The Democrat-led Senate will begin addressing various gun bills as the national discussion on gun control prevails Wednesday. Legislation regarding increased gun restrictions and assault weapons will be topics discussed on the Senate floor. While there is a strong possibility for substantial progress, the next hurdle Senate Democrats and the Obama administration will have to face is appealing to the conservative House members.
Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) have been advocates for expansion on background checks in order to eliminate the gun show loophole. The loophole involves private firearm dealers to only use background checks at their own discretion. Since it is not a federal requirement, firearms have more opportunities to get into the wrong hands.
Another bill proposal will be an assault weapons ban. If passed, the sale of semiautomatic and military style weaponry will be outlawed. There is a Republican backed bill to make concealed weapons permits available nationwide. An additional bill calls for increased mental health screenings throughout the country.
A 60-vote requirement is in place to have these amendments pass and move along to the House. Voting will start Wednesday and will continue to upwards of two weeks. Despite a Democratic majority, the likelihood of Senate Republicans voting in favor is slim, being that gun control is an evident bipartisan issue.
GOP members have come up with some counterproposals to rival their Democratic counterparts. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) are openly against the Manchin-Toomey plan to close the gun show loophole. Rather they call for a bill to give immunity to current concealed weapons carriers. With the National Rifle Association being one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington, and the underlying bipartisan tensions on such issues, gridlock will most likely occur. With the deep divide in Congress it appears that consensus on gun control legislation will not be achieved for quite some time.
Saturday Night Live does a parody on the Washington gridlock: