Congratulations, patriots! Thanks to your unremitting pressure on the politicians in Washington, every single assault on our 2nd Amendment rights went down to defeat in the Senate this week.
Prior to the votes, Senate leaders had agreed that a 60-vote majority would be necessary for approval of the various proposals. They did this to head off a threatened filibuster led by Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
For one of the few times this year, Vice President Joe Biden even returned to the Senate to preside over the voting. The gesture was purely symbolic, since there wasn’t a snowball’s chance that he’d get to exercise his constitutional prerogative to cast the deciding vote in case of a tie. He was there to gloat in victory; instead, he looked like he had been sucking on lemons when he had to announce the agony of defeat.
Gun control advocates had pulled out all of the stops to get passage, including numerous appearances by relatives of the victims from the schoolhouse slayings in Newtown, Conn., and Tucson, Ariz. President Barack Obama had flown many of them to Washington on board Air Force One so they could lobby lawmakers, appear with him in a photo op in the Rose Garden and pack the Senate galleries. (One violated Senate protocol, and demonstrated very bad manners, by shouting “Shame on you!” after the vote.)
The first vote was taken on the measure gun-control advocates were most confident of getting passed: expanding background checks to include the private sale or transfer of firearms. This was the highly publicized “compromise” measure put together by Senators Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).
When the votes were tallied, the measure failed by 54-46. Five Democrats joined 41 Republicans in opposing the measure. They included three Senators facing re-election next year: Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and Max Baucus of Montana. Significantly, all three states gave Mitt Romney a solid majority last November. The nervous Senators were joined by Heidi Heitkamp, the newly elected junior Senator from North Dakota. And a name most people would be surprised to see on the “no” side was that of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. He made it clear that he cast his negative ballot purely as a procedural matter, so he could bring the measure back up for a vote sometime in the future.
The three Republicans who voted “aye,” in addition to Toomey, can usually be found voting in favor of tougher gun-control measures. They were John McCain of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine, and Mark Kirk of Illinois. No surprises there.
Among the other measures that went down to defeat last Wednesday afternoon were a proposed ban on assault weapons, which got only 40 votes, and an effort to block the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines, which received 46 “ayes.” Even a measure that was endorsed by the National Rifle Association, which would have expanded concealed carry permits, got only 57 positive votes — three short of the 60 necessary for passage.
Obama wasted no time in declaring that the votes two days ago made it “a pretty shameful day for Washington.” His anger at being thwarted was obvious. He vowed that gun-control advocates will redouble their efforts to regulate and restrict our right to keep and bear arms. “This effort is not over,” he declared.
But for now it certainly is. Proponents failed to persuade opponents that expanded background checks would do anything to help prevent future tragedies like the ones in Newtown; Tucson; or Aurora, Colo. Of course they won’t. And every gun grabber knows it.
What would make a difference? Let’s take a look at what some cops say. When some 15,000 law-enforcement personnel were asked that question, here’s how they responded:
When asked what the likely outcome would have been at Aurora and Newtown had a legally armed civilian been there, 80 percent said there would have been fewer casualties; 6.2 percent said it would have prevented casualties altogether. Only 5.5 percent thought it would have led to greater loss of life.
When asked what could be done to prevent future mass public shootings, the most popular answer — picked by 28.8 percent – was for more permissive concealed carry policies for civilians. More aggressive institutionalization of the mentally ill was the choice of 19.6 percent. More armed guards were favored by 15.8 percent. Of course, none of these solutions is acceptable to the gun grabbers.
Improved background checks were in fourth place, the choice of 14 percent of the respondents, followed by longer prison terms when guns are used in violent crimes (7.9 percent).
What did the law-enforcement professionals have to say about the left’s favorite solutions? A meager 1.5 percent put tighter limits on weapons sales at the top of their list. While legislative restrictions on “assault weapons” and larger magazines didn’t even get a nod from one out of 100 of the boys and girls in blue, it was the choice of .9 percent.
When it comes to making the public safer, including our children, “the only professional group devoted to limiting and defeating gun violence as part of their sworn responsibility” has the right answer: Get more arms in the right hands. And do a better job of getting the truly crazy off the streets.
Now there’s a program that would make us all sleep better at night. Don’t you agree?
In the meantime, have a wonderful weekend, knowing that we won some significant victories in Washington this week. But remember, too, that eternal vigilance will always be the price we must pay to preserve and protect our liberties.
So until next time, stay on guard. And keep some powder dry.
Chip Wood was the first news editor of The Review of the News and also wrote for American Opinion, our two predecessor publications. He is now the geopolitical editor of Personal Liberty Digest, where his Straight Talk column appears weekly. This article first appeared in PersonalLiberty.com and has been reprinted with permission.