Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Filibusted? Will There Really be a Vote on Gun Control?

I suspect that many gun owners see themselves
as Cable. Just a hunch.
If there's one thing I don't understand about American politics, it is why gun control can barely even be discussed. No doubt, we've come closer than just about ever, since the Sandy Hook shootings. And no doubt, there are lots of hot-button issues that make temperatures rise very quickly. But nothing like gun control makes people violently angry with little provocation.

Well, let me amend that. The holy right-wing trifecta of "Guns, God and Gays (and don't forget abortion!)" are all testy subjects, with the frothy foam coming mostly from that side of the aisle. Hey, right wing! Anger management! Look into it! Anyway, if you gently broach some of those subjects with some conservatives, you might at least have a reasonably civil discussion. But guns? Even with friends, it seems like the discussion spirals out of control barely ten words in. And it degenerates into silly arguments: "THAT'S not an assault rifle! It's not a CLIP, it's a MAGAZINE!!!"

From a liberal perspective--even me, never much of an anti-gun activist--many gun enthusiasts come off as slightly demented and a little scary. Some quite demented and a whole lot scary. To them, guns are the primary part of what they consider to be free, to be an American, to be (oddly enough) a Christian. Who would Jesus shoot? So, we're bewildered when even the most moderate, popular and non-obtrusive suggestions toward curbing gun violence are met with fierce blowback. When upwards of 90% of Americans are for universal background checks, the NRA and its fans go apeshit.

I'm including this meme only to point out its stupidity.
No, don't ban it. License it. Insure it. Make its owner
pass a test. Properly maintain it and have it inspected.
Make sure it's "street legal." Make its owner obey
all laws of its operation. Require registering it. Require
transfer documentation if sold. Etc., etc.
And then Congress cowers. Blue dog Democrats lapse into conserva-Demdom. Even with public support, and a very weakened NRA (who lost almost all of their electoral battles in 2012), the teeth have been taken out of every proposal. Ridiculous arguments like "criminals don't obey laws, so the only people punished are law-abiding citizens*," or "some people can change magazines in a second, so limiting their size won't make a difference," somehow gain credence. And Republicans threaten a filibuster of even the watered-down already modest proposals.

Well, at least that last part may not happen. Support for the filibuster seems to have waned (though by the time you read this, that may have changed). So the Senate will maybe be able to say they did something--however token--to answer Sandy Hook. I think they finally may have realized that that's all they need to do to make this all go away. Until the next mass shooting.


Threat to Block Debate on Guns Appears to Fade in Senate

Several Senate Republicans said Tuesday that they would not participate in a filibuster of the first major gun control bill since 1993, as Democrats appeared on the verge of overcoming a blockade threatened by a group of conservatives before a word of debate on the measure was uttered. . .
Read more at: New York Times

* No other arguments about laws work this way. We don't say that laws against murder or robbery or rape are worthless, because criminals won't obey them. It's perhaps the stupidest argument I've ever heard.

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