Last week I was complaining about how weak and watered down the "gun control" bill was that the House passed. The Senate's proposal isn't even a tenth as "good" as that! The media has spent the whole day touting it as something wonderful. It isn't. But anything "bipartisan" is considered wonderful by the media. This one was championed by 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans. So it can get by the filibuster Ted Cruz or Josh Hawley or some other gun extremist will start. According to a cheerleading post by the NY Times, the legislation "includes enhanced background checks to give authorities time to check the juvenile and mental health records of any prospective gun buyer under the age of 21 and a provision that would, for the first time, extend to dating partners a prohibition on domestic abusers having guns. It would also provide funding for states to enact so-called red-flag laws that allow authorities to temporarily confiscate guns from people deemed to be dangerous, as well as money for mental health resources and to bolster safety and mental health services at schools."
Here's Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy's Twitter thread extolling the proposal on an issue that he has worked on for a decade but that was largely dictated by John Cornyn (R-TX). It started like this:
• Major funding to help states pass and implement crisis intervention orders (red flag laws) that will allow law enforcement to temporarily take dangerous weapons away from people who pose a danger to others or themselves.
• Billions in new funding for mental health and school safety, including money for the national build out of community mental health clinics.
• Close the “boyfriend loophole”, so that no domestic abuser-- a spouse OR a serious dating partner-- can buy a gun if they are convicted of abuse against their partner.
• First ever federal law against gun trafficking and straw purchasing. This will be a difference making tool to stop the flow of illegal guns into cities.
• Enhanced background check for under 21 gun buyers and a short pause to conduct the check. Young buyers can get the gun only after the enhanced check is completed.
• Clarification of the laws regarding who needs to register as a licensed gun dealer, to make sure all truly commercial sellers are doing background checks.
He then acknowledged that the bill won't "do everything we need to end our nation’s gun violence epidemic? But insisted that "it’s real, meaningful progress. And it breaks a 30 year log jam, demonstrating that Democrats and Republicans can work together in a way that truly saves lives." The gun contrail lobby is right there with him and everyone is celebrating.
Progressives interested in solving the mass shooting problem instead of pretending to be solving the problem with a make-believe and self-serving celebration of bipartisanship for its own sake, are not as angry as the Lauren Boeberts of the world who are already calling the 10 Republicans who hammered out the deal-- John Cornyn (TX), Thom Tillis (NC), Roy Blunt (MO), Bill Cassidy (LA), Susan Collins (ME), Lindsey Graham (SC), Rob Portman (OH), Mitt Romney (UT) and Pat Toomey (PA)-- RINOs. But progressives see it for what it is. The Blue America-endorsed candidate running in northwest Washington, Jason Call, told his supporters that even the House bill wasn't good enough and that he is
"deeply disappointed by the lack of leadership from House Democrats. All of the measures approved are good steps forward, but they are tepid improvements at best, and fall far short of the common sense gun policies the vast majority of Americans support."
When he was a State Committee member for the Washington Democratic Party, he drafted the Reasonable Firearms Controls resolution which is still part of the party’s platform. These are some of what Call drafted and the Washington Democratic Party adopted:
Banning assault weapons like AR-15s (supported by 74% of Americans)
Repealing the Dickey Amendment so we can finally fund research into gun violence (because 72% of Americans believe gun violence is a major issue)
Requiring universal background checks (supported by 84% of voters, including 77% of Republicans)
Requiring liability insurance for gun owners (a key proposal by many gun safety advocacy groups)
"NONE of these proposals," Call explained, "were in the legislation passed by the House this week, nor many others that advocacy groups have consistently called for. If we’re going to stand up to the power of the gun lobby and corporate gun manufacturers-- who have given more than $1.3 MILLION to Congress in the 2022 cycle alone-- we need serious proposals from representatives with political courage."
As a teacher I lived with the knowledge that any day, at any time, my school could be next. I had to think about what I would do to get my students to safety if an active shooter entered our building.
On Oct 24, 2015, that fear landed close to home. In my hometown of Marysville, a 15-yr old student brought a gun to school and fatally shot four other students before turning the gun on himself as he was being tackled by a teacher who was herself wounded. That wasn’t my school, but those teachers were my colleagues and some of the students were my former students.
Being forced to live with the constant threat of mass murder as the “price of freedom” is unacceptable and intolerable. I’m running for Congress to fight for the common sense solutions that the overwhelming majority of Americans support.
This doesn’t happen in other countries, Howard. I know we’ve said that, but it bears repeating. This only happens in America.
We can’t blame this on mental illness or violence in the media. Millions of people live with mental illness around the world, and billions watch so-called “violent” movies-- yet mass shootings are not a near-daily occurrence in any other country.
Again, this ONLY happens in America, and it’s a sign of a society that is sick and in need of healing. The institutional violence we all experience daily from worker exploitation, unlivable wages, and the constant struggle to meet our most basic needs of food and shelter-- all of that results in a society in deep despair.
Now we can’t even finish grieving for the victims of one mass shooting before another occurs.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are many serious solutions on the table-- I know, because I’ve helped to draft some of them.
Want to help get this guy into Congress? You can contribute to Jason Call's all grassroots campaign here. I'm sure you can guess the NRA won't.