Compromise on background checks comes at the expense of other gun safety laws

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

"Bipartisan compromise" has become code for "the devil is in the details." The compromise on background checks comes at the expense of other gun safety laws.

The nation's second largest "gun rights" organization, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, claiming 650,000 members and supporters, endorsed the background checks compromise drafted by Sens. Manchin and Toomey on Sunday. Gun rights group endorses Manchin-Toomey background-check bill:

[The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms functions as a kind of sister organization to the Second Amendment
Foundation, a legal think tank and law firm based in Bellevue, Wash.,
that, along with the NRA, has been a leader in filing major court
challenges to halt restrictions on gun rights.]

[Late Sunday, a second gun rights group, the Independent Firearm Owners
Association, joined the Citizens Committee in endorsing the
Manchin-Toomey proposal. The group is led by a former NRA regional
political director, Richard Feldman, but has far fewer members than
either of the more established gun rights groups.]

[T]he announcement of support on Sunday from the Citizens Committee
reveals that substantial parts of the bill are viewed as “wins” for the
gun lobby, including provisions that would prohibit a government
registry of gun ownership and make it easier to transport and market weapons across state lines
.

“We decided to back it because we believe it is the right thing to
do,” said Julianne Versnel, director of operations for the group.

The
chairman of the Citizens Committee, Alan Gottlieb, told supporters in
an e-mail Sunday that the group would embrace the Manchin-Toomey
compromise. He urged members to read the senators’ proposal to
understand why the gun rights group would back it.

Gottlieb made clear in his e-mail that he enthusiastically backs the bill the NRA opposes.

“If
you read the Manchin-Toomey substitute amendment, you can see all the
advances for our cause that it contains,” Gottlieb wrote. He then listed
the gun rights advantages in the bill: “interstate sales of handguns,
veteran gun rights restoration, travel with firearms protection, civil
and criminal immunity lawsuit protection, and most important of all, the
guarantee that people, including federal officers, will go to federal
prison for up to 15 years if they attempt to use any gun sales records
to set up a gun registry
.”

These “advances” cannot be achieved, Gottlieb wrote, “unless we win the
Senate vote on Tuesday to substitute Senators Manchin and Toomey’s
balanced approach” to background checks. Gottlieb, like other gun group
leaders, opposes a more far-reaching background-check bill proposed by Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.).

* * *

Though news of a split in the usually unified gun lobby cheered
gun-control advocates, the gun lobby can count other probable wins in the current debate, such as the likely defeat of legislation to limit military-style assault weapons
and high-capacity ammunition magazines. Now, an expansion of
background-check requirements for gun sales is considered the most
likely major achievement.

Initially, gun-control advocates hoped for a requirement for
background checks of individuals purchasing a gun under most any
circumstance. Currently, background checks are conducted only for
purchases made from licensed gun dealers. The compromise measure,
drafted by Toomey and Manchin, would require background checks for
currently exempt online and gun-show sales but not for most other
private transactions
.

There were other signs of momentum on
gun-control legislation over the weekend, including a tentative
expression of support for the Toomey-Manchin compromise on Sunday from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), an endorsement by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), and indications of backing from several House Republicans, including some who have had previous endorsements from the NRA.

Officially, only three Republican senators — Toomey, Collins and Mark Kirk (Ill.)
— have said they plan to vote for the Manchin-Toomey agreement.
Democratic aides say the bill will need the backing of at least six
Republican senators to pass. The measure still has a long and tortuous
path, with dozens of amendments expected. The Senate is scheduled to
begin formal debate Tuesday by first considering the plan to expand the
gun background-check program.

* * *

Among Democratic senators, moderates conservadems Mark Begich (Alaska) and Mark Pryor (Ark.),
who face difficult reelection fights in 2014, voted against proceeding
with debate and are expected to oppose the overall gun bill. Max Baucus (Mont.), Kay Hagan (N.C.) and Mary Landrieu (La.),
who are also facing difficult reelection prospects, voted for debate
but have signaled they may vote against the Manchin-Toomey deal.

* * *

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) hopes to hold an up-or-down vote on the Manchin-Toomey plan by midweek and then proceed to vote on other amendments, according to senior Senate aides familiar with the plans.

Reid also is expected to call for a roll call on Democratic-backed
amendments including the plan to ban military-style assault weapons, the
aides said. A vote on the proposed ban, which is sponsored by 22 Senate
Democrats, is expected to fall far short of the 60 votes needed to
ensure final passage. Regardless, aides said Reid wants to hold a vote
on the proposal early in the gun debate to fulfill his promise to Obama;
the plan’s lead sponsor, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.); and gun-control groups that supported the ban.

Reid
also hopes to hold a vote on a Democratic plan to limit the size of
ammunition magazines, another proposal expected to fail, aides said.
From there, he could proceed to a host of proposed amendments, including
a bipartisan plan to provide more federal funding for mental health
programs that assist military veterans, a Coburn proposal to establish
an online portal for gun buyers to conduct their own background checks, a
Republican plan to change the legal definition of mentally ill people
when it comes to gun crimes, and an overarching GOP alternative to the
underlying gun bill.

Gun-control advocates are worried about some of the expected amendments
authored or backed by the NRA, including one that would provide a “national reciprocity
arrangement in which a gun owner who receives a permit to carry a
concealed weapon in any one state would then be allowed to do that
anywhere in the country.

I am not at all optimistic that this Congress, bought and paid for by the lobbyists for the merchants of death, will do the right thing and enact common-sense gun safety laws that the American people demand. The American people do not factor into their decision. Campaign contributions and the threat of a well-financed primary opponent are the only things that these spineless cowards care about. I doubt there is a "Profile In Courage" among them.

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