Just when you thought the momentum for gun control was exhausted, the GOP may have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Despite the public attention and support gun control received in the wake of the tragedy at Newtown, Connecticut, both houses of Congress have been less than sanguine to initiate new gun control legislation. Initially it appeared as though the NRA had sabotaged themselves with CEO Wayne LaPierre giving a surreal tone deaf press conference on arming teachers to prevent further shootings.
Gun control advocates thought they might finally have an opening, but that hope would soon be in jeopardy.
The power of the gun lobby combined with a growing distrust of the federal government after revelations about secret memos justifying the killing of American Citizens cooled enthusiasm on both sides of the political spectrum for further empowering Washington. The consensus was that the only bill that could make it through Congress was a universal background check, maybe.
Then, for some reason, some of the Republican Senate delegation (of the Tea Party variety) decided to threaten to filibuster any gun control deal – guaranteeing Democrats sympathetic press and painting (or revealing as the case may be) the GOP as reckless and dishonorable. And surprise, the heat from the backlash split the Republican Caucus and rebuilt momentum for a gun control bill just as 60 Minutes aired a heartbreaking interview with the Newtown parents who supported new laws – specifically saying “they have to vote.” In other words, filibustering would disrespect the dead children of the Sandy Hook massacre. Ouch.
So now rumors of a deal being made on background checks and gun trafficking have surfaced.
Momentum grew for Senate passage of gun legislation when a bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday announced agreement on deals to expand background checks and tighten laws against gun trafficking.
The first breakthrough came in a deal on background checks announced by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who agreed on an amendment that would exempt all “personal” transfers of weapons between individuals, but would close the infamous gun show loophole and also require background checks on Internet sales.
Poor gamesmanship may have given gun control some last minute oxygen in the Senate but it still has to survive the House of Representatives. Maybe the Tea Party House Republicans will prove to be as moronic as their Senate colleagues. In which case all will not have been for naught and we may actually see a gun control bill pass this year.