There is movement, a pulse, in Congress after all.
After the slaughter of 49 people at an Orlando gay nightclub, there were the usual expressions of sorrow, moments of silence and verbal posturing. But instead of the usual inaction by Congress on gun laws, Senate Democrats took action by grinding the deliberative body to a noticeable stop.
The 15-hour filibuster by Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy forced Senate Republicans to agree to votes on Democratic-backed gun control measures: expanding background checks and preventing suspected terrorists from buying guns. It will put senators on the record about gun laws before the November election.
Democrats efforts got a boost from the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Donald Trump tweeted he would meet with the politically powerful National Rifle Association about banning gun sales to those on the terrorist watch list or “no fly” list.
No matter which way the votes go, the debate over guns in America has both sides locked and loaded.
Dear Anti-Gun Liberals, Don’t Tell Me What Gun I ‘Need’ for Self-Defense
David French – National Review
Any person who breaks into my house or who threatens my family on my property will very soon find themselves staring at the business end of an AR-15…It’s light, maneuverable, accurate, and highly reliable….It provides more firepower — with greater accuracy — than the alternatives.
But now I’m told — largely by people who don’t know the first thing about firearms — that no American “needs” an AR-style rifle. But when your life is on the line, what do you want? More accuracy or less? More firepower or less? More recoil or less? More reliability or less?
Which weapon do I need for self-defense? Why don’t you let me make that choice.
Assault Weapons Must Be Banned in America
Eugene Robinson – The Washington Post
The only reasonable response to the massacre in Orlando is to ban the sale of military-style assault weapons. All else, I’m afraid, is just noise….
An Islamic State sympathizer was able to go into a gun store days or weeks ago and buy both a pistol and an AR-15-style semiautomatic assault rifle..Had he been armed with the pistol alone, he still would have killed people — but not so many. Keeping military-grade combat weapons out of the hands of maniacs should not be a controversial idea.
No hunter needs an AR-15 to bring down a deer. None of us needs such a weapon to defend our families against intruders. And for those who believe assault rifles offer protection against a hypothetical tyrannical government — or who perhaps consider the present government tyrannical — I have sobering news: If and when the black helicopters come, they will be accompanied by tanks.
An Assault Rifle Education
Editorial Board – The Wall Street Journal
From 1994 to 2002 Congress barred the sale of 18 types of rifles and shotguns that had “military style” attributes…
So-called assault rifles accounted for about 2% of gun crimes prior to the ban, and the percentage of murders committed with rifles today (2% in 2014) is less than the 3% in the last year of the ban. Overall gun crime fell after 1994, though numerous studies, including one commissioned by the Department of Justice, attribute this to better background checks and other measures. The studies found no link to the ban and reduced crime.
There are some 350 million guns in America, including as many as 10 million AR-15 rifles like the one used in Orlando. If Democrats want a ban to have any chance of working, they will have to vote for and enforce a nationwide program of confiscation. The ban Democrats are pushing would be meaningless.
Some Extremists Fire Guns and Other Extremists Promote Guns
Nicholas Kristof – The New York Times
The Orlando killer would have been legally barred from buying lawn darts, because they were banned as unsafe. He would have been unable to drive a car that didn’t pass a safety inspection or that lacked insurance. He couldn’t have purchased a black water gun without an orange tip — because that would have been too dangerous.
But it’s not too dangerous to allow the sale of an assault rifle without even a background check?
If we’re trying to prevent carnage like that of Orlando, we need to be vigilant not only about infiltration by the Islamic State, and not only about American citizens poisoned into committing acts of terrorism. We also need to be vigilant about National Rifle Association-type extremism that allows guns to be sold without background checks.
I will be meeting with the NRA, who has endorsed me, about not allowing people on the terrorist watch list, or the no fly list, to buy guns.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 15, 2016
The Gun: How I Bought an AR-15 in a Five Guys Parking Lot Two Days After the Orlando Massacre
Paul Heintz – Seven Days
A stranger handed me an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle Monday afternoon in a South Burlington parking lot. I handed him an envelope stuffed with $500 cash. We filled out no paperwork and completed no background check. He had no idea who I was nor what my intentions were, and he did not ask. Nine minutes after I met the man, I drove away with the sort of weapon used 39 hours earlier to slaughter 49 people in an Orlando, Fla., nightclub.
In Vermont, home to the nation’s most permissive gun laws, everything I did was perfectly legal….
On my way home, I stopped at Pearl Street Beverage to buy a six-pack of beer. The clerk, I noticed, was asking for identification from each of his customers.