Rejecting Common Sense

Rejecting Common Sense
Nick BrothersThe Free Weekly Managing Editor

Nick Brothers
The Free Weekly Managing Editor

The day after the San Bernadino shooting, every Senate Republican — except Mark Kirk of Illinois — voted against legislation to prevent individuals on the FBI’s terrorist watchlist from purchasing guns or explosives. Another bill that would have expanded background checks to gun shows and online firearms sales to screen out convicted felons and mentally ill people also failed on the same day.

Wait… what?

Who, in their right mind would disagree with such bills? I’ve heard the counter arguments of “Why should we make it difficult to law abiding citizens to pursue their Constitutional right to bear arms? Those lists are arbitrary. If criminals want guns, they will find a way. Nothing can be done about that.”

I actually agree with that in principle, but those proposed bills do nothing to effect law abiding citizens. We all have our ideals, but I think we can agree we’ll never be able to bring gun violence to zero as long as there are humans and firearms in existence — there’s more than 300 million guns in America, by the way. That argument isn’t good enough.

That rhetoric shouldn’t be enough to defend the fact that just about anyone can walk into a gun store, in most states, without prior gun experience or education, purchase as much of they want from the store’s inventory, and then walk out of the store without any kind of vetting other than the federal background check.

Which by the way, wouldn’t that make sense if there was a mandatory gun safety class and training video every new gun owner has to enroll in? Sure, that’s a bother, but the customers are also buying a weapon designed to kill.

But these aren’t blanket policies, such as calling for citizens to turn their guns in for a government check. The laws simply would have barred legal guns and explosive sales to individuals who the FBI consider dangerous, and those who are already guilty of crime or may be unfit for gun ownership.

I mean, isn’t the GOP all about being tough on terrorism? So they… voted to do nothing to make arming terrorism tougher? Sure, the laws wouldn’t make getting guns impossible, but it would certainly make getting guns much more difficult than going to Walmart on the weekend.

Over the years of congressional blockage, hundreds of suspected terrorists on the watchlist bought guns, according to the Government Accountability Office.

This seems to imply the nay voters are more concerned about pure politics or just the possibility of someone being turned away rather than ensuring those unfit for handling a gun are stopped.

Ah, but here’s something to consider. Could you attribute a loss of profit in the gun industry to this? Yes, possibly. Senator Dianne Feinstein said it best following the vote.

“If you need proof that Congress is a hostage to the gun lobby, look no further than today’s vote,” she said. The senator also sponsored the terror watchlist measure.

I think we all sort of get delusional about our representatives in congress. It’s easy to just presume our elected officials will generally follow the desires of their constituency, and follow the party line otherwise.

But this, and with what I said about Tom Cotton a few weeks ago, it seems to suggest our elected officials represent anything but us. Democrats or Republicans included.

Just for some more info about our Congress representatives, Sen. Cotton is a top 10 recipient from the NRA at $9,900 and Rep. Steve Womack recived $4,000 in campaign contributions, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

That isn’t a staggering amount compared to other donors, and gun ownership is certainly a part of their platforms, but it’s information we should all know. Either way you look at the voting on these two bills, something just really stinks about it all. The fact that all but one Republican senator voted against it calls to mind images of puppeteering.

Thanks for reading.

Categories: Commentary