I was pleasantly surprised last week when the Manchin-Toomey marriage produced a compromise gun control legislation. When the expected filibuster was turned back, I thought there was a chance that the Senate could well pass this legislation. But no, today one of the bills authors, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WVA) announced that the 60 votes needed are not present. Even a watered down bill is DOA.
It has been well publicized that polls show that 90% of Americans favor background checks. That kind of support is simply not enough in today’s world where money talks louder. Even a small minority can stymie common sense progress. This is bad news for our democratic system of government.
Even more disturbing: Senators Manchin and Toomey are both card-carrying members of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and have “A” ratings. Yet the NRA took no time in attacking one of their own. Today on “Morning Joe,” Senator Manchin let viewers know that the NRA is telling members that the legislation would “criminalize the private transfer of firearms by private citizens.” This statement is a complete lie since the Manchin-Toomey bill does not even address private sales.
I personally have had it. I am sick of the NRA and their leadership that value guns more than human life. The same goes for Senate Democrats that are hoping to use the vote to help win more seats in the 2014 mid-term elections. Really Majority Leader Reid, you think a vote on the Senate floor is that important?
The time has come to fight back. A group needs to be formed, and well-funded, that can attracted all Americans who want sensible gun control measures in place. Maybe Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the organization started by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, can be that group? It certainly is not Hand Gun Control, Inc. They have had their chance and that model is a failure.
This new group must be capable of peeling members away from the NRA whose views are far more centrist as compared with their leadership. And there must be a lot of money to give to Congressional campaigns as well as provide organizational support. Democrats and Republicans need to be recruited to run against the those members of Congress who are beholden to the extreme positions of NRA leadership, regardless of party leadership.
On a personal note, I grew up in northeast Ohio and hunted for small game for years. I still own my 20 gauge shotgun. If people want to hunt, enjoy target practice, and even own a handgun that is safely stored at home, I say have at it. But they need to pass a background check first.
When it is harder to buy decongestants at a drug store than a gun at a gun show that can kill other human beings, a line must be drawn. Even the Supreme Court recently ruled that New York State’s handgun control laws are constitutional. Take that Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)!
To me, it does not even matter what the final vote is today in the Senate. We already know that majority will can be thwarted by a small, well-funded group, who can spread disinformation and money at a moment’s notice.
Our democracy is under attack. It is now time to stand up and fight for our country and the sanctity of human life. We can not let fear and lies carry the day. We cannot let more innocent people die in vain.