Senate negotiators have agreed on a compromise gun safety bill that does not ban guns or bullet clips designed for fast mass killing or significantly expand background checks. The bill does…
- Require that the national background check system check state juvenile records for buyers age 18 to 21, though that requirement sunsets in 2032;
- Expand grants to states to enforce red flag laws and other interventions;
- Suspend your right to have a gun if you beat up your boyfriend or girlfriend (though you get your right back five years after you’ve finished your sentence, if you don’t do other violence);
- Pour a bunch of money into mental health services;
- Tighten the definition of gun dealers to pull more sales out of the regulatory shadows and into the background-check system;
- Crack down on illegal gun dealers.
Senate Majority Leaer Mitch McConnell says this bill works for him and for the Second Amendment:
“Our colleagues have put together a commonsense package of popular steps that will help make these horrifying incidents less likely while fully upholding the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens,” McConnell said in a statement [Kelsey Snell, “Senators Reach Final Bipartisan Agreement on Gun Safety Bill,” NPR, 2022.06.22].
But even addressing the side problems to gun violence is too much for McConnell’s #2, varmint-scaremonger Senator John Thune, who joined 33 Republican Senators in voting against even discussing the bill Tuesday night. Likewise Senator Mike Rounds, who says he’s a slow reader:
“They only provided us with legislative text one hour before the vote was scheduled and the legislation is about 80 pages long. I’m not a real fast reader when it comes to that,” Rounds said [Perry Groten, “Thune, Rounds Oppose Senate Gun Bill,” KELO-TV, 2022.06.22].
…and who sees no problem with letting boyfriends who smack their dates keep packing heat:
But Rounds says the bill’s closing of the so-called “boyfriend loophole” goes too far.
“If you have a young couple that would have an argument and if one of the two individuals is found guilty of a misdemeanor offense in the altercation, a misdemeanor, they lose their Second Amendment rights for a period of five years. I think that’s moving in the wrong direction for a misdemeanor violation,” Rounds said [Groten, 2022.06.22].
I don’t know, Mike: that misdemeanor dodge didn’t work for Jason Ravnsborg this week; are you sure you want to hang your resistance to doing something—anything—to respond to the Uvalde/Buffalo/Ames/I’m-losing-count gun murders? How is this constant stream of death preserving America’s freedom in any way that excuses your legislative inaction?
Maybe we shouldn’t worry too much: Rounds and Thune and NRA be jiggered, the bill will likely pass the Senate, and the slimly Democratically controlled House’s only reason for not passing this bill would be that it doesn’t go far enough to seriously respond to gun murders in America…and that’s still a poor reason not to take the only steps that are going to pass this Congress.
But the reason this lackluster bill is the best we can do is that Congress is filled with gun nuts like Rounds and Thune who sanctify an obsolete Constitutional provision and a destructive gun culture at the ongoing cost of innocent lives.
Update 10:30 CDT: But the Thomas Court says today that requiring people to show good reason for walking around with guns hidden in their pants is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court this morning overturned a New York state law requiring that applicants for concealed weapons licenses demonstrate proper cause to carry a gun, because, says Justice Thomas, carrying a gun in public for self-defense is a basic right.