Senate Cowards Value the NRA over Children’s Lives, Killing Background Checks Amendment

harryreidThe bipartisan Manchin-Toomey amendment to expand background checks to almost all gun purchases died in the Senate today, thanks to an immense act of cowardice on the part of both Republicans and Democrats. Once again, our elected officials have shown where their allegiance truly lies–with whoever is lining their pockets rather than with the electorate. Is anybody else getting sick and tired of the “dollars over common sense” theory these idiots seem to be ruled by? Even though almost all polls have shown between 80-90% support for expanded background checks, the Senate has spit in our face yet again, with a contempt for American lives that would make even Kim Jong Un blush.

I said a few weeks back that if we fail to demand universal background checks, then we’ve failed ourselves as a nation. That’s exactly what happened today. The Senate failed to utilize enough brainpower to pass even the easiest and most basic thing we can do on guns–something that does nothing to infringe on Second Amendment rights and is supported by a vast majority of gun owners. So who should take the majority of the blame? Of course, only 4 Republicans voted for the amendment in the Senate, so it will be easy for progressives to say ‘See, Republicans are at fault!’ Doing this completely ignores the fact that Democrats couldn’t even shore up the votes from their own party, and that points toward a complete and utter failure on the part of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Let’s not forget, Reid abandoned filibuster reform earlier this year–that reform could have prevented this outcome today. Not only that, but Reid has been an ally to the NRA in the past–he gained a B rating from the NRA for his generally pro-gun voting record. So it should come as no surprise when he fails to offer true leadership on issues like gun control, even when it comes to a watered down background checks amendment which was truly the least we could do while still doing something productive. And we’re supposed to think anything else has even the slightest chance of getting the votes needed to pass? Give me a break. Let’s look at exactly what happened here–Democrats used tragedy as a stepping stone to introducing positive legislation that they claim “wouldn’t have had the votes needed to pass previously.” Those same Democrats couldn’t even shore up their own party’s votes, much less bring over more than a handful of Republicans to vote for it. So what started as a real, positive gun control package, turned into a failure to pass even a watered down background checks amendment. If you’re a progressive, lay off blaming Republicans exclusively for this–a good chunk of your blame should go squarely on Harry Reid’s shoulders, and the shoulders of the 4 gutless Democrats who let their votes be dictated by lies.

The irony here is that the NRA wasn’t even successful in its attempt to propagate fear with the electorate on this amendment. They claimed that it would lead to a federal gun registry, opening the doors to the eventual confiscation of weapons by the government. This was, of course, a wild assumption and flat-out falsehood considering the legislation prohibits that from happening. And we weren’t buying it anyway, as evidenced by the numerous polls showing upwards of 90% support for expanded background checks. But that didn’t matter–all they had to do was make their stance against it publicly known on a wide scale, and that guaranteed instant backlash against it in the Senate. Aside from a few expletives, the only word that comes to mind on this is—pathetic.

The idea that expanding background checks to all gun sales is somehow unconstitutional, or would lead to the eventual destruction of the Second Amendment, is absurd. Of course this wasn’t a “fix-all” for gun violence in our country–it was a small step in the right direction, which should have been combined with better overall implementation of our background checks system and enforcement of our gun laws. The fact that we couldn’t even get this small step done shows exactly how much power the NRA still holds within our government, and the cowards responsible for allowing this to happen should consider becoming official NRA lobbyists, because they’re sure as hell not serving our interests.

Thomas Barr

Thomas Barr

Thomas Barr is a writer, editor and activist who's passionate about progressive ideals, with extra attention given to the fight for universal health care, medical marijuana, and saving our nation from decades of devastating trickle-down policies. Thomas is also a dedicated advocate for Type 1 diabetes research and education.
Be sure to check out his archives on Forward Progressives for more of his viewpoints.
Thomas Barr


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