Gun Bill Background Check Amendment Fails
In what has turned out to be a media spectacle, the proposed amendment on enhanced background checks for gun owners has failed. What needed to be a 60-vote threshold, resulted in only 54 votes in favor of the new law and 46 against it. Other measures on counterproposals were also voted down indicating that the U.S. Senate is unlikely to support any amendments that curb gun control laws.
A ban on assault weapons also failed 40 to 60, somewhat a result of the failing of the major background check bill. The expanded background check system would have included checks to cover the sales of weapons on the Internet and at gun shows and would have also laid the groundwork for a national registry of gun owners. A ban on high-capacity magazine clips and a GOP-sponsored alternative also failed to gain any traction.
Before the vote advocacy groups worked hard to support the President’s agenda, urging voters to call their senators in support of the expanded background checks. The Democratic National Committee also sent out similar emails, targeting a group of Republican senators who appeared to be on the fence regarding the amendment. At the same time, pro-gun groups that previously backed the ban pulled away their support. Only four Republicans voted in favor of the ban and only four Democrats voted against it. Of these Democrats, two were from Alaska and the others from North Dakota and Arkansas.
Three of the four are up for reelection next year.
Surprisingly John McCain, a Republican who has had a strong record of defending the Second Amendment, was one of the four Republicans that voted for the background check ban. “I have consistently opposed the efforts of anti-gun activists to ban guns and ammunition, staunchly defending the Constitutional rights that Arizonans hold dear,” McCain said. He then went on to discuss why the amendments could be reasonable adding that the bill could prevent felons and the mentally-ill from obtaining guns. “In my view, such background checks are not overly burdensome or unconstitutional.”
The NRA, the pro-gun lobby that has been vehemently fighting the new amendments, also released a statement regarding the bill’s failure. “This amendment would have criminalized certain private transfers of firearms between honest citizens, requiring lifelong friends, neighbors and some family members to get federal government permission to exercise a fundamental right or face prosecution,” said Chris Cox, an NRA lobbyist. “As we have noted previously, expanding background checks, at gun shows or elsewhere, will not reduce violent crime or keep our kids safe in their schools.”
What are your thoughts on the bill’s failure? Do you think this will have an impact on concealed weapons carry and its increasing popularity nationwide?