Monday, April 15, 2013

Manchin-Toomey: A gun control "compromise" manufactured by the gun lobby

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Gun-crazy "bipartisanship"
I wrote on Friday that there was no hope in hell of meaningful gun control legislation getting through Congress. Manchin-Toomey may be a "bipartisan" "compromise," insofar as it has a few Republican backers, but even if it were to get through the Senate it would still have the House to contend with -- and there the NRA, which opposes the measure, has even more sway. Which is to say, we're a long way even from this limited measure making its way into law, and it may never get there.

Ah, but the tide is turning, is it not, what with two Republican senators -- John McCain and Susan Collins, joining Mark Kirk -- coming out this weekend in support?

Well, there's your "bipartisanship" on an issue that has the overwhelming support of Americans: Democrats plus a few Republicans. And we're not talking about a comprehensive gun control package here. This is just expanded background checks (important, yes, but not nearly enough). And even then McCain's support is a tad wishy-washy: he's "very favorably disposed," which is not a full endorsement, leaving him more than enough room to back out. What's more, Republican Jeff Sessions, a staunch opponent, said yesterday that he didn't think the measure would pass, and co-sponsor Pat Toomey acknowledged that passage is an "open question."

And again, this is just the Senate.

But okay, let's say it does pass, and let's say House Republicans buck the NRA, however unlikely, and support it, doing the least they can do as a way to make it seem like they're doing something, appealing to popular opinion, while pushing off having to do anything else. And let's say President Obama signs it, which he would, even though he's called for much more, because it's something, and something is supposedly better than nothing, and he likes the whole bipartisan thing anyway.

Well, it should tell you something that the (supposedly) second-largest gun lobbyist in the country, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, backs the proposal. This is "huge," Manchin said, "a win for us."

Actually, this compromise would be a win for the gun lobby (even if the absolutist NRA refuses to go along with it), and for those in Congress, like Manchin and Toomey, who want to do the very least.

As Steve M. writes, the head of this organization, Alan Gottlieb, is as crazy as the rest of the gun nuts, spreading fear and paranoia and conspiracy theories in opposition to President Obama, the Democrats, and any and all gun control. Gottlieb is backing a similar measure in Washington State, brokering deals and working with its sponsors to get it passed, and he thinks that the watered-down Manchin-Toomey proposal, which according to him "bans any federal gun registry and carries a 15-year prison term for anyone who violates it," provides significant protections for gun owners and it actually "a pro-gun bill."

CNN has more: "'We protect and expand a good number of pro-gun rights measures as well,' Gottlieb [said], noting he and one of the group's lobbyists had helped craft the deal. He cited measures like making interstate gun sales easier, and restoring gun rights to veterans, as reasons for his group's support.


There you go. It's Manchin-Toomey, a supposedly admirable bipartisan effort that appears to be gaining momentum, but it's really just a pro-gun proposal crafted by pro-gun senators with the active participation of the gun lobby (specifically by an organization that undoubtedly wants to expand its political influence and outshine the larger NRA) for the purpose of expanding gun "rights" while responding to public opinion with something that looks like gun control but really isn't much of anything at all.

You'll excuse me if I think it's all a steaming pile of bullshit.


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  • Listen, you sound like a nut-job writing shit like this.

    This is the only bill that has been proposed that does not infringe on our 2nd Amendment rights.

    You must be one of those guys that likes the Government to take care of everything for them and make you feel safe.

    Why don't you move to North Korea if you want to live in a tyrannical country.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:34 PM  

  • Wow the CCRKBA writes the bill the Dems want gun control past now so they don't read it and end up passing gun owner protection instead brilliant.

    By Blogger Docgmt, at 3:48 PM  

  • I would be happy to see the idea of a national firearm registry abolished and documentation of all fire arm sales destroyed.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:47 PM  

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