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All Da King's Men

No Expanded Background Checks

By David King Published: April 18, 2013

The Manchin-Toomey bill expanding background checks for guns went down to defeat on wednesday, by a vote of 54-46. 60 votes were needed for passage.The bill would have required background checks for firearms sold online and at gun shows.

President Obama was not pleased:

“The gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill...All in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington,” Obama said, promising that “this effort is not over.”

Question: Did the NRA lie about the Manchin-Toomey bill ?

Answer: According to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who is no liberal gun grabber, the NRA sure did lie:

I was surprised when the latest alert from the NRA was filled with so much misinformation,” Manchin said on the Senate floor.

The senator was speaking out against the claim the NRA made in a letter that the measure he brokered with Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., will “criminalize the private transfer of firearms.”

“That is a lie,” Manchin told his colleagues as he continues to fight to get the 60 votes needed to get the bill out of the Senate. “That is simply a lie, and anybody who can read knows that is not factual.”

The proposal submitted by the two senators will expand background checks at gun shows and online sales. It will not affect such transfers between family members. The passage of a Senate gun control package hinges on the bipartisan nature of this proposal.

If what Manchin is saying is correct, I could support his bipartisan bill. As long as there is no federal gun registry.

The second claim made by the NRA was that expanding background checks would do nothing to reduce crime. That may or may not be true, but we'll never know if we don't EXPAND BACKGROUND CHECKS to include gun shows and online sales. We can't gauge the efficacy of background checks when there is a gigantic hole in the background check system. It has been pointed out that criminals don't purchase guns legally. That is largely true, but the illegal gun market comes from somewhere. It doesn't just spring into existence out of nothing. Expanding background checks may be one way to reduce the size of the illegal gun market. Maybe it won't work. I don't know, but there's no reason for us not to try.

I'm not impressed by the NRA's logic regarding background checks. It's not very logical, and when they have to resort to fabrications...not good. I don't find myself in agreement with President Obama very often, but this time he's right. Politics defeated common sense on the background checks bill.

There were several other gun votes on wednesday, and they were ALL defeated:

A number of other amendments also failed to earn the 60 votes necessary to pass: A GOP proposal including a number of changes, 52 to 48; a bipartisan amendment to stiffen penalties for “straw purchasers,” 58 to 42; a GOP-backed amendment that would have permitted “national reciprocity” of state-issued concealed carry permits, 57 to 43; a GOP plan to extend gun rights for veterans, including those deemed unable to manage their financial affairs, 56-44; and a Democratic amendment to limit the size of ammunition magazines, 54-46.

As expected, Sen. Diane Feinstein's (D-CA) assault weapons ban was voted down, 40-60. Nobody really thought that had a chance of passing.

Thus, when all is said and done, everything is the same as it was before. This vote might come back to bite some in Congress, mainly Republicans, because the general public strongly favors background checks. As former conservative and current MSNBC host Joe Scarborough tweeted, "Thumbing your nose at 90% of Americans never pays." If any in the GOP voted against the background checks bill out of of some misplaced loyalty to the NRA, that was a huge mistake, because at the end of the day, the NRA doesn't elect anyone. The voters do.



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