Gun Bill’s Prospects Dim as Senate Struggles with Background Checks

A bipartisan deal to expand background checks is struggling to muster the 60 votes required to clear the Senate.

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Gary Cameron / Reuters

Senator Pat Toomey and Senator Joe Manchin hold a news conference on firearms background checks on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on April 10, 2013.

A bipartisan deal to expand background checks on gun sales, the cornerstone of the sweeping gun-control package under consideration in the Senate, remains short of the votes required for passage with a showdown looming Wednesday afternoon.

West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin and Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey, the architects of the background-check proposal, spearheaded an aggressive campaign Tuesday to muster the 60 votes required for the provision to survive the Senate. But the bill’s prospects have waned early this week as several Republicans announced they would oppose it, while a passel of moderate Democrats who represent conservative states or are up for re-election in 2014 declined to commit to the measure.

To round up the rest of the votes, the deal’s supporters are entertaining the possibility of a tweak that would exempt rural gun-buyers from background-check requirements, a move designed to mollify holdout senators from sparsely populated states. But there was little indication that this concession alone would be enough to nudge the legislation over the line.

(MORE: The NRA’s Slippery Slope Strategy To Fight Background Checks)

“We’re not there today,” admits Democrat Chris Murphy of Connecticut, one of the senators leading the effort to pass the most significant gun reforms in a generation. “We’re going to spend this week open to people who want to get to yes. Certainly the rural issue is on the table right now, but we’ll be open to others.”

As written, the compromise crafted by Manchin and Toomey would broaden the background-check requirement on firearm purchases to include all commercial sales, including at gun shows and in online transactions. (Current law requires such checks only for sales by licensed dealers.) It is being introduced as an amendment to the underlying gun bill offered by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, which contains a much stiffer background check standard.

The amendment would not require background checks on private gun transfers — an exception that frustrates gun-control advocates. And some say they are reluctant to water down an already diluted compromise even further in an attempt to secure support for a measure that some 90% of voters support. “I don’t foresee any changes in the immediate future. I think every one of us wants to make sure we have a vote,” says Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal. “I don’t foresee any weakening of the bill.”

Speaking to reporters outside the Senate chamber on Tuesday afternoon, Reid claimed “momentum” was on the Democrats’ side. “Am I saying it’s all over with, done, we’ve got the votes? No. But we certainly feel we have the wind at our back,” Reid said. “The American people agree with us.”

(MORE: Bipartisan Background-Check Deal May Boost Gun Bill’s Chances)

But the momentum was hard to detect. With 53 Democratic seats, plus two independent senators who caucus with the majority, supporters of the proposal will need to garner the support of several Republicans to carry it past the 60-vote threshold required to clear Senate procedural hurdles— and that’s if their own ranks stay united. Several Democrats from conservative states—Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Max Baucus of Montana, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota—remained noncommittal Tuesday. Four of the five are up for re-election in 2014.

“This isn’t an easy vote politically. I think we know what’s at stake here,” Dick Durbin, the Democrats’ Senate Whip, told a throng of reporters. “This is the first meaningful gun safety legislation we’ve taken up since I was elected to this body 16 years ago.” So far just three Republicans—Toomey, Mark Kirk of Illinois and Susan Collins of Maine—have committed to supporting the measure. Arizona’s John McCain has also said he is open to doing so.

With an emotional vote looming, gun-control advocates have ramped up a vigorous lobbying push. Gabrielle Giffords, the former representative from Arizona who was shot in the head in 2011 by a deranged constituent wielding a high-capacity Glock, joined the Democrats’ caucus lunch on Tuesday, along with her husband Mark Kelly, whom observers said delivered an impassioned call to action. At the dedication of a meeting room in the Capitol named for Gabriel Zimmerman, a Giffords aide killed in the 2011 Tucson massacre, Kelly touted the background-check compromise, while Vice President Joe Biden invoked the terrorist attack Monday in Boston. Yet there was no indication that these emotional appeals would be enough to change the math. Up on the podium, Jeff Flake, a Republican Senator and a friend of Giffords’ from Arizona, gave a warm tribute to Zimmerman— yet also announced on Facebook that he would oppose the Toomey-Manchin deal, arguing it “simply goes too far.”

(MORE: Gun Control: What Really Matters)

Manchin gave a “moving, tearful presentation” to fellow Democrats on Tuesday, Reid said. Toomey was scrambling to drum up support on the Republican side, pitching the deal at a private Republican policy lunch on Tuesday, according to a Republican Senate aide, and calling colleagues to address their concerns. “If people are sincere about wanting to vote for something, then they should spend the next day or so working with Joe and Pat to try to get to a reasonable compromise,” Murphy says, noting that the deal’s architects were open to the rural exemption, in particular, as a way to assuage a few select senators. “So long as we carve out a limited exemption for people in truly rural areas, I think it’s something that a lot of us can live with.”

But even aides to senators who support the amendment expressed skepticism that the rural exemption would be enough to sway members from vast rural states. Begich and Heitkamp, two of the targets of the potential rural background-check exemption, hustled past reporters in the Capitol on Tuesday, evading questions as they ducked into elevators or private corridors.

On a day when death was everywhere in the Capitol—the flags over the dome flying at half-staff, the moments of silence for the fallen, the pulled political punches, the public homage paid to victims in Boston and Blacksburg and Tucson—there was still no indication that the Senate could pull off a deal that might prevent more bloodshed.

MORE: Democrats Ready To Deal On Gun Control?

106 comments
Baruch100
Baruch100

I am not an American but I've been following the public response to the now failed gun law initiatives for a while now and one thing that strikes me as being blatantly obvious is this, a large majority of Americans are so insular, and self obsessed they think their social, cultural and political problems are a unique phenomenon unto themselves.These type of gun laws have worked to build safer societies in many countries around the world, and there is legitimate scientific evidence to support it. If any other country had a horrendous gun related murder, injury and crime rate wouldn't you Americans as responsible global citizens propose a change in the laws or at least look at ways of addressing the issue? If you can honestly say no then you deserve what you get and may G_d allow you the pleasure of dancing in the graveyards if your own countrymen.

Baruch100
Baruch100

I am not an American but I've been following the public response to the now failed gun law initiatives for a while now and one thing that strikes me as being blatantly obvious is this, a large majority of Americans are so insular, and self obsessed they think their social, cultural and political problems are a unique phenomenon unto themselves.

These type of gun laws have worked to build safer societies in many countries around the world, and there is legitimate scientific evidence to support it. If any other country had a horrendous gun related murder, injury and crime rate wouldn't you Americans as responsible global citizens propose a change in the laws or at least look at ways of addressing the issue? If you can honestly say no then you deserve what you get and may G_d allow you the pleasure of dancing in the graveyards if your own countrymen.

jmac
jmac

Senator John Cornyn  Texas):  " engaging in “meaningless symbolism” would result in Americans’ only having a more difficult time exercising their rights to own guns.

Mr. Cornyn instead pushed his proposal to allow those with permits to carry concealed weapons in their home state to do so in every other state except for Illinois and the District of Columbia."

---------------------------   Trying to strengthen background checks is 'meaningless symbolism".     John Corny is suppose to be the reasonable senator from Texas.   If the Party of Crazy gets any seats in the mid-term, we are then The Nation of Crazies.  We're all Bachmann's.  We're all Glenn Becks.  We're Fox News.   

jmac
jmac

Fifth reason gun bill won't pass (The Cloakroom):     President Obama is too polarizing on the issue of gun control. As we've seen time and again over the last four years, the president's vocal support of an issue is usually enough to galvanize the opposition.

But don't be too disheartened if you were a supporter of the bill. As Jonathan Chait notes, "Our political system is still way better than North Korea's."

Garzhad
Garzhad

The '90% support' numbers are a bunch of baloney. Where do you get 90% of the countries support when you only poll less then /2,000/ people? Friggin' ludicrous. I bet you they only polled registered voters in Cali or New York, too. I know for damn sure if they only polled Texans or those in Vermont, or any gun-loving state, they wouldn't even get one TENTH of 90%.

As far as the number given for gun purchases without background checks, the "40% of all gun sales are conducted without a background check". This statement is based on a poll conducted in 1994. The sample was 2568 people. 251 answered the question. That's it. There is no current data or study on this issue.

MrObvious
MrObvious

It's funny how so many other developed countries have managed to survive with common sense gun laws without falling into totalitarian police and gubmint states.

Yet we can't even come together to figure out a solid piece of universal background check law.


SelenaRodriguez
SelenaRodriguez

@jmac Wow. What a crazy post. Are you in that party of crazy? you do realize that there are already background checks, and this legislation will have virtually no effect? but I guess that doesn't matter when you're from the party of crazy...

jmac
jmac

@Garzhad    " But in that 2004 inmate survey, less than 2 percent of respondents said they had bought weapons at gun shows or flea markets. Three sources accounted for almost nine out of 10 crime guns: “friends or family” (40 percent), “the street” (38 percent), and theft (10 %)."   Source:  Andrew Sullivan blog

Want a gun?  Ask Uncle Harry.  No problem.  

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@Garzhad

The '90% support' numbers are a bunch of baloney. Where do you get 90% of the countries support when you only poll less then /2,000/ people?

You don't understand polling or statistics do you?  Haven't learned much from the "the polls are rigged!" in 2012, eh?

curt3rd
curt3rd

If 90% percent of the nation was for this I think the Senate would have no problem getting their 60 votes, especially from Democrats. 

fitty_three
fitty_three

@Garzhad

Cali and NY combined would enough people to counter idiocy in Teh South.

SelenaRodriguez
SelenaRodriguez

@MrObvious"This year will go down in history. For the first time a civilized nation has full gun registration! Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future." 

--Adolf Hitler, 1935.

Pwrserge
Pwrserge

There is no such thing as a "common sense" gun law. Anybody who can't read the Constitution has no sense.

curt3rd
curt3rd

Mexico has very strick gun laws and look how good they are doing.

CritterFactory
CritterFactory

@MrObvious It was not a solid law. That's all there is to it. 

There is also a reciprocity provision in the bill that allows a concealed weapons permit holder full reciprocity in all 50 states. If you support this bill, that is something you have to keep in mind.     

My gripe is that these laws are at the federal level. I think regional restrictions are "common sense", as where I live we have almost no restrictions, yet have a lower gun violence rate than that of New Zealand. Yet, a city 500 miles from me has one 5 times higher.  

To restrict my rights, where gun violence is not an issue, even though gun ownership, and gun availability is near the national high is absurd.  that is why reasonable gun control at a national level is a farce. 

tommyudo
tommyudo

@MrObvious 


The bill was a pathetic joke to start with. Senators and Congressmen care about one thing and one thing only - their electoral security.The power of being in elective office trumps all else. The only way we will ever have any meaningful gun control is when we have a shooting in every red state that is as dramatic as Aurora and Newtown. Sad to say, but all politics are local. If you are a Senator from Mississippi or Wyoming you can care less what happens in Connecticut. The concept of  civic unity only exists in sound bites and cheap talk.

jmac
jmac

@SelenaRodriguez @jmac  The legislation closed loopholes.   Background checks don't do any good if anyone can buy a gun from someone else.  Why would any reasonable person in the U.S. not want the loopholes closed?  

MrObvious
MrObvious

@DonQuixotic @Garzhad 

Here's the thing - even if it had a -+10% variation, something that's statistically silly - it still is an overwhelming desire from people to adopt some type of universal background check. Even among gun owners.

Pwrserge
Pwrserge

What's the margin of error on a a single sample of 2000 people? Me thinks you flunked basic stats.

SelenaRodriguez
SelenaRodriguez

@curt3rd -- I saw the poll question that number came from, it read something like "should there be background checks". Nothing to do with the garbage in the bill their trying to shove down our throats. 

SelenaRodriguez
SelenaRodriguez

@53_3 @Garzhad From yesterday I believe----------- Gallup: Only 4% of Americans Think Gun Control is an Important Problem 

The most important issue by far is employment, and AGAIN Obama and his merry wing-nuts go on a jihad in the opposite direction. Marxism makes people really stupid.

CritterFactory
CritterFactory

@53_3 @Garzhad  "Cali and NY combined would enough people to counter idiocy in Teh South."

Care to try that again?



MrObvious
MrObvious

@curt3rd 

Ironically the illegal guns (in Mexico) come from US states with little or no gun laws. Just sayin'.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@curt3rd 

The UK and New Zealand have strict gun laws and look how bad they're doing.  Oh wait...

BettinaKozlowski
BettinaKozlowski

@CritterFactory @MrObvious It was not a solid law because it became increasingly watered down and beaten down by the NRA's  lies  about some bs "criminalization" of registries and Republicans' blind 2nd amendment! 2nd amendment! stonewalling. 

Quixote,  the pursuit of happiness i also a tenet of the COnstitution. . It was taken away from the parents of the Newtown victims because some lunatic had the 2nd amendment right to kill as many children as possible with his weapons of mass destruction. Your right to own a gun should supercede the right of parents not to have their children shot with a Bushmaster? 

fitty_three
fitty_three

@CritterFactory

Can you tell me why we even have a Constitution if not to maintain a minimal standard for protecting the rights proscribed under it.

Otherwise, you have states who would still have Jim Crow laws on the books.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@Pwrserge 

It depends on the questioning but at most 2.2%.  Me thinks you don't think.

CritterFactory
CritterFactory

@53_3 @CritterFactory I am aware of that, and agree to an extent. 

 I am actually curios what the polls specifically asked. As in, what was the question. I have been polled before, and they really pidgin hole you into wording that you may not agree with. 

fitty_three
fitty_three

@CritterFactory

The poll numbers come from a sampling pool.  When you randomly sample the country as a whole, that is what you do.

My point is that the polls have specific rules and caveats built in - if they want to be credible - and there aren't enough loonies in the South to skew a randomly selected sample of respondants.

And this is a poll, not an election, which is borne out by the fact that despite this poll, the gun bill is running into problems.

CritterFactory
CritterFactory

@53_3 @CritterFactory What, 2000 polled people? We are talking polls here, not a raw head count. Not to mention that upstate New York might as well be another state all together as far as political demographics go. 

Even if it was a fully democratic vote, I think it's unfair that the south not be represented purely on the basis that it lacks population density. That is the idea of a constitutional republic. So, the majority does not inherently limit the rights of the minority. 

fitty_three
fitty_three

@CritterFactory

Cali and NY are the two largest states, population wise.  How big is Teh South?

Even with those two, the entire South doesn't have enough loonies to skew the polls this commenter's way.  

curt3rd
curt3rd

Yeah, they get them through programs like Fast and Furious

curt3rd
curt3rd

"Handguns" and "Shotguns" are not used in mass shootings without modifications that should be (and were) illegal

Okay, so you do want handguns and shotguns illegal seeing how they can be modified.  Almost anything can be modified for illegal use.  Why not be better at identifing and helping the mentally ill people that commit these crimes instead of restricting my rights?  I havent broken the law.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@curt3rd 

Fertilizer is banned in bulk sale - like the quantity you would need to make a bomb - without a proper license and without consenting to a check.  Similarly Assault Weapons that can lead to mass shootings like Newton or modifications to guns that allow them to happen should be banned.  "Handguns" and "Shotguns" are not used in mass shootings without modifications that should be (and were) illegal.

curt3rd
curt3rd

So by your logic we should ban handguns and shotguns which where both used in mass shootings in the U.S last year.   How about pressure cookers, or fertilizer? Should they be banned also?

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@curt3rd 

Because legally purchased "Assault Weapons" that up until 2004 were banned are used in shootings like Newton.

curt3rd
curt3rd

Im okay with all of that. Most is already law in my state, and since its state and not federal law, makes it easier for me to accept.  Still dont understand the obsession with assault weapons.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@curt3rd 

No, that's not what I said and that's not what "Gun Culture" is.  Training methods and public awareness of safety, security, and responsible gun ownership would go a long way.

curt3rd
curt3rd

So in your mind, its all guns that should be illegal.  Start with assault weapons then move on.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@curt3rd 

Assault weapons are a part of the problem.  Gun culture is the real problem.

curt3rd
curt3rd

So you dont dispute the numbers and agree that assault wepons are not the problem?

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@curt3rd

Why are you focusing on assault rifles?  Its just politicians trying to look as if they are doing their actual job.  They are not addressing the real issues.

If Assault Rifles in your mind are not the problem, why do you care?  What is the "real issue"?  Arming more people?  Do you wonder why states with the laxest gun laws have the highest gun homicide rates per capita?

curt3rd
curt3rd

Gees, how are you not getting this?  8,583 people were murdered by guns in 2011 in the U.S. according to the FBI. Of those 6,220 handguns, 323 rifles, 356 shotguns, 97 other, 1,578 firearms type not stated.  Of those 323 people killed by rifles, we do not know how many are assault but Im sure its less than 323.  Also 1,694 people kill by knives, 496 blunt objects,728 hand feet fist ext.

Why are you focusing on assault rifles?  Its just politicians trying to look as if they are doing their actual job.  They are not addressing the real issues

MrObvious
MrObvious

@DonQuixotic @curt3rd 

UK and most other countries have strict border controls and customs which makes it really hard to import any type of illegal weapons. Mexico on the other hand is just a drive away from states where anyone can buy guns legally.

The argument is silly since it proves just how worthless these laws are if they're not also universally applied. States with stricter gun laws are flooded with weapons from states that doesn't have these restrictions. Making the entire point moot.

On the other hand countries like Switzerland have the kind of gun culture because of how the look at guns, they have universal background checks, required training and licensing and mental health background checks.

And it works.

It works in every single other countries with gun laws. It's not just cultural - it's also how those countries look at gun ownership.

There will always be madmen but it's interest how infrequent they can do harm in other nations and their response to it; which is not to arm every single citizen in fear.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@curt3rd

Different countries and regions have different reasons for their crime rate and have to deal with them accordingly.

Becaus the have strict gun laws and it still doesnt help.  They need to address their real cause of the problems(drug cartel, economics, ect...)

Problems we really don't have, so I'll ask again, what was the point of the Mexico false equivalence if you know their laws or lack thereof don't necessarily apply to us?  The gun used to kill children in Newton, obtained legally, would have been banned under the Assault Weapons ban.

curt3rd
curt3rd

Becaus the have strict gun laws and it still doesnt help.  They need to address their real cause of the problems(drug cartel, economics, ect...)  The problems we have been having in the U.S is one of mental illness mixing with guns such as Newtown.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@curt3rd

Different countries and regions have different reasons for their crime rate and have to deal with them accordingly.

Exactly, so why in the world is Mexico's crime and homicide rate applicable to us over a country like the UK?

curt3rd
curt3rd

No Im not. Its the same point. Gun laws dont fix gun problems. Different countries and regions have different reasons for their crime rate and have to deal with them accordingly.  We have gun laws already on the books.  Criminals dont follow the law.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@curt3rd 

And here you are arguing against your point with Mexico.  Well played.

curt3rd
curt3rd

If they want to have strict gun laws then so be it. Its there choice, but the gun laws are not the reason they have low gun crime.  There are a number of factors that go into crime rates.

curt3rd
curt3rd

Yeah, the real problem in their case.

fitty_three
fitty_three

He chose a poor example, Mexico is in a chaotic state where the government is not able to exert it's authority due to internal corruption.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@CritterFactory @DonQuixotic

 My argument is that we already have laws on the books. They need to be enforced. Adding a poorly written law at a national level  is not helping anything. It also serves to fuel distrust, and furthers the political divide. 

They do, that's my point.  Most shootings like Newton are perpetrated by legally obtained firearms (or modifications as you mentioned to handguns) that would otherwise be banned.  Even if it only saves five lives or just one because some madman is using a standard un-modded Glock versus one with a 30 round magazine, it's one life saved.  If we don't restrict firearms used in shootings like this that maximize fatalities, what's the solution?  Arming more people so there are more armed, panicked people involved in shoot-outs?  We can't do nothing and keep the status quo; over 3,300 people have died to gun violence since Newton in the US.  The frivolous nature of Gun Culture in America is our problem.  People are told over and over again that they have every right to own any gun they want, and as a result many ignorant people treat them like toys and own them just for the sake of owning them to feel safer.  There are plenty of citizens just like you, certainly, that respect firearms and understand how to properly handle them, but how many Americans really appreciate things like line-of-sight or bullet penetration?  How many American gun owners actually own gun safes?  Look at all the child fatalities in the US that occur because kids find unsecured loaded guns in their parent's bedrooms.  Will an Assault Weapons ban solve that?  Of course not, but it will marginalize mass shootings and it is a step in the right direction towards reteaching Americans the respect that guns deserve.

Your friend could easily use other weapons to protect his crops from wild hogs besides and AR-15.  Could some nutjob kill nearly 30 people without an AR-15 or an extended magazine weapon without being stopped first?  Probably not; I'd just like to do everything we can to prevent the latter.

CritterFactory
CritterFactory

@DonQuixotic @CritterFactory

 My argument is that we already have laws on the books. They need to be enforced. Adding a poorly written law at a national level  is not helping anything. It also serves to fuel distrust, and furthers the political divide. 

As for what you said about the mini 14,  to some extent, yes, to be taken seriously I do think they should add weapons to close the loopholes they have provided. As currently they are picking on features that are irrelevant to the killing potential of a rifle. I would not support said ban, but I would respect, and understand it more if it was written better. 

I have a friend with a 112 acre farm. That AR-15 works very well to protect the crops from wild hogs. Are all of us farmers? No. I will give you that. but the idea that nobody uses an AR-15 for defense is flawed. You don't use an AR-15 for defense. Simply because you have no need for one is no reason to restrict the ownership of someone else. The idea of banning a rifle under the vies of public safety, while allowing handguns, and other rifles with similar attributes seems rather foolish. It dose not confront the issue, it leaves huge loopholes, and only affects the people who follow the law. 

I do apologize, after this I will have to run off to work, I had to make this short... sadly. I had more I wanted to say. It will be a few hours before I can type a rebuttal. So for now I will leave two of my favorite quotes.  

"Never confuse motion with action."

-Benjamin Franklin 

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

-Benjamin Franklin 

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@CritterFactory @DonQuixotic

Look up the Mini 14. It's based of a modified M1 carbine Military rifle. Look up every single item you can get for it. It's a magazine fed semi auto. It also is availible in 7.62x39. The AK 47 round.  It can be modified to have a telescoping stock, or a pistol grip. 

If you're making the argument for another weapon that should be added to an Assault Weapons ban; ok?

And yes, you can put an extended magazine on a Mini 14. Any box magazine can be modified to carry more ammo. It's not that hard.

I know.  Many magazine modifications were also banned.

You clearly do not understand the guns. I am not saying that as an Ad hominen attack. I simply am stating that this is a slippery slope argument over the capabilities of  an AR-15 are misguided at best, and a flat out manipulation at worst.

That's exactly what you're doing by challenging my right to support a restriction because I "don't understand one weapon enough".  Give me a break.

Oh, and last time I checked, Virginia tech was committed with 2 handguns. You can have 33 rounds in a Glock...

Also part of the Assault Weapons ban.  Arguing against the enhancement of laws because "someone will break it anyways" is self defeating and can be applied to anything.  I too am I gun owner, and I think other gun owners that feel they have the right to own weapons like the AR-15 just because they want it for recreational purposes (because let's be serious, that is not a home defense weapon) are childish and do so at the expense of public safety.

curt3rd
curt3rd

And the guy in Boston turned a pressure cooker into a bomb.  Dont see anyone banning them.

CritterFactory
CritterFactory

@DonQuixotic @CritterFactory  

Look up the Mini 14. It's based of a modified M1 carbine Military rifle. Look up every single item you can get for it. It's a magazine fed semi auto. It also is availible in 7.62x39. The AK 47 round.  It can be modified to have a telescoping stock, or a pistol grip. 

And yes, you can put an extended magazine on a Mini 14. Any box magazine can be modified to carry more ammo. It's not that hard. 

As far as the select fire switch. Bull. Complete bull. 

Class III weapons are highly regulated, and you need an SOT on top of your FFL. 

Class III weapons have not been able to be manufactured for the public in full auto since 1986. 

You will go to prison for 10 years if you willingly convert your AR-15 to select fire, and are caught. ATF agents hang out at local ranges all the time. I know a few by name. It's not the redneck free for all that people like to paint it as. 

You clearly do not understand the guns. I am not saying that as an Ad hominen attack. I simply am stating that this is a slippery slope argument over the capabilities of  an AR-15 are misguided at best, and a flat out manipulation at worst. 

The current proposed ban on weapons only is affecting the use of features that does not effect a rifles killing power. Telescoping stocks, front grips, bayonets (seriously, name the last time a mass murderer used a bayonet) . 

That is why there is so much opposition. to a gun owner, it does not make sense.


Oh, and last time I checked, Virginia tech was committed with 2 handguns. You can have 33 rounds in a Glock, Arguably the 45 ACP round is more deadly than the AR-15 5.56.  All guns can be deadly. Cumbria was done with a .22 rifle, and a double barreled shotgun. 

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@CritterFactory

Not to mention an AR-15 is functionally the same as a hunting rifle. 

Um, no.  It's not.  The AR-15 was initially designed as a military rifle.  Just because they're both semi-automatic does not mean they're the same.  
The ability to modify an AR-15 so extensively not only to use various forms of ammunition but also into a fully automatic weapon (some versions of the AR-15 even operate with selective fire switches that allow the user to switch into burst-fire or fully automatic firing mode), in addition to it's ability to be expanded with larger magazines.  There's a reason it was on the Assault Weapons ban list from 1994-2004, not just the stock. 

It also ignores the guns used in 90% of all gun crimes. Handguns. 

The difference here being that handguns cannot achieve the scale of a mass shooting that a gun like the AR-15 can.

CritterFactory
CritterFactory

@BettinaKozlowski

Oh please, spare me the Helen Lovejoy routine. You know very well that a right can be abused. yelling "fire" in a crowded theater can kill people too. That is a first amendment right abused. 

Clearly you are answering purely from an emotional standpoint. You have a Utopian facile argument. Guns exist, even with a total gun ban, guns exist. Look at Cumbria in 2010. Or gun proliferation in island nations with total bans. Though I know your intentions are good, you lack a grasp of the subject beyond a superficial level. That is harmful to people who may in fact need something that you yourself have no need in your life. 


Not to mention an AR-15 is functionally the same as a hunting rifle. 

The Ruger mini 14 wold not be banned under the currently proposed AWB. Yet it has the same rate of fire as an AR-15, excepts the same magazines as an AR-15, even fires the exact 5.56/.223 ammunition. Yet because it has a wood stock, it is not banned. The proposed legislature you are screaming for is ineffective for this reason. It simply bans the looks of a rife. It also ignores the guns used in 90% of all gun crimes. Handguns. 

This is the exact reason why you are getting so much friction. Because you gloss over something you never understood, then felt as if you could take on an argument of prohibition for something you actually know very little of. People oppose gun control because of these very flaws. the focus on knee jerk reactions to the problem, and do not actually confront the issue at all. 

oldhippy
oldhippy

@fitty_three @CritterFactory 

  We have these debates because those of us (like you and Baruch 100) who have never read the second paragraph in the "Declaration of Independence" have no concept of what our founding fathers wished to do in the future. 

   The polls have questions like: "Say there Baruch 100, Do you still beat your wife? - Only yes or no answer please." I'm waiting for your answer, Yes! or No! Think about it.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@CritterFactory @DonQuixotic @53_3 

The first amendment is not dependent on the technology of the times, and no the first amendment does not allow unrestricted freedom of speech.  Speech is not tangible; a firearm is.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@Pwrserge 

So any background checks or waiting periods should be met with the noose?  Wow.  No, it does not restrict how you may bear arms because you may still bear arms.

curt3rd
curt3rd

They had the most sophisticated weapons of their time.  Just ask the guys with bow and arrows if you can find them.

Pwrserge
Pwrserge

Does it restrict how I may bear arms? Yes. Therefore it is an infringement and is both illegal and treasonous. We used to hang traitors.

Pwrserge
Pwrserge

There are no restrictions on exercising the freedom of religion beyond malum inse acts. There is nothin malum inse about gun ownership you fail basic legal theory.

CritterFactory
CritterFactory

@DonQuixotic @CritterFactory @53_3 I think that is a semantic point that ignores the author's of the Bill of Rights perspective. But I am not going to be able to argue this outside of semantics, so I will pass. 

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@53_3 @DonQuixotic 

If people make the argument that the Government has no authority to ban Assault Weapons because it's a violation of the second amendment, then they also believe that the Government lacks the authority to enforce any firearm restrictions (background checks, waiting periods, no-gun zones, restrictions on weapons of war, etc.).  It's either/or, you can't argue for both.

BettinaKozlowski
BettinaKozlowski

@DonQuixotic @CritterFactory @53_3 

I'm sorry, Quixote, I replied to a comment earlier thinking it was yours, but it wasn't. My apologies. The message was intended for someone who didn't want any new gun control measures at all. 

fitty_three
fitty_three

@DonQuixotic

I agree with you.  We have restrictions on the First Amendment, and no one can claim that restrictions on the Second Amendment are any less constitutional. Even for voting, there are restrictions on that right as well, i.e. convicts can't vote, etc etc.

The problem with the right wing concept of "Constitutional Republic" is that they think that the Constitution can be interpreted differently at the state level.

But if that were really the case, we wouldn't even have a USA.

fitty_three
fitty_three

The last comment applies to my example of Jim Crow laws. The problem with those who want states rights to be supreme is that it cannot be so.

One of the reasons why federal oversight of a Constitutional nature is that we don't have states banning certain demographics from exercising rights in violation of the Constitution - an issue with gay marriage that's being enacted now.  

A further issue is that despite what anyone says, the Constitution is not dead. It is evolving through the amendment process.  The right to vote is something I personally believe is even more fundamental, but the GOP in red states continue to use local laws in an attempt to subvert and obstruct minority voting.  Unfortunately, because the original Constitution dealt with that right differently, we've had to go through the process of having a "Civil Rights Act" to prevent states from violating people's rights under the 14th.

Also, given the history of states rights as a cover to abuse their citizens on one level or another, why do you think there are many who are not fans of the concept?

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@CritterFactory @53_3

Gun control is a restriction on a right, much as Jim Crow laws where a restriction on a right as well.

Gun control restriction does not inhibit your right to bear arms.  Your inability to purchase "Assault Weapons" or Weapons of War does not prevent you from purchasing a handgun or a rifle or a shotgun (etc.).  You can still bear arms, and until there is a law that takes away a citizen's right to bear any form of firearms the point is moot.  The Assault Weapons ban from 1994-2004 was not unconstitutional for this very reason.

CritterFactory
CritterFactory

@53_3 @CritterFactory Not that I am a huge fan of quoting wikipedia, but this was the very first sentence that works quite well. 

"The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. These limitations serve to protect the natural rights of liberty and property." 

And we are not talking about restrictions on the 2nd amendment in the same way we have restrictions on the first. We are talking about prior restraint. You don't get gagged before you enter a movie to insure you don't yell fire. 

I say let the states make the laws, and if they are unconstitutional, knock em down. I think we agree for the most part, as I am not seeing to much of a counter point here. I think we may just be getting pedantic about our wording.  

fitty_three
fitty_three

@CritterFactory

First, it is not a "natural right".  It is in the bill of rights.  It also happens to be the second of ten Amendments in the Bill.

Do you know that there are restrictions on the First Amendment?

 There's a reason for that, which is why we even have this debate.

Also, in a Constitutional Republic,  the constituent states a free to implement laws that are not in violation of the Constitution - which is a decision made at the federal level.

CritterFactory
CritterFactory

@53_3 @CritterFactory Oh, I agree, but you have to realize that the second amendment is a natural right. One that the Bill of Rights protects. Also, 10th amendment is relevant  to this. States rights are important. Gun control is a restriction on a right, much as Jim Crow laws where a restriction on a right as well. This is not exactly a separate but equal scenario. It's a false analogy.