numerous polls in recent months have shown support for enhanced gun control measures, including background checks, though it may be weakening.

An Associated Press-GfK poll this month showed that 49 percent of Americans support stricter gun laws, down from 58 percent in January. In that recent survey, 38 percent said they want the laws to remain the same and 10 percent want them eased.

Obama has made enactment of greater curbs a priority on his domestic agenda in the months since the massacre at Newtown, making several trips outside Washington to try and build support. Last week, he traveled to Connecticut, and he invited several parents to fly back to Washington with him aboard Air Force One so they could personally lobby lawmakers.

To an unusual degree for professional politicians, some senators said afterward that they had not wanted to meet with the mothers and fathers of the dead, or said it was difficult to look at photographs that the parents carried of their young children, now dead.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said before Wednesday's vote, "I think that in some cases, the president has used them as props, and that disappoints me."

Without referring to Paul by name, Obama rebutted him firmly. "Do we really think that thousands of families whose lives have been shattered by gun violence don't have a right to weigh in on this issue?" he said.

At the White House, press secretary Jay Carney said some of them had met earlier in the day with lawmakers, who he said should "consider who they're representing.

"Ninety percent of the American people support expanded background checks," he said.

The NRA told lawmakers it intended to keep track of how the votes were cast, and consider them in making decisions about its efforts in the midterm elections for Congress next year.

An opposing group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, funded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said it would do likewise.

The NRA has a long track record in electoral politics, and is viewed by lawmakers in both political parties as unusually effective. Bloomberg's organization has yet to be tested.

In the AP-GfK poll, among independents, support for stricter gun laws dipped from 60 percent in January to 40 percent now. About three-fourths of Democrats supported them then and now, while backing among Republicans for looser laws about doubled to 19 percent.

The survey was conducted from April 11-15 by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications. It involved landline and cellphone interviews with 1,004 randomly chosen adults and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

43 Comments on this post:

By: Libertine on 4/17/13 at 7:14

A good day for America, Americans, and our civil rights.

By: pswindle on 4/17/13 at 10:00

Are you kidding me, they voted against the bill? They have given such lame excuses for not supporting the bill. Haslam's friend, Corker, is hanging on to their friendship and hoping for a rebate. Alexandra has spent too many nights in Washington DC. He needs to come home. Is this what TN really wants ? How many children are killed over accidental guns?

By: Rasputin72 on 4/17/13 at 10:47

This is another small victory for the America that I pledged allegiance as a child.

This is also a victory for the addled brained and the underclass criminal element.

More guns being made available gives the addled brained and underclass more access to stolen and easily accessed weapons.

Terrorists, physcos,criminals,and people with diversity issues and unrealistic expectations
are multiplying at a pretty rapid clip. The well intentioned are beginning to believe that guns are their only chance to repel those that. are the face of a new America.

Sad indeed, but unabashedly true.

By: Libertine on 4/18/13 at 5:02

These bills were nothing but modern day Jim Crow type laws trying to repress the civil rights of Americans. None of these laws would have prevented the Newtown massacre.

The first lady used the murder of Hadiya Pendleton in a call to pass these bills when Chicago already prohibits all the items in the bills, plus much more, and still there is carnage in the streets and it is illegal for law abiding innocents to defend themselves.

Tennesseans were overwhelmingly opposed to these bills and our Senators did right by them.

By: Libertine on 4/18/13 at 5:08

The title of this article is mis-leading, enough Republicans voted for the bill to pass it, not enough Democrats voted in favor to pass it.

It is a shame that the expansion of carry rights failed.

By: govskeptic on 4/18/13 at 5:10

Maybe the headline should read rejected by a Bipartisan Senate, since it was truly
bipartisan rejection, note that 6 democrats voted with the Republicans. The
President calls bills passed "Bipartisan" when he gets only one Republican
vote on a bill's passage. Even Senator Reid voted against the main part of
this bill with it's 7, mostly partisan, amendments that were all rejected.

The problem is that logical solutions are by passed for political posturing
versus attempts to structure bills that will truly work to make a difference.

By: Ask01 on 4/18/13 at 5:14

The argument by weapons advocates has been the overused, 'guns don't kill people, people kill people.'

They have also parroted, ad naseum, every non sequiter argument about banning automobiles, knives, baseball bats, pressure cookers, and every other every day article which could be used to harm someone.

Perhaps the closest they have come to a reasonable argument is the now obviously insincere observation that those with mental illnesses should not have access to guns.

How best to start screening out the mentally ill? More in depth background checks seem a natural starting point. A minimal psych evaluation would be even better, but that's another rant.

When the NRA and minions had the opportunity to champion such legislation, what happened? They showed their true colors and balked.

So, just a simple question for the gun advocates (so as not to confuse them.)

How do you propose to identify those mental defectives who should not be allowed guns? No mindless rhetoric, no spouting party line, no simplto reciting of the Second Amendment.

Just a plain, workable plan to identify the mentally ill and unstable. (Preferably without arousing suspicion about your own stability.)

I have to go to work, so please don't step on the chirping crickets filling in the silence.

By: yogiman on 4/18/13 at 5:48

How many children will be prevented from being killed by a gun from a background check, pswindle?

By: yogiman on 4/18/13 at 5:57

Ask01,

The young man who did the murderous act in Newtown was a known mentally ill. How did he get his weapons? He killed his mother and took her guns.

So tell me, since he had already been determined to be mentally ill, how would a law denying him the right to own a gun stop him from killing those children and their teachers?

By: Jughead on 4/18/13 at 6:28

Thank you. Only retards believe this would do ANYTHING to stop insane people from killing.

Obama is a shameful piece of garbage. I disliked Clinton, but I hate this moron Hussein---and all who support him.

By: Jughead on 4/18/13 at 6:28

Balls.

By: Kosh III on 4/18/13 at 6:30

Juggie hates everyone.

By: Rocket99 on 4/18/13 at 7:07

Explaine to me how requiring background checks steps on the 2nd amendment.

I guess there are some out there who want every living, breating human being to have a gun regardless of their mental stability and criminal background.

By: amoobrasil on 4/18/13 at 7:15

I doubt that Lamar or Alexander will explain to us why their keeping their seats in the Senate is more precious in value than are the lives that will be lost as a consequence of their votes.

By: C.A.Jones on 4/18/13 at 7:42

Rocket99, What if you were required to have a background check done before posting your opinions on the internet? What if you were required to get a permit and background check before carrying a sign in front of the Capital building? Would that infringe on your FREE SPEECH? Seems to me it would. The 2nd Am says that my right to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. Any legislation that adds another hurdle, another barrier, or adds laws that makes me a criminal for owning my personal firearms is indeed infringing on my Constitutional Rights.

Ask01, What single piece of legislation would have stopped Newtown? Certainly not a single one what was rejected yesterday would have stopped that. I can think of only one.... Armed security a the school. The terrorist would have been stopped before he got started. But instead many Americans choose to live in fear of firearms and choose to not have any near their children at all, even if to protect them.

Jughead, Right on!

By: morpheus120 on 4/18/13 at 8:04

This legislation was filibustered and there was no vote - the GOP is afraid to have a vote.

Close to 90% of the American people support legislation with background checks.

America is being held hostage by a radical minority who distorts the Constitution about the meaning of the Second Amendment and who supports liberal gun laws that the Founding Fathers would roll their eyes at.

Pathetic and sick. It is time to put the NRA down like the mad dog that it is.

By: Loner on 4/18/13 at 8:08

Money talks...Bullshit walks.

The Senate Republicans act as a single entity...no strays in that thick-skinned herd of NRA-trained elephants. The five stray jackasses in the Democratic Party need to be targeted in the primaries...they are filthy...got to be on the take... these five asinine fellas are behaving like GOP pachyderms....beasts of burden for the NRA and the guns & ammo industry.

This defeat of the will of the people, at the hands of the powerful special interests, represents the future of our experiment in representative democracy. Get used to it.

The USSC's decision on Citizens United has removed all of the checks, balances and safeties that once protected the people's stake in government and kept bribery under some degree of control....this sort of slap in the face to public opinion is the shameful result.

Internal corruption, not foreign armies will destroy the American Experiment....we are on the road to perdition....thanks to the Bush family's legacies on the Supreme Court.

By: morpheus120 on 4/18/13 at 8:22

Nobody disputes the right to keep and bear arms to hunt or to defend your home, but the NRA supports liberal gun laws that go far beyond what the intent of the Second Amendment is.

And here's an example of why.

I had a friend back in college who was an avid "gun rights" advocate and NRA member. This fellow, we'll call him "Clint", also happened to be an asshole (in my experience, every NRA member I've ever met fits that description to a T).

One night, a few of us went out partying with Clint at the local watering hole. While the rest of us were trying to hook up or were talking about classes or sports or music, Clint got rip-roaring drunk and start running his mouth about politics and trying to instigate other people in the bar who were complete strangers to him. On this night, one of the more liberal students took his bait and started debating him. Clint was in over his head, like he always was when it came to debating a Democrat. Anyway, Clint took it personally and threatened to kick the liberal's ass and wanted to "take it outside". The pansy liberal finished his beer, followed Clint outside and they fought. Clint got the shit kicked out of him and that girly liberal barely had a scratch on him. He walked back inside and presumably ordered another beer.

After scraping himself off the curb, Clint freaked out, ran to his car and tried to get his gun. We stopped him and got him home.

THIS is why Conservatives need to have guns and carry permits. They run their mouths and aren't ready for people to push back and dust them off. Like all bullies, the only way these people can win is to cheat - just like Clint tried to by going to get his gun after losing a fair fistfight. In my experience, Conservatives are simply loud-mouthed cowards who are afraid of everyone (Muslims, gays, blacks, women) and need to have something to feel safe because they can't win fights (physically or rhetorically) when the odds are even. This theory doesn't just hold for American conservatives, it can apply to conservatives all over the world - including Al Qaeda, who are conservatives who simply read a different bible.

As you might imagine, today, Clint is one of the dead-enders who thinks President Obama is a Muslim/socialist/etc who is trying to take away his guns. Clint's an alcoholic who has been divorced three times and has done time for domestic abuse. I wonder how many other of the hardcore "gun rights" advocates fit some of the same psychological profile of ol' Clint...

By: wasaw on 4/18/13 at 8:40

When I first learned last night that the skinny Muslim couldn't get enough of his own minions to vote his way, I couldn't wait till this morning to read the crying of the momma's boys; "pswindle" and "Ask01".

Fella's, we understand that you two have never seen a liberal cause you didn't like, but you've got to give all the blame to your Dem Senators, who failed to carry the mail for His Highness. Even Read voted against it; so he can bring it up again. If he does, the legislation will fail even worse than it did yesterday. The vote wasn't even close. What will His Honor offer to the six Senators whose votes he needs?. I can tell you this; he will sell you and I down the river to get hiis way. Even the NRA backed proposal received more votes that His Honor's.

Did you two really think this legislation had any chance of getting through the House of Reprensentatives? This isn't 2009, when His Highness had a majority in both the Congress and Senate. Wake up gentlemen, we still live in America. You two can be assured that His Highness will continue to work to chip away at our rights as United States citizens.

Gentlemen, if you two don't stand for something, you both will fall for anything; as you have shown us all that you have already. Ask yourself why you two are in the minority here, on this issue. But when I think about it, you two are always on the ultra liberal side of most issues.

By: RustyACE on 4/18/13 at 8:47

Why do we fight so hard to protect the constitution.

Did you know that the last Article only became in effect 5/7/1992?

Did you know that without the constitution 18 year olds couldn't vote?

That Women couldn't vote?

That Black people couldn't vote?

The constituition is a breathing, living document, that represents we the people.

We the people have a history of Tyrannical governments taking over, and suppressing the people. Therefore, when it was originally written, the right to bear arms and protect one's self, family, property from the government was the entire reason that it was written.

Cars kill more people than any other man made device today. You don't see limits on how much capacity you can fit on a vehicle? Background checks to buy and sell cars? etc.

The first amendment and the second amendments go hand in hand. Without the one, you don't have the other.

The fact that we are free to express our opinion on this public forum is a protected right, just as our right to bear arms and protect ourselves from the goverment.

So KUDOS to our Republican leaders, who stood up and did the right thing.

By: slzy on 4/18/13 at 8:48

Morpheus,Clint is a drunk not a Conservative.

By: pswindle on 4/18/13 at 8:49

morpheus120,
Well said, and it makes sense of the gun-toting conservatives that I know. Their solution is always backed-up with a gun.

By: brrrrk on 4/18/13 at 9:28

Jughead said

"Thank you. Only retards believe this would do ANYTHING to stop insane people from killing."

I agree.... we should make sure that the rights of insane people to get guns are just as protected as the rights of sane people to get guns.....

By: talktotennessee on 4/18/13 at 10:04

TN Senators Corker and Alexander decided its okay to let 'nuts' have guns. TN has an open door policy, "Welcome to Tennessee's open gun shows where any idiot can buy a gun." "We supply everyone. "Don't care who you are!" That includes those who kill law enforcement personnel and children!"
Note the Senate MAJORITY voted FOR background checks, as the MAJORITY of responsible citizens want. Remember, Senators, your constituents support background checks and will remember at election time. It will cost YOUR special interests and lobbyists, the NRA, a little more campaiign funding to buy you into office next time around. The people you were elected to represent want representation OF THE PEOPLE AND FOR THE PEOPLE!

By: kevin47881 on 4/18/13 at 10:27

It's a good day today (to quote the Goodwill commercial).
Since assault weapons have essentially been banned for several decades, that aspect was a farce to begin with.

By: yogiman on 4/18/13 at 10:48

Rockett99,

That "check" program will just give the federal government one more step to take guns away from law abiding citizens in a move to take over the nation.

If you want to be under their rule, fine. I like my independence.

I have never read, or heard, of a law abiding citizen shoot, or kill anyone except in self defense. I have also never heard, or read, of a criminal shooting or killing someone except in offense. And has been proven in decades of our nation, criminals have gotten guns without worrying about proving they are eligible to get it; either by purchase or theft.

By: brrrrk on 4/18/13 at 11:11

yogiman said

"I have never read, or heard, of a law abiding citizen shoot, or kill anyone except in self defense."

DUH!!! Everyone is a "law abiding citizen" until they break the law...

By: GUARDIAN on 4/18/13 at 11:32

Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker need to come home for the good of Tennessee...no more fake Conservatives...the Second Amendment should of never been put up for debate or a vote .. GUARDIAN-GOD, COUNTRY, FAMILY and FRIENDS. The American Way.

By: tucker on 4/18/13 at 11:55

WOW!!!! I don't believe the selfishness and nonsence I'm reading here from a bunch of adults. Whatever happened to protecting our children and ourselves. Our personal rights to bear arms as sane people is not affected, get over yourselves and lets start some where to protect our children. I hope the State of Tennessee takes notice how our senators chose to vote and how they are choosing to assure their re election rather than protect us. Shameful day for American Politics and Washington. Thank You to those parents and individuals who went to Washington to make their voices heard and shame on those that didn't listen.

concerned mother of children

By: whitegravy on 4/18/13 at 1:20

Our govt is run by a bunch of LAWYERS who think that the answer to all societal issues is to LEGISLATE them out of existence......TWEAKING the constitution is not an acceptable way of handling guns......the laws we have are sufficient....the founders had it right....we seek to thwart any tyranny, foreign or domestic and protect our way of life and loved ones....there are more guns in this country than people.....we EXPORT guns around the world and its an MULTIBILLION dollar business....once again its not about the murder/mayhem that guns cause domestically( which is SMALL statistacally for a 350 MILLION PLUS population).......but about the BIG money in gun sales.....CAPITALIST GREED will ultimately be AMERICAS down-fall as we SELL our souls/economy to the devil....in the meantime, keep your friends close, your enemies closer, and your GUN RIGHT AT HAND...

By: ancienthighway on 4/18/13 at 1:25

For years the NRA has tried to get lawmakers to change their focus from gun control to background checks. This year the government does, and the NRA in just one month changed it's tune to background checks are a violation of the 2nd Amendment. Now it's all about the entertainment media.

While I agree that there is no law possible to stop a gun assault and tragedy of mass shootings, I don't see how anyone can support mentally ill people from legally buying guns. Or a convicted felon. Or a spouse or child abuser.

Background checks don't check for haters, so Tennesseans that can pretend they are sane and covered up criminal records should have no problem getting their guns.

By: David_S on 4/18/13 at 4:42

Yet another thread chalk-full of people arguing these laws would have made us safer, yet never explaining exactly HOW these laws would have made us safer. That's okay. Just keep yelling "it's for the children" at the top of your lungs and see where that gets you...

By: Ask01 on 4/18/13 at 6:11

C.A. Jones, can the rant and rhetoric. Your ravings are ignored.

Answer the question.

What plan do you propose to screen out the mentally ill and prevent them from having weapons? What better way than a background check?

Perhaps you believe, deep down, even the mentally ill should not have their rights infringed upon when the subject is firearms.

I believe the true reason gun owners fear any mental health exam is the screening would preclude them from owning a gun. Then they would have to back up the braggart boast of only giving up their weapon from their cold dead hand with action.

Perhaps though, on the other hand, they are all indeed compensating for a whole host of other inadequacies.

Again, answer the question of how to screen out the mentally ill from having guns.

If you can't, you have nothing of substance to say.

By: Ask01 on 4/18/13 at 8:02

Poor David_S.

He cannot fathom that background checks would at least provide some slim chance of identifying someone with mental illnesses, providing some opportunity of preventing them fro legally acquirin firearms.

No law can prevent a tragedy nor will any law prevent someone from illegally obtaining most any weapon they wish if they are determined.

Background checks would, however, provide a chance to keep someone dangerous from legally buying a weapon.

Anyone with a relatively clean background and stable mentality should have nothing to fear.

I wonder what terrible secrets all those bemoaning background checks have to hide which strikes such unreasoning fear in their hearts?

Anyone of you big brave gun toting folks want to outline your plan?

The floor is still open and the question lingers unanswered.

By: Ask01 on 4/18/13 at 8:04

An excellent point, brrrk.

No one wishes to discuss all those who were legal gun owners right up to the point they became criminals by misusing their weapons.

By: Libertine on 4/19/13 at 9:18

It is illegal now to transfer a firearm to a mentally defective or felon. This law does nothing but inconvenience law abiding gun owners.

Would the same person that is illegally providing a firearm to a prohibited person now not do it if this law had passed.

Why should it be illegal for me and my hunting buddy to swap guns? Why should we have to go to a gun store and pay for background checks on one another and be required to keep the records forever? How many gun dealers would even be willing to go through the hassle for us? Why not exempt permit holders since they have been properly vetted? Why not provide a free method using the internet for background checks?

Why? Because it is just more laws to harass law abiding gun owners with no effect on those already breaking the law by providing prohibited persons with firearms.

By: Ask01 on 4/19/13 at 6:49

I fail to see how enhanced background and mental health checks are detrimental to law abiding gun owner or would be gun owners.

If a citizen has a reasonably clean background and no severe mental incapacity, what do they fear?

The NRA and gun owners have screamed loud and long that guns are not the problem, that mentally ill people are the issue.

Instead of seeking to ban or limit handguns and ammunition or worse, confiscate all firearms, the proposal was to address the very issue gun owners wanted, mental illness.

The result? They fight the legislation they have harped on incessantly.

If the anti gun faction decides to push for total confiscation when the mood of the country changes yet again, firearms enthusiasts will have only themselves to blame.

By: Libertine on 4/20/13 at 6:00

Did you read the bill Ask? There is no "enhancement" of background checks. The exact same system used now remains as is. There is no mental health provision in the bill. Right in the text of the bill it says that 1.6 million potential buyers have been rejected by the present system. What it doesn't say is that only a few dozen of the 1.6 million have been prosecuted for illegally trying to buy a gun. As far as mental health goes Obamacare prevents mental health records from being submitted into the present background check system.

This week President Obama signed an executive order for his staff to try and find a work around to his own Obamacare laws, but he and Eric Holder still refuse to prosecute people who try to buy guns illegally and fail the current background checks. Adam Lanza failed a background check and was prevented from buying a gun. The Virgina Tech shooter would have failed a background check, had the government updated the background check database.

With the laws on the books today it is illegal to buy a gun on the internet without a background check, it is illegal to buy a gun from out of state, it is illegal for anyone to transfer a gun to a mental defective or criminal.

All this legislation does is suppress the civil rights of gun owners, much like the Jim Crow laws of the 19th and 20th century suppressed the civil rights of blacks. All of the ridiculous fees are analogous to poll taxes.

By: Ask01 on 4/20/13 at 8:09

I confess I have not read the entire bill and attached riders and amendments.

I have read news reports, but mostly support the concept of tighter more comprehensive background checks and really endorse in depth mental health evaluations to prevent or at least deter the legal purchase of firearms by those who should not have weapons.

An inconvenience? Yes, perhaps, but so are all the enhanced security checks required to board an airplane, but necessary for everyone's safety. Just like better background and mental health checks for buying guns.

The alternative is people deciding the only way to curb gun violence is a total ban, which I do not support.

(Don't toss out the Constitution argument. So many other rights have had limits imposed, I won't even listen.)

By: Libertine on 4/20/13 at 4:09

Do you support 'in depth mental health evaluations' for other Constitutional rights as well?

What does an 'in depth mental health evaluation' entail?

By: Ask01 on 4/20/13 at 8:31

Well, Libertine, if those other Constitutional rights involve something as potentially dangerous as a mentally deficient individual, yes, I do.

What does an "in depth mental health evaluation" entail? To be honest, not working in that field, I'm sure my laymans explanation would be inadequate.

I would propose the evaluation be similar to those used when conducting investigations for Top Secret security clearances and special access programs. This would include a battery of standard tests which have been developed over decades of research and cover all aspects of a person's life. Also, interviewing individuals who could provide insight into the applicants mental make up, stability, and past aberrant behaviors.

All paid for by the applicant, of course.

Or, since most communities have some sort of mental health facilities, an affadavit from one of the staff psychologists confirming or questioning the persons mental stability would probably suffice. At least we would have someone held responsible for certifying an individual to possess a weapon.

By: Libertine on 4/21/13 at 6:05

Perhaps we should have the same standards for voting, running for office or publishing books?

You see the problem here, the test could be designed so no one qualifies. Perhaps if you have on antidepressants at anytime in your life you wouldn't qualify or if you had been to a psychologist for any reason?

It is a civil right spelled out as an individual right in the Constitution and confirmed as an individual right by the Supreme Court and even President Obama.

By: rugate on 4/21/13 at 12:24

"If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but not for being in the country illegally ...you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots."

This is just one of the reasons our Congress has lost so much respect.