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

KnuckleDragger

Go ahead, it's not going anywhere once it gets to the house. Can you say "Hastert Rule?" I knew you could:) Harry Reid is finally gonna get a taste of his own medicine.

your master

Slowley America catches up with the rest of the world.

coasterfan

Slowly is right. As usual, the Republican Neanderthals need to be dragged kicking and screaming from their 1950's world.

tell it how it is

You mean our 1787 world?

You probably won't even know what that means, as it obviously doesn't matter to you or any other liberal wackjob.

KnuckleDragger

Here, let me change the words around a little in order apply it properly. "As usual, the tu tu wearing liberal democrats have an overwhelming propensity to give away our rights without making a peep." I chuckle, because this only has a small chance of clearing the Senate, and no chance at all of clearing the House. In fact, there is already a call in the house to make sure the speaker implements what is called "the Hastert Rule." which is similar to what Harry Reid has been doing for years. In other words, the speaker will refuse to allow any gun control measure to even make it to the floor. Sort of like how Reid has refused to allow any budget related measure from the house to ever make it to the Senate floor. Finally the Dems will get a taste of their own medicine.

mikel

while they are at it they should ban those tour buses.

Fromthe419

My guess is they will get more background checks and that will be it. The third rail in politics are entitlement reform and guns, no Democrat or Republican is going to risk losing an election by touching either of these.

Pterocarya frax...

I really thought Senator Portman would come around on this cloture vote. I guess he will have to experience a mass shooting in his own family, before he will be able to understand.

coasterfan

Zing! An excellent point Ptero. Bill Maher nailed it when he said that Republicans have an inability to feel any empathy towards anyone who isn't like them - unless it's someone in their own family.

KnuckleDragger

Empathy means nothing without action, and the Democrats have become masters at showing empathy and then doing nothing about it. So what you are advocating is to strip people of rights in order to show empathy? Maybe we should start with the first amendment since that seems to be the only one Dems care about.

S w Rand 2016

How does anyone have the time to pay attention to a comedian like Bill Maher and still feel that they've put in the time required to navigate the ocean of information out there adequately enough to be even reasonably informed in regards to shouldering the responsibility which comes with making a comment on a news article which may influence those who read it? I'd really like to know.

Oh, by the way. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...
You just got debunked.

Simple Enough II

So you think gun restrictions will resolve the problem, just like signs stating no weapons allowed on school grounds? Stop and think about this, I believe you will find each and everyone of these murderers was on psychotropic drugs like Antidepressents, stimulants, antipsychotics, moodstabilizers, you know the ones doctors perscribe for things like ADD/ADHD, Bipolar and the I'm just having a hard time dealing with everyday normal life" situations. These drugs can have serious side effects and no one is willing to address that, think about it what person does this kind of act then suddenly offs themselves?

gene44870

All they did was an end run around this topic . In my eyes nothin is going to change
What good does back ground checks do anyhow ? Does anyone think that a thug is going to apply for a permit to buy a gun ? If you so maybe you need to get a brain .
The only thing back ground checks are going to do is help keep honest law bidding residents from their right to bare arms .
So Congress and Preisdent Obama , you need to go back to the table on this
The revised law says that the sellers are guns have to do back ground checks . But if I want to give or sell a gun to my brother . or friend or whatever , that find , no back ground check is needed . Hell thats what the thugs are doing to get these guns and clips . They arent going to worry about back ground checks and such . Its time Mr president and congress to get back and really come up with a law that is going to help and protect honest hard working people as well as our kids

mikel

gene44870, i believe to legally give or sell your weapon to another individual you have to take it to a gun dealer and have them do the transfer paperwork.

bored reader

My understanding is that you are not correct. At least for now, you can sell to anyone of age and legally able to possess a firearm. I bought one of mine off a Facebook site and met at Walmart.

gene44870

ONE CAN ONLY HOPE

tell it how it is

Very incorrect. My boyfriend just sold an AR 15...to a police officer actually for his son. No gun dealer needed.

coasterfan

Dear Gene: Will universal background checks stop all gun purchases by people who aren"t supposed to have them? No. Will they block more of these illegal sales than the current laws? Absolutely, and that's the reason 90% of Americans favor universal background checks. You're entitled to think that anyone who disagrees with you is stupid, but perhaps you should ponder, just for a second, the reality that more than 90% of Americans think your viewpoint is wrong.

We in the 90% understand the obvious: there are no background checks for sales at gun shows, Internet sales and private sales, which make up nearly 2/3 of gun sales. This is the same as building a fence around only 1/3 of your yard, and then telling me that your dog won't get out. People who aren't supposed to be able to buy guns (felons and mentally ill) aren't stupid. They know that they can still get guns any time they want, by simply buying iit through a dealer that doesn't have to do background checks. They just walk around the end of that fence which the NRA built around 1/3 of your yard. If you need a real example of an 'end run', look no further than your own viewpoint....

Simple Enough II

Sorry don't buy that anology.

Beerguy

has anyone paid any attention to what the majority of law enforcement are say. they dont want more gun control they know it will only take guns away from good people and thst the thugs and bangger will be the only ones with guns, come on people get a clue as to what is going on nobama wants us disarmed just like hitler wanted his people disarmed before WW 2

gene44870

Hey Beerguy , you and I are the only ones that see this , and besides when was the last time you seen a thug filing for a permit to carrie a fite arm? That would be NEVER .
So what good is the gun controll bill that they have passed in the senate going to do ? Nothin accept protect the law makers that get donations from people like the NRA .
The NRA is only wanting to use this as an reason to up hold a part of the constition that was wrote back before any of us were born or even thought of and The writers of it in my eyes forseen all the things that are going on today , or I believe that they would have worded it differently
Yes I am a supporter of some of the constition but not all of it , and this is one thing that I am against and that is the right for anyone for any reason having a gun
Something needs to be done to look out for the people that are law bidding , and have tougher laws when it comes to these thugs that can get guns and shoot up our schools as well as kill people that are law bidding

coasterfan

Gene: First off, the word is "abiding", not "bidding". And I think you meant "bear arms", rather than 'bare arms', which describes how you look when wearing a short sleeve shirt. Please also learn the difference between "except" and "accept". And congrats on inventing a completely new word: Constition. Hint: you will have a better chance in discussions here if you don't come across as a stereotypical illiterate NRA redneck. We do agree on one thing: something does need to be done to protect the law-abiding people. Which is why you should support universal background checks, to keep guns away from people who shouldn't be allowed to own them.

vicariouslyAlive

... "bare arms" seems wrong because it's spelled like the animal, but that's the was is it... so in talks like this i always imagine people with the arms of a bear when they spell it that way. funny stuff in the middle of all the seriousness.

S w Rand 2016

Oh, so now it's just about universal background checks? No more attempting to ban "assault weapons" that are capable of receiving clips that hold more than 10 rounds, effectively banning 90% of the rifle and handgun makes and models that Americans own and purchase?

Nice. I am glad that Senators like Rand Paul got the attention of the public by standing up against Senate Democrats who, after passing a version of NDAA which included indefinite detention provisions and removing our right to trial by jury, proceeded to attempt passing another piece of inhumane legislation which would've effectively demanded that we be 90% disarmed.

It's just background checks now, though. They will have to harp on it now so as not to appear too obvious about covering up Senator Feinstein's initial intentions.
Would you like some of my popcorn?

KnuckleDragger

If you are not a supporter of our full Constitution, maybe you should pack up and move.

asweetnessabove

I agree beerguy, and its only going to get worse

Finn Finn

Also agree with beerguy.

bored reader

Double like!!

deertracker

When are you guys going to stop telling the big lie about your gun being taken from you? I agree the proposed legislation is mostly symbolic but so what. All this hitler talk is so tiresome. Relax, there's no black helicopter coming or massive raid on you in the middle of the night to take your legally, registered gun. You people really need to get a hobby or something.

goofus

Easy to orate on the virtues of the gun law when you actually trust this administration, however there is a lot of individuals that don't trust Obozo, or should I say Barry Soetero or Harrison J. Bounell. How do you know from the sitting president that he doesn't have black helicopters on the waiting areas of the desert. You forget, people voted for Hitler and his party.

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.