Every D or R senator from the 18 blue wall states key to D electoral col majority backed universal #guncontrol checks except Johnson in WI—
Ronald Brownstein (@RonBrownstein) April 17, 2013
This has been a hard week.
It began with the terrorist attack in Boston.
The middle of the week brings us the continued terrorist attacks which occur on our streets every day due to gun violence and the easy availability of Time to turn the world rightside upguns. The Senate took up a measure to expand background checks for gun purchases. Although it had majority support, it didn’t have the magic number of 60 yeas, and thus died. (Also killed outright were bans on assault weapons and large magazines. More on that later.)
Let’s not kid ourselves: the background check legislation was, at best, a small step. As Brad Plummer writes in the Washington Post:
The Manchin-Toomey compromise bill was a scaled-back version of earlier proposals to extend background checks to unregulated private gun sales. Many gun experts argued that the slimmed-down proposal would have only marginal effects on gun violence. But even that small step couldn’t get through the Senate.
“But even that small step couldn’t get through the Senate.”
Let that sentence sink in. Our political culture is in such straits that a minor, flawed reform to gun laws could not get through the Senate. Never mind the stricter legislation on magazine size and a ban on assault weapons—legislation which went down to decisive defeats before the background check bill came up. And, of course, the GOP-controlled House has consigned Newtown to the memory hole. It has played no meaningful role in trying to ameliorate the gun violence epidemic infecting the nation; it’s quite happy allowing the carnage to continue. It is, a priori, the price of “freedom”.
It would be quite easy to throw in the towel. A significant chunk of politicians are bought and paid for by deep-pocketed special interests—and at a very cheap price. The worst among them sail to re-election time and again, thanks to that flow of money, and to an electorate which, let’s face it, is too stupid to realize that the men and women for whom they vote couldn’t give a damn about their real needs. Or, maybe they do realize it, but they hold those needs beneath the need to maintain a fiction of a country that never existed and is threatened by the hordes of “Others” about to swamp them.