From the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence:
[the link is to here]
by Alec MacGillis, New Republic, May 28, 2013
On April 17, the bill to expand background checks on gun buyers failed in the Senate, and the fatalistic shrugs in Washington were so numerous they were nearly audible. The legislation had been a modest bipartisan compromise, supported by 90 percent of the public and lobbied for hard by the president. A group backed by Michael Bloomberg had spent $12 million on ads pressuring senators to vote “yes.” When the bill fell short—by just five votes—it seemed to confirm a Beltway article of faith: There’s no point messing with the National Rifle Association (NRA). And that, many assumed, was the last we’d be hearing about gun reform.
But then something unexpected happened. Some of the senators who’d voted “no” faced furious voters back home. Even before Erica Lafferty, the daughter of murdered Sandy Hook Elementary principal Dawn Hochsprung, confronted New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte at a particularly tense town hall, Ayotte’s disapproval rating in the state had jumped from 35 to 46 percent—half the respondents said her “no” vote made them less likely to support her.1 In Pennsylvania, which has the second-highest concentration of NRA members in the country, the bill’s Republican co-sponsor, Pat Toomey, saw his approval reach a record high. One of the country’s best-known gun-rights advocates, Robert Levy, said the NRA’s “stonewalling of the background-check proposal was a mistake, both politically and substantively.”2
In the Senate, the backlash had an effect. Some Republicans who had opposed the bill, such as Johnny Isakson of Georgia and Jeff Flake of Arizona, signaled they might be open to changing their minds. Majority Leader Harry Reid, once a dependable NRA ally, spoke about taking the rare step of bringing the bill back for another vote. Senator Joe Manchin, the bill’s Democratic co-sponsor, is still actively courting support from his colleagues. “It’s not going away,” he told me.
Why did these developments take so many elected officials and pundits by surprise? As New York Times columnist Tom Edsall has pointed out, political science research shows that politicians consistently overestimate the conservatism of their constituents. But in this case, there was something more debilitating at work. The political class often lets old assumptions blind it to shifting realities.3 And the absolute power of the NRA is one of the oldest and least-tested assumptions in Washington….
continue reading and follow links at New Republic
by Tom Buglio, West Chester Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence
I know all of you, including myself, were hugely disappointed that the Senate, with their arcane rules kowtowing to the will of the minority (i.e., the filibuster) voted 54 to 46 for the passage of the gun safety bill.
Yes, a majority voted for the bill, but they need 60 votes these days when men like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, etc., threaten a filibuster. The filibuster group have earned my permanent scorn, showing a callous disregard for public safety in an attempt to show how self- important they believe they are in standing up for the 2nd amendment, and the right of all Americans to continue to permit huge loopholes for criminals, mentally ill, domestic abusers and terrorist to continue to buy guns without impunity in our country.
My heart and spirit took a blow that day, and particularly when we saw how much government intervention was used to capture the terrorists of the Boston Marathon, in essence closing down an entire city to capture these two boys/men turned radicals.
The same people in the Senate and House who applaud the great use of government to capture terrorists, won’t lift a finger to use the power of government to help save lives in the areas of gun safety–a bizarre juxtaposition, showing the schizophrenic nature of our nation in regards to use of government for the public good. Maybe we should start to call Adam Lanza, James Holmes, etc., terrorists?
After dealing with the disappointment, my head tells me that there really is no way that the gun legislation would have passed in the House, which is run by the Republicans, and hugely conservative. I think we all can look at what happened up to now as the first round of a long process.
I do not believe, as some pundits do, that the best chance we had for national legislation was this time, right after Newtown, and that since it failed in the Senate, it will not come back. I don’t believe that, as strong laws have been passed in a number of states, and thousands of Americans, like our little group, have come together to push the agenda of gun safety until it bears fruit nationally. It is part of the national conversation, and people like Michael Bloomberg, Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly, survivors of Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora, and particularly the families at Sandy Hook, vow to keep going, as will we.
I am reminded that it took 7 years to get the Brady Bill passed, as well as the first assault weapons ban, and this was with two Republican Presidents in support: Ronald Regan and George Bush Sr. There is no doubt we will have to work to change the makeup of Congress, and boot out the people who will not vote the right way on gun issues… and make it clear that this issue is the one that can save the most American lives.