The bipartisan bill crafted by Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) to expand background checks was somehow defeated 54 -46. Four Republicans voted for the bill and four Democrats voted against it. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's cast a nay vote so that the bill can be re-introduced at a later time
It makes no sense that this bill was defeated. There is not a responsible gun owner in the world that doesn't agree that it should be as difficult as possible for restricted people to obtain guns and this bill was going to make that more difficult. The bill represented the first evidence of sensible progress in the debate over responsible gun ownership in two decades. The defeat of the bill is an embarrassment to all the people who voted against the bill and argue for bipartisan compromise.
The bill would have expanded background checks to include private sales at gun shows and for all online sales. The bill also would have created "a commission of non-elected experts in their fields who will study the causes of mass violence in the United States, looking at all aspects of the problem, including mental health, guns, school safety and portrayals of violence in the media." There was nothing remotely controversial about the background check bill.
The bill painstakingly listed more things that the bill couldn't do than what it could do. The bill explicitly stated that it would not:
— In any way, shape, or form infringe upon anyone's Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms.
— Take away anyone's guns.
— Ban any type of firearm.
— Ban or restrict the use of any kind of bullet or any size clip or magazine.
— Create a national registry; in fact, it explicitly prohibits it.
— Require background checks for private transactions between family members.
The Washington Times reported Alan Gottlieb, executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation initially supported the bill, describing it as a "godsend" for the pro-gun rights advocates. However, at the eleventh hour in his role as Chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, the second-biggest gun organization in the country, Gottlieb and his organization pulled its support because it did not include a provision to restore gun ownership rights of convicted felons, something that has nothing to do with background checks.
This is a clear indication of what is wrong with the debate for creating responsible gun ownership laws. The country is clearly on the side of making it more difficult for restricted people to purchase a weapon and the gun lobbyists are overly concerned with making sure more people can purchase and own guns.
We are never going to make any progress in this country on responsible gun ownership until one side stops claiming that there is some panacea legislation that is going to prevent the next Newtown and the other side stops seeing every effort to help ensure responsible gun ownership as some infringement on law-abiding gun owners. If you are a law-abiding gun owner it is no burden to comply with the law. The burden is only on criminals who try to skirt the law. This law, like all laws was designed to protect law-abiding citizens by making it more difficult on criminals. That is how the law works.
Virtually every poll in America shows support for background checks. How in the world can the Senate vote against a measure that is supported by the majority of Americans and the majority of responsible gun owners? Now it is back to the drawing board and we are no closer to making it more difficult for restricted people to obtain guns. This is an embarrassment.