The Senate wisely rejected an irrational and misguided effort to infringe on the Second Amendment rights of Americans yesterday.
Under the guise of “bipartisanship”, the amendment offered by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), would have required background checks on all commercial sales of guns potentially creating precedents (where none currently exist) that could eventually result in the criminalization of certain private transfers of firearms between law-abiding citizens, and potentially require that friends, neighbors and even some family members to get federal government permission to exercise a fundamental right or face criminal prosecution.
While support for gun control proposals saw a sharp rise in support immediately after the shootings in Connecticut (rising to nearly 60%), support has plummeted back down to normal levels below 50%. During that time, a slew of proposals have been offered by liberals eager to capitalize on the deaths of the children. While it was initially praised as a “reasonable compromise” by desperate gun control advocates, hopes for the Manchin-Toomey bill faded over the past few days, and needing 60 votes to move forward, it received the support of only 54 members.
While Democrats and President Obama are desperate to blame Republicans for the failure of their efforts, the amendment (which was the last, best hope to enact any infringements on Second Amendment rights) lost the support of four Democrats on Wednesday: Senators Max Baucus (Mont.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.). All but Heitkamp face difficult reelections in 2014, and all come from rural states with strong gun cultures – states where the majority of citizens do not have an irrational fear or hatred of firearms. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) voted against the amendment for procedural reasons.
While none of the proposed legislation would have prevented the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, Democrats and Obama insist on ramrodding these unconstitutional proposals through by force, emotional blackmail and thinly-veiled threats. Unsurprisingly, President Obama responded to this rejection of his gun control efforts angrily and with vehement rhetoric. Speaking in the Rose Garden after the vote, he made numerous slanderous, divisive and controversial remarks. I’ve included some excerpts from the speech transcript:
“A few months ago, in response to too many tragedies, including the shootings of a United States congresswoman, Gabby Giffords, who’s here today, and the murder of 20 innocent schoolchildren and their teachers, this country took up the cause of protecting more of our people from gun violence.”
By making this statement, Obama slanders anyone who opposes his gun control efforts as being opposed to protecting children from gun violence. Unless – he and Democrats believe – you embrace and support his legislation, you are in favor of kids dying.
“A few minutes ago a minority in the United States Senate decided it wasn’t worth it. They blocked common-sense gun reforms, even while these families looked on from the Senate gallery.”
Here, Obama claims that those who voted against the legislation not only had no interest in “protecting children”, but that they were callous and heartless enough to do so in the tear-stained faces of heart-broken parents – something only evil or incredibly stupid people could possibly do.
“As they said, nobody could honestly claim that the package they put together infringed on our second amendment rights.”
Here, Obama continues to insist that anyone claiming that legislation could even potentially infringe on second amendment rights is dishonest. Harry Reid has referred to those questioning legislation as the “black helicopter conspiracy crowd”. This administration has decided that the only important objective is passage of legislation designed to affect the role of guns in American society. Anyone opposed to that objective – by any degree and for any reason – is dishonest, deranged, and de-legitimized.
The list goes on and on. With his Rose Garden temper tantrum yesterday, President Obama further reinforced the increasingly common perception that his efforts are motivated by leftist political policies, not a measured response to a tragedy. The American people support the Second Amendment rights guaranteed by the Constitution, and upheld by the Supreme Court. They are not prepared to support legislation that would erode and weaken those rights.