Gun control bill clears first hurdle

Senate pushes legislation through.
Associated Press
Apr 12, 2013

Congress' most serious gun-control effort in years cleared its first hurdle Thursday as the Senate pushed past conservatives' attempted blockade under the teary gaze of families of victims of December's Connecticut school shootings.

The bipartisan 68-31 vote rebuffed an effort to keep debate from even starting, giving an early victory — and perhaps political momentum — to President Barack Obama and his gun control allies. Four months after 20 first-graders and six staffers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown were killed, relatives watching the vote from a gallery overlooking the Senate floor dabbed at tears and clasped hands, some seeming to pray.

Even so, few supporters of the legislation are confident of victory. Several weeks of emotional, unpredictable Senate debate lie ahead, and a mix of gun-rights amendments, opposition from the National Rifle Association and skepticism from House Republican leaders leave big questions about what will emerge from Congress. Foes of the proposed new restrictions say they would penalize law-abiding citizens and do nothing to curb gun violence.

"The hard work starts now," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who brought the legislation to the floor for debate.

Still, in a Congress marked by a notable lack of cooperation between Democrats and Republicans, Thursday's vote was one of several displays of unusual rapport across party lines. In other examples not connected to the issue of guns:

—Negotiators for the two parties said they had reached agreement on the major elements of a Senate immigration bill they're expected to unveil next week.

—The top Republican in government, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, publicly disagreed with his party campaign chairman's criticism of Obama's budget proposal to trim future Social Security and Medicare benefits. Wednesday night, GOP senators left a White House dinner praising Obama for reaching out to them on his budget.

—Senators of both parties had a rare joint luncheon to honor Arizona Sen. John McCain, the GOP's 2008 presidential nominee, on the 40th anniversary of his release from a North Vietnamese prison.

Hoping to bring pressure on Congress to act on gun control, supporters of new restrictions have been demonstrating in Washington. They have erected a mock graveyard with thousands of crosses on the National Mall, symbolizing victims of gun violence.

The Senate's firearms bill would subject nearly all gun buyers to background checks, add muscle to federal laws barring illicit firearm sales and provide slightly more money for school safety measures.

Excluded and facing near-certain defeat in upcoming votes were proposals to ban military-style weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines — factors in the Newtown killings some other recent mass shootings. But keeping those provisions out of the current legislation did not mollify critics.

Opponents said the remaining proposals were unwarranted intrusions on the Second Amendment right to bear arms, would be ignored by criminals and would do little to prevent future Newtowns. Obama's plans have received scant support from Republicans and many moderate Democrats, with many saying they prefer improvements in dealing with the mentally ill and stronger enforcement of existing laws.

"I'm not interested in a symbolic gesture which would offer the families of the Sandy Hook shootings no real solutions that they seek," said Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the Senate's No. 2 Republican.

Congress hasn't approved major gun restrictions since enacting an assault weapons ban 19 years ago, a prohibition that lawmakers let lapse after a decade.

Some potential amendments could broaden gun rights and weaken supporters' backing for the overall bill.

One proposal is by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Mark Begich, D-Alaska, who say it would improve how the federal background check system blocks weapons from going to people with certain mental problems, though critics say it would make it harder in some cases to do so. Another possible amendment would require states to recognize permits for carrying concealed weapons issued by other states.

In Thursday's vote, 50 Democrats and 2 Democratic-leaning independents were joined by 16 Republicans in voting to begin debate on the legislation. Twenty-nine Republicans and two Democrats facing re-election next year in GOP-leaning states voted "no" — Alaska's Begich and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.

After the roll call, Obama spoke by phone with some Newtown families and said he would "keep fighting for the votes they deserve," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.

The Senate plans to debate an amendment Tuesday expanding background checks less broadly than the overall legislation would. Broadening the system to cover more transactions is the heart of the current effort on guns.

That amendment, a compromise between Sens. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., would subject buyers in commercial settings like gun shows and the Internet to the checks but exempt non-commercial transactions like sales between friends and relatives.

That accord, unveiled Wednesday, was designed to build bipartisan support for the legislation and seemed likely to do so. Toomey and Manchin are among the most conservative members of their parties and are both gun owners with NRA ratings of "A."

Toomey said Thursday he believes supporters of his compromise with Manchin would be able to beat back any filibuster attempt.

"Beyond that, I just don't know yet," he said on "CBS This Morning."

Gun-control groups have embraced the Manchin-Toomey compromise with varying degrees of enthusiasm, and they continued to applaud it on Thursday — while also expressing concerns about some provisions.

Besides the exemption for private sales, gun control advocates expressed displeasure with language letting gun dealers sell handguns to out-of-state customers, exempting some holders of permits for concealed weapons from background checks and shielding individuals who sell guns from some negligence lawsuits.

"We are optimistic that this bill will make a dramatic difference in reducing gun violence," said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

The NRA said it opposed the Manchin-Toomey compromise and warned senators that it would count votes on provisions it opposes in its evaluation of candidates that it provides its members, who the organization says number nearly 5 million.

___

Associated Press writers Erica Werner, Charles Babington and Laurie Kellman contributed to this report.

 

Comments

Erie County Resident

Having a National Registry available makes full confication easy. Yes this IS the exact same thing your master obies idol did in Nazi Germany in 1934. It is a fact go look it up. It is not just symbolic as you say.

You also say it will go no further.. Oh how silly you are. England did this a few years back and they now have to register knives over 3" long.
Shall we continue down this path? Their crimes rates are soaring.

The Big Dog's back

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

bored reader

Which can only mean puppy that all the Right Wingers are bigger than you!!

KnuckleDragger

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

coasterfan

Agree with deer tracker. The problem is that they live in the GOP/NRA bubble, in which no facts get in. The Gun manufactures and NRA don't want anything that would hurt sales, and actually have people believing that Obama is going to take their guns away, even though that is prohibited by the Constitution. Seriously, we can't even get common sense gun legislation passed, when it is supported by 90% of Americans. So there is absolutely no way a change to the 2nd amendment would make it thru Congress, even if Obama wanted to do that, which he does not. The gullible folks who believe the NRA propaganda aren't the type that would figure this out on their own, of course.

S w Rand 2016

Obama signed the U.N. Small Arms Treaty, which seeks to outlaw, worldwide, all small arms.
You told people to relax and that no one wants to take Americans' guns.

Then, Democrat Senator Diane Feinstein's legislation has language that seeks to ban "assault weapons" that are capable of receiving a clip which holds more than 10 rounds, which would have to include 90% of the firearms (both rifle and handgun) that Americans own and purchase. And Obama is whipping people up into an emotional wreck to pressure them to support Democrats in this issue.
You are telling us to relax and that no one is trying to take Americans' guns.

The only reason that it hasn't passed is because people didn't relax. It's just background checks on the table now, because people ignored your advice and paid attention instead.
Nevertheless, VP Joe Biden assures us "this is only the beginning."
You are still telling people to relax and stop talking about it?

OH-IO

LOL! I agree with deertracker.Oh God it's the end of the world as some of you paranoid schitzos think. I guess you don't care about the families and the victims of the Colorado movie theatre shooting, the Arizona shooting or even the Newtown shooting? It's all unprecendented in this country. I guess your paranoia makes you not care. I'm going to the ballpark to enjoy America just like I've always done.

Simple Enough II

I disagree with you. The real issue if you want to stop this from happening again isn't about? gun control, but the drugs & their side effects that these people are on (IMO).

coasterfan

Yep, typical conservatives gun nuts. It's ok if somebody else's family members get killed. That's not important. What's important to them is that they be able to amass a huge arsenal if they want, as a way to deal with their paranoia against a whole bunch of imagined threats that have about 0.0000001 chance of actually happening. The reality, of course, is that guns kill farrrrrrrrrr more family members than intruders. NRA members should adopt Pogo's famous slogan: "We have met the enemy, and he is us".

The gun manufacturers and NRA are counting on all of us to be paranoid, stupid, or both. Only 4 million of Americans (roughly 2%) are NRA members, and most of them proudly display NRA bumper stickers. Personally, I'm glad that they do that. It makes it easy to spot those among us who are less intelligent, and staying as far as possible from them keeps me far more safe than buying a gun likely could. :)

KnuckleDragger

Don't forget to include the numbers that belong to anti-gun organizations for fairness, that number being 610,000. So we should again cowtow to a very small group of individuals. Also you need some help with math, 4 million of over 300 million is less than 2%. As far as less intelligent, lets compare education credentials, a incomes shall we? Gotta love the liberal elitist. A little man with a bachelors degree (if even that), living off his teacher wife, believes he is smarter than everyone else.

Simple Enough II

So here you go labeling conservatives as gun nuts when the real issue is brought up, try and do all you want with guns, but it will not stop the problem as (IMO)it is the drugs we are forcing on folks that are the trigger for these episodes. I call them episodes as how many times have folks on these meds gone over the edge and been stopped by family members and such and not reported or data not even collected? Why shouldn't people be concerned with what our governments are doing with spending and laws they enact that impact us negatively?

S w Rand 2016

It takes a real streak of immaturity to whip out the "nut" label, especially for someone who has little to no idea what they are blogging about.

http://larrycorreia.wordpress.co...
I'd say "try that on for size," but I know it's probably too big for you.

OH-IO

Oh by the way I've got 4 registered guns that aren't disqualified due to the bill.

KnuckleDragger

Do you live in Ohio? If so, you are lying, Ohio doesn't register guns, and there is no federal registry either, except for fully automatic weapons.

goofus

A sad part of the life experience is death. As soon as you emerge from the birth canal, you are on your way to the grave. Some get there sooner than others, and I guarantee nobody get's out alive. We all hear about Newtown and Colorado but where is the humanity for people killed in accidents.

The Big Dog's back

goof, the great philosopher.

Erie County Resident

Oh yeah the liberal media keeps playing the tune of Obummers lies.
One of Obummers latest lies is his speech saying the Newtown shooter ran thru the school shooting a fully automatic assault rifle.
Yeah let's keep drinkin; the kool-aid your master is mixing up.

You want to really do something? Fix the problem not the tools. The tools can't do this by themselves, somebody crazy has to operate them to get this outcome.

The Big Dog's back

Ahhhhh the shooter did run thru the school shooting a fully automatic assault rifle, despite what right wing world says.

KnuckleDragger

A Bushmaster .223 is not a fully automatic weapon, despite what MSNBC keeps feeding you.

gene44870

Its a sad day in our country when we cant get our goverment to do whats needed to protect honest hard working people as well as the law bidding .
To my understanding , this new law is not much better then the old one , and dont change a thing .They are wording it in such a way to distort the fact that they arent going to anything about it due to the idea that constituton and the NRA
if cops and children not to mention honest hard working americans werent being killed almost on a daily bases , then I would agree .Whats it going to take to get the messege across that tougher laws should be in place and that anyone that is found guilty of a crime using a hand gun , would not see the light of day and would face the death
Yes I know that there would be more problems with them kinds of laws , but at the same time it would deter a lot of crime
And kids should not be permitted tyo have a gun of any kind ontill the age of 21 .
If they are 21 and they kill someone they would be {in some cases }givin the the hot shot , and not to mention kids at the 13 should be tried as an 35 year old , they cant tell me that they dont know the difference between right and wrong . I feel that at the age of 10 you should know the difference , its the only way that its going to deter using fire arms to kill another human .
You have had a movie house shot up , you have had two shooting in two different schools and to many law enforcement officers killed across this country killed as well as a lotof tax payers killed , and something needs to be done and really fast
Remember officer dunn , he was killed by a fire arm and by someone that had been in jail for having guns when it was not permitted to have any
Whats it going to take to get the messege across that honest people like myself are tired of the goverment allowing these thugs to have guns and nothin happening . And thats just what this new law is going to do .
Has everyone forgot that Officer Dunn was the first officer in our cities history that had been killed in the line of duty
This should tell us all something

coasterfan

The laws work. The gun shop who sold the guns to Lanza's mom lost their license because they didn't follow the rules, and THAT should tell us something.

The problem is that only 40% of gun sales take place through vendors who are required to run background checks. This is like building a fence around 40% of your yard, in hopes that your dog won't get out. The dog, of course, will just run around the end of the fence and get out, and that's exactly what happens with gun sales. Felons and the mentally ill know that they can't buy a gun from a brick and mortar store, because they won't pass the required background check. So, like the dog, they simply buy it at a gun show, or at redneckguns.com online.

So, if you're tired of the dog getting out of the yard, the solution is obvious: build the fence around 100% of the yard. It's obvious to 90% of Americans, anyway. Heck, even NRA tool LaPierre is on record in 1999 as being in favor of universal background checks. That, of course, was before the NRA completely left the world of reality.

tell it how it is

"The laws work."
HAHAHAHAHAHA. You're a special kind of stupid. They've worked so well for all the drugs, underage consumption, theft, ectect.

Liberal IDIOTS.

KnuckleDragger

The two laws they are trying to pass will not protect anybody. The last assault weapon ban did nothing to stop gun crime, and the background check bill will also have no effect on crime.

tell it how it is

This crap needs to stop.
OUR guns, OUR country, OUR constitution.
Leave them alone.
Got a problem with how it's run here? GTFO.

your master

The winds of change are coming and there is nothing the NRA can do about it.

tell it how it is

but there is something the People can do about it.

Simple Enough II

Agree.

vicariouslyAlive

my favorite part is how they ditched just about everything from the first draft to try and make anything through to the voting floor. let us not all forget that the original draft of what they are trying to pass not only called out specific modifications of guns, but out right named many makes and models of guns for a ban on them. that idea was ditched because it seemed too close to a ban / confiscation... so they figured they'd go after it all in smaller steps. registration first so they know where they all are, so in the near future when they push for a full on ban, they can just stop by and pick them up. all this is is a step by step procedure because going for it all at once would have resulted in a total failure just like back in the 90's where they went for a total gun ban and ended up with a temporary rifle ban...

obama needs to pass anything he can at this point so he isnt seen as a lame duck just like bush, who did relatively nothing positive for the nation. obama should have stuck with his alternative energy resource bit and rode that horse to the ground... that whole nature bit worked for gore and other dem's in the past...

really all obama had to do to look like a more successful president that bush was sit and smile... but instead he's going to start all of this fuss with guns banning and registration and then get busted shooting at camp david a few weeks later... good job there chief.

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