On Tuesday night, the Senate voted to advance a “gun safety” bill in response to shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, N.Y. (the media has conveniently forgotten the shooting at a church in Laguna Woods, Calif., that took place between the other two shootings but didn’t fit The Narrative™ for the gun-control crowd).
The Hill framed the vote as the moment when the Senate “broke through nearly 30 years of stalemate on gun control legislation.”
I won’t rehash the bill here; instead, I’ll refer to my colleague Stephen Kruiser, who pointed out the worst features of the 80-page legislation:
There are two HUGE problems with this legislation, especially for conservatives: it legitimizes both federal intervention in state matters and “red flag” laws. The latter is particularly problematic because implementation is rife with gray areas, no matter how many stipulations are in place. As I have been fond of saying, once red-flag laws are on the books, we’re on the most slippery of slippery slopes. One day people are raising legitimate concerns, the next we have people reporting the neighbor who just rubs them the wrong way.
Those facts didn’t stop the measure from passing by a vote of 64-34. Every single one of the Democrats voted in favor of advancing the bill, which means that 14 Republicans went along with it. Here they are:
14 Republicans voted 'YES' tonight:
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) June 22, 2022
Some of those names are the usual suspects, the ones who are going to “go rogue” and vote with the Dems on other issues too.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the guy whose constituents booed him over his support for compromise legislation, ran point on the negotiations with Democrats at the behest of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
The Hill reports the negotiations in a way that makes them sound just as sinister as compromising with Democrats to violate the Second Amendment should: “McConnell tapped Cornyn to lead the negotiations for Republicans shortly after a bipartisan group of senators met in Murphy’s basement to begin talks in hopes of finding a way to respond to the Buffalo and Uvalde shootings.”
One of the most remarkable things about this list is that, while the usual squishes (Collins, Murkowski, Romney) appear on it, none of them have a low rating with the National Rifle Association. In fact, Collins rates a B with the NRA, while the rest have an A (Portman, Romney, Blunt, Cassidy, Graham, Tillis, Capito, Ernst, Murkowski) or an A+ (Cornyn, McConnell, Burr, Young) rating from the NRA.
Of the “GOP Gun Control 14,” as Off the Press calls them, only Murkowski and Young are facing re-election in 2022. Blunt, Burr, and Portman aren’t running for another term, so the vast majority of these senators have nothing to lose this election cycle.
Gun rights groups aren’t happy, needless to say.
“Once again, so-called ‘conservative’ Senators are making clear they believe that the rights of American citizens can be compromised away,” Erich Pratt of Gun Owners of America said in a statement. “Let me be clear, they have NO AUTHORITY to compromise with our rights, and we will not tolerate legislators who are willing to turn gun owners into second-class citizens.”
“We will oppose this gun control legislation because it falls short at every level,” read a statement from the NRA. “It does little to truly address violent crime while opening the door to unnecessary burdens on the exercise of Second Amendment freedom by law-abiding gun owners. This bill leaves too much discretion in the hands of government officials and also contains undefined and overbroad provisions – inviting interference with our constitutional freedoms.”
“Since the shooting, my office has received tens of thousands of calls, letters, and emails with a singular message: Do something,” Senator John Cornyn (R., Texas), a negotiator from the Republican side, said in a floor speech. “Not do nothing. But do something. I think we’ve found some areas where there is some space for compromise”
“Today, we finalized bipartisan, commonsense legislation to protect America’s children, keep our schools safe, and reduce the threat of violence across our country,” Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.), a key coalition member from the Democratic side, said in a statement. “Our legislation will save lives and will not infringe on any law-abiding American’s Second Amendment rights.”
Gutowski also points out that the vote to advance the bill suggests that the votes are there to pass the bill before Congress goes on its Independence Day break.