Sunday, June 12, 2022

Ten Republicans join Democrats to pass common sense gun reform.

by Rod Williams, 6/12/2022 - A bipartisan group of senators announced today that they had reached a deal that would address gun violence. With ten Republicans signing on to the deal, the proposal could have enough Republican support to withstand a filibuster. 

Looking at what the proposal would do, it is hard to call this a "gun control bill."  It primarily provides for improved "red flag' laws, more mental health funding, and funding for enhanced school safety. 

Unfortunately, I suspect that many in the gun rights movement have a knee-jerk "give 'em an inch and they'll take a mile" view.  I hope many see this as a reasonable response to a serious problem. I am afraid they won't. 

I hope I am wrong, but I expect the NRA, and other gun rights groups, to pull out all of the stops to peel off enough Republicans to kill the measure. Those Republicans who have left the gun rights reservation will be subject to enormous pressure. No doubt they will be bombarded with a lobbying campaign and threats of being primaried. If the gun lobby is not successful in killing the bill, no doubt they will try to water it down to where it only provides funding for mental health and school security initiatives. I hope I am wrong,  Watertered down too much and Democrats may reject it as insignificant widow dressing. 

Even if not watered down, there is also a chance that die-hard gun control advocates will see this as insufficiently robust and refuse to support it. Not included in the proposal is raising the minimum age for the purchase of AK-15 style semiautomatic weapons from 18 to 21 which was advocated by President Biden. Nor is a ban on "assault rifles" or high-capacity magazines included, which many advocates of gun restrictions want.  

I hope the Republicans who have come out in support of this proposal will stand firm. I hope more Republicans will join them.  I hope Democrats do not make their vision of the perfect become the enemy of the good. Even if this is not a perfect proposal, it is a start.  I have reached the conclusion that now is the time, actually pass the time, to pass reasonable legislation to address the epidemic of gun violence, especially the horror of mass school shootings. 

I know this want stop all shootings. I know the bad guys will still have their guns. Nevertheless, this could reduce horrific school shootings. It won't do much to stop the weekly carnage in Chicago, but it may stop the next Uvalde.

This is not a "gun-grab," or a trampling of the Second Amendment, although I suspect to hear that from bombastic conservative radio talk show host and Fox News.  Here is what we know is in the legislative proposal at this time:
  • A federal grant program that would encourage states to implement “red flag” laws.  This would allow authorities to keep guns away from people found by a judge to represent a potential threat to themselves or others., 
  • A federal criminal background check, called Enhanced Review Process, for gun buyers under 21 which would include a mandatory search of juvenile justice and mental health records for the first time.
  • A ban on gun sales to domestic violence offenders beyond just spouses. Now the domestic violence ban only applies to spouses. 
  • A clarification of which gun sellers are required to register as federal firearms dealers and therefore required to run background checks on their customers.
  • The establishment of new federal offenses related to gun trafficking.
  • New federal funding for mental health care and school security programs.
This is progress. I hope it passes. 

These are the ten Republicans who have signed on to the proposal: John Cornyn (R-TX), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Richard Burr (R-NC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA) Susan Collins (R-ME), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Rob Portman (R-OH), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Pat Toomey (R-PA). 

These are good people. I pray they have the courage to not waiver. May God bless them. 

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