The saga began with the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut where 20 school children and six teachers were murdered. The nation watched in horror and disbelief has the events unfolded. The anger among Americans was palpable and it appeared that finally meaningful gun legislation would be passed. President Obama was “as determined as ever to do what must be done.” Some polls suggested that 90% of Americans were in favor of stronger background checks. A bipartisan bill was forged by two gun-owning senators with NRA “A” ratings–Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
However, the bill failed. Here’s why.
A right wing lobbying group called Citizens United had wanted to air a film critical of Hillary Clinton but was forbid from doing so by the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (The McCain-Feingold Act). Citizens United took their case to the Supreme Court and in a 5–4 decision, the Court held that portions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act violated the First Amendment. Basically the court came to the idiotic position that speech and money are the same. Of course, this further increased the gap between the poor and disenfranchised and the rich.
As expected this opened the floodgates and associations and corporations freely spent their money to influence political outcomes. This included the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA almost gives exclusively to Republicans and their ability to wield their power over these legislators is legendary. As soon as the bill was announced the NRA sent an ominous letter to senators saying “votes on all anti-gun amendments or proposals will be considered in NRA’s future candidate evaluations.”
Of those who voted against the bill, five were Democrats although Henry Reid had to vote against it on procedural grounds. Of the 46 senators who voted against background checks,43 received money from pro gun forces including a total of 8.5 million from the NRA. Pro gun money was donated at 62 times the rate of the biggest anti gun group, The Brady Center.
So why was the bill defeated. It was not because 46 senators felt it necessary to save the 2nd Amendment, thus protecting the Constitution, and the country. No. It was because a group of greedy senators decided to line their pockets with campaign donations to keep their cushy jobs and their 15 minutes of fame. They were thinking only of themselves and not their country.
The list of these senators is everywhere. It is important to remember who they are come election time because they have yet to grasp the concept of honor and have little knowledge of the intentions of our forefathers. Background checks do nothing to degrade the 2nd Amendment while making citizens more safe. The NRA wants to tell you they don’t work, but they do in Australia and they can here with the right political will.
Unfortunately, too many politicians lack the will and are simply cowards.