The news that the proposed legislation has failed extending background checks to gun shows and internet sales is deeply disappointing. In the long run, though, the news may not be all that bad.
First, in the attempt to woo legislators on the right, the legislation was significantly watered down. Not useless by any means, but less than it needed to be. Moreover, the other parts of a reasonable gun safety agenda were dropped long ago. When the President says it was a day of shame in Washington, I’d have to say it has been at least four months of shame. The refusal to act in broad fashion to save innocent lives is a stunning example of how dysfunctional our government has become. While this particular failure on this particular piece of legislation is part of all that, it is a small part.
Second, even if this legislation passed in the Senate, it would have fallen in the House. There is no doubt about that. The victory would have been short-lived and hollow.
Third, it is becoming more clear that the extreme positions being taken by the right are not representative of the American middle. With 90 percent of all Americans supporting background checks, 90 percent of all Republican Senators decided to ignore the people’s will and instead bend to the NRA’s vicious agenda. I think we very well may see this play out again over attempts to pass reasonable immigration reform. While a gang of eight may come to agreement on some plan, the gang that runs the House is not likely to join the team. Our country must be governed from the middle and I believe the Republican Party is showing it has no interest in doing that.
In the long run, it is my hope that when the next massacre happens (and we all know it is coming), that the irresponsible behavior of those that oppose rationality has caught up with them and they are sitting at home rather than in our Capitol.