Politics, Factions, and “Cowards” Hinder Gun Control Legislation in the Senate

| by Dabney Bailey
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Gun control advocates who are pushing a new gun control legislation are facing tough opposition from within. A whole host of factors, from upcoming elections to Democratic in-fighting, could hinder the bill.

Matt Bennett, gun control advocate and senior vice president of think tank Third Way, argues that upcoming elections are one of the biggest factors standing in the way of stronger gun control legislation. He argues, “If there was a secret-ballot vote [then the bill] would pass overwhelmingly, because from a substantive point of view most of these senators understand that this is the right thing to do. What’s holding them back is pure politics.”

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Cali) agreed with Bennett, stating that her slow-to-act gun control colleagues have created “an environment so that cowards can succeed.” She added, “Ninety-one percent of the American people support a universal background check, and we’ve got members on the House and Senate side that are gutless. They know in their heart of hearts that it’s the absolute right thing to do, but they are more concerned about their reelection.”

As if gun rights advocates weren’t already opposition enough for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev), Reid has the daunting task of uniting wishy-washy Democrats under the gun control banner. Even that might not be worth the effort -- Reid has been criticized for trying to shield Democrats from needing to make hard, unpopular votes.

To make matters worse for gun control proponents like Speier, the NRA has proposed amendments to the legislation that would cripple the bill. The bill would still criminalize straw gun sales, but under the revisions the police would have to prove that the retailer knew that the buyer intended to commit a crime and that he had reason to believe that the purchaser could not legally purchase guns.

Between opposition, optional amendments, upcoming elections, in-fighting, and “gutless” Democrats,  the upcoming gun control bill could be dead on arrival. 

Source: Washington Post