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Does the Senate Gun Deal Mean the NRA is Losing its Power?

Does the Senate Gun Deal Mean the NRA is Losing its Power?

The Senate deal to expand gun background checks is far short of perfect. Under the compromise brokered by Sens. Mark Kirk, R-Ill.; Joe Manchin, D-W.V.; Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. and Pat Toomey, R-Penn., background checks would be required for sales online and at gun shows, closing a significant loophole. Background checks would not, however, be expanded to individual sales, leaving in place a loophole that allows straw purchasers to funnel weapons to felons.

What’s more, the compromise does nothing to regulate what types of firearms are available, or to limit accessories, such as the 30-round magazines used by shooter Adam Lanza in his attack in Newtown, Conn.

If you believe in gun regulation, you may be tempted to throw up your hands, and declare that they system is irrevocably broken. If Congress can’t pass meaningful gun regulation after the Sandy Hook attack, when will it happen?

Certainly, that sentiment is understandable, but it ignores the larger symbolism of the moment. The NRA fought against the expansion of background checks, just as it has fought every gun regulation proposed since the expiration of the assault weapons ban. Indeed, the recent history of gun regulation has been one of ever-expansive rights for gun owners — with the NRA successfully advancing bills allowing concealed weapons in national parks, requiring background check records to be destroyed,  and preventing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from monitoring gun dealers for illegal, off-book sales. Indeed, the NRA successfully lobbied to make the position of BATFE director one that requires Senate confirmation — and has managed to block every BAFTE director appointed since.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the NRA has managed to beat back any and every regulation proposed by anyone over the past decade. It is an organization that has gotten used to having its way.

That is why today’s announcement is so important. As the old saying goes, it’s not how gracefully the dancing bear waltzes, but that it waltzes at all. The fact that the Senate appears poised to get any gun regulation through is a sign that the NRA’s power has peaked, and is beginning to ebb. Despite resolute and continued opposition to expanding background checks to gun shows, the NRA has found that in this case, it cannot bully enough Senators into doing its will; simply, Republican senators recognized that this fight was a political loser, and whatever the NRA might demand, voting against background checks would be damaging.

The NRA is trying to put the best face on things it can. It has called the revision to the bill a “positive development,” and it has been noncommittal about “scoring” the vote, leaving open the possibility that it may simply choose not to fight further. That’s politics: losers always try to salvage some measure of victory.

The NRA has lost, however. Just days ago, it appeared they may succeed in lobbying for a successful filibuster. Now they must hope that the House can water down legislation further. It may not be a dramatic victory for those of us who support sensible gun regulation, but it represents a critical turning point — and it will make the next showdown with the NRA all the easier.

 

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114 comments

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6:40AM PDT on Apr 22, 2013

Gun ownership is the last refuge of the incompetant.

2:30PM PDT on Apr 18, 2013

SENATE NOT DOING THE JOB THE MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE WISH......once again proof we are a corporatocracy, the few rich companies/groups can buy the decision makers......


next election those who voted against the people need to be voted out........unfortunately, most won't....

2:22PM PDT on Apr 18, 2013

Please send this to EVERYONE THAT YOU KNOW!!!

The Senate failed to do something in expanding background checks that 9 out of 10 Americans support. Even a trafficking measure to stop the flow of illegal weapons on our streets was voted down.

Shouts of “Shame on you” rained down from the gallery after the vote – and they were right.

We have to do better. Help me send that message to the Senate right now.

Tell the Senate: Doing nothing is not acceptable. We have to speak out now, together.

We cannot give up on this fight. We must continue to push for common sense laws to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of criminals and those dangerously mentally ill.

Wednesday shouldn’t deter, but spur us on. We must recommit to fighting for what is right. The families of Tuscon, Aurora, and Newtown deserved better. The American people deserved better. You deserved better.

Join me in telling the Senate that it is time to put the American people ahead of the special interests.

Cut and paste the link to sign the petition:
http://www.democratsenators.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=wDtmKSjU8PUHsO%2BOvFHEwivNMYpoAMIw

2:20PM PDT on Apr 18, 2013

When the Senate and Congress that we hire (and pay) refuses to do our bidding over that of the NRA... Then we have reached the bottom!

Until we have campaign finance reform...
WE WILL NEVER HAVE SANITY HAPPEN IN GOVERNMENT!

Especially for the big oil companies, The NRA, the American war machine companies, Wall Street, and many companies in the health industry. We continue to see legislation that makes no "common-sense" for the American people, our economy, our environment, our safety, our future, etc...

BUT not only does this legislation get drawn up by the hired lackeys (ALEC or the NRA) for these companies, BUT IT GETS PASSED (even in a Democratic controlled senate).

Democrats (I believe) are less likely to KILL the golden goose than Republicans, but they are still responsible for giving these companies more power, more money, more permission to destroy our Earth,and more permission to poison ALL it's inhabitants to make more profit.

This is a difficult problem to solve, BUT WE HAVE TO!

It really is about our survival, and not just about perpetuating the American way of life...

2:16PM PDT on Apr 18, 2013

Darryll just "Google" it...

It is real easy. And you will get millions of hits. Then just begin clicking on those, and you can read them at your leisure.

12:52PM PDT on Apr 18, 2013

Yesterday, a minority in the Senate blocked an amendment to expand background checks on gun sales.

As the President said, it was a shameful day for Washington.

Ninety percent of Americans support background checks -- including a majority of gun owners -- but 90 percent of Republicans in the Senate caved to the NRA's lobbying machine and blocked the vote.

You've already told Congress to stand with the families of Newtown, not with the NRA's lobbyists. Now share this with your friends and family, and ask them to join you:

The gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the proposed legislation, and yesterday they were able to defeat it.

But we are not backing down. Round one just ended. Round two starts now.

We're collecting 200,000 signatures demanding action on background checks -- and one of them is yours. Share this link with others, and ask them to add their name now:

http://my.democrats.org/Round-Two

Volunteers will deliver your signatures to the Capitol, so lawmakers know that the American people haven't given up.

12:30PM PDT on Apr 18, 2013

When the Senate and Congress that we hire (and pay) refuses to do our bidding over that of the NRA... Then we have reached the bottom!

Until we have campaign finance reform...
WE WILL NEVER HAVE SANITY HAPPEN IN GOVERNMENT!

Especially for the big oil companies, The NRA, the American war machine companies, Wall Street, and many companies in the health industry. We continue to see legislation that makes no "common-sense" for the American people, our economy, our environment, our safety, our future, etc...

BUT not only does this legislation get drawn up by the hired lackeys (ALEC or the NRA) for these companies, BUT IT GETS PASSED (even in a Democratic controlled senate).

Democrats (I believe) are less likely to KILL the golden goose than Republicans, but they are still responsible for giving these companies more power, more money, more permission to destroy our Earth,and more permission to poison ALL it's inhabitants to make more profit.

This is a difficult problem to solve, BUT WE HAVE TO!

It really is about our survival, and not just about perpetuating the American way of life...

12:29PM PDT on Apr 18, 2013

I am saddened that our Senate does not have the moral conscience to over-ride thier wallets!!!

PLEASE, just pass this petition AROUND TO EVERYONE!!!

THIS IS NOT OVER! We WILL get this Bill passed even if it means Harry Ried must be publically shamed!!!

Cut and paste the link to sign the petition:
http://www.democratsenators.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=wDtmKSjU8PUHsO%2BOvFHEwivNMYpoAMIw

12:21PM PDT on Apr 18, 2013

Shame on you, Senator Baucus. And on Senators Begich, Rubio, and McConnell. Shame on all 45 Senators--including 4 Democrats--who just voted against requiring background checks for gun purchases1--something 90% of Americans support.2 Four months after the Newtown massacre, far too many members of the U.S. Senate are still kowtowing to the gun lobby instead of protecting our kids and families.

When these senators voted against gun safety yesterday, they let down the parents of Benjamin Wheeler, Dylan Hockley, Jesse Lewis, and Rachel D'Avino, who all died in Newtown last December. They let down Emma Ehrens, who survived the shooting but saw her friends and her teacher slaughtered in front of her.3 And they let down families of the 3,513 victims of gun violence who have died just since the Newtown shooting.4

Right now, we need to send a clear message to let these 45 senators know just how disgusted we are with their inability to put our children and families ahead of the NRA. Champions in the Senate are going to keep fighting for this bill and we need put every senator who voted "No" on notice: We're here, we know what you did, and we're going to hold you accountable. Can you sign our "Shame on you" petition?
--CUT AND PASTE THE LINK TO SIGN THE PETITION:
http://act.weareultraviolet.org/go/686?t=4&akid=405.170891.Yqanw4

12:19PM PDT on Apr 18, 2013

With victims from Tucson, Aurora, and Newtown looking on in the gallery, the Senate failed on Wednesday.

It was one of the most disappointing days I have been a part of during my time in the Senate. Comprehensive, bipartisan action to help stop senseless gun violence was blocked, 54-46.

The Senate failed to do something in expanding background checks that 9 out of 10 Americans support. Even a trafficking measure to stop the flow of illegal weapons on our streets was voted down.

Shouts of “Shame on you” rained down from the gallery after the vote – and they were right.

We have to do better. Help me send that message to the Senate right now.

Tell the Senate: Doing nothing is not acceptable. We have to speak out now, together.

We cannot give up on this fight. We must continue to push for common sense laws to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of criminals and those dangerously mentally ill.

Wednesday shouldn’t deter, but spur us on. We must recommit to fighting for what is right. The families of Tuscon, Aurora, and Newtown deserved better. The American people deserved better. You deserved better.
--CUT AND PASTE THE LINK TO SIGN THE PETITION:
http://www.democratsenators.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=eP/%2B7B9OzLnDJ3UQDBpwyyvNMYpoAMIw

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