Republicans successfully derailed the passage of gun legislation last week in the last moments when passage looked likely. The 54 votes in favor, fell short of the 60 needed to break yet another filibuster. Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said it would have passed if the NRA didn’t score it. The NRA score scared enough senators to oppose it, rather than risk reprisals from pro-gunners come election time. Most headlines called these folks “cowards.”
Let’s be clear, this was not good legislation anyway. It was full of holes and, if passed, would have been meaningless. For example, gun show sellers could just walk outside the gun show building and sell guns in the parking lot. Family members and friends could sell guns to each other without any background checks.
Make no mistake about it, this is a partisan fight. 90 percent of the Democrats voted for the bill; 90 percent of the Republicans voted against it. However, a few courageous Republicans did break ranks.
Universal background checks, a ban on military weapons in civilian hands, large capacity magazine bullet clips, and keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally unstable have nothing to do with the second amendment. Guns have changed since colonial times, and so should the laws. Back then, militias were needed to suppress British loyalists, to keep the slave population in control, and to fight off marauding Indians. Able-bodied men were conscripted when needed. Today, we have a standing army, the National Guard, and well-established police forces all across the country. Militias are a thing of the past.
How is it that Republicans can bow to the NRA membership of 4 million, while they put budgets on the table that will gut Social Security and Medicare whose benefits help over 35 million AARP seniors? Let’s start a Senior Score system and use that come election time.
Social activist and filmmaker Michael Moore, says we should show the pictures of the massacres if we want effective gun laws. Showing pictures of the horror of war was enough to turn the tide of the Vietnam War and get us out. We didn’t see the horror of the Afghanistan or Iraq wars because the Bush Administration censored it. Maybe it’s time for billboards showing massacres such as that at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Maybe that’s the catalyst we need to move Congress to act.