Gun Industry Doesn’t Need a Majority to Stop Background Checks and “Straw” Purchases
After much talk of compromise involving senators from swing states, the U.S. Senate caved under the pressure of the gun lobby, which managed to shoot down amendments to a gun control bill that would have expanded background checks and outlawed straw purchasing of guns—even though the proposals received majority support. A straw purchase is one in which one person buys a gun for another person who doesn’t want his name associated with the firearm. This tactic is often used by drug cartels.
The amendment with the best chance of passing, which would have required checks for online sales and sales at gun shows (but not sales between neighbors and family members), garnered 54 votes. But the amendment needed 60 votes to be added to the bill.
Similarly, another amendment making straw purchasing and trafficking a federal crime received 58 votes.
The defeats came despite public polling that showed nearly 90% of Americans support expanded background checks.
A new ABC News/Washington Post Poll revealed that 86% of respondents said “yes” to backing a law requiring background checks of people buying guns at gun shows or online.
This level of national support wasn’t enough to convince several key Democrats to back the legislation. Those singled out for helping defeat the plan included Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Max Baucus of Montana. All of them represent states that voted against Barack Obama in 2012.
In addition to defeating the background-checks bill, the Senate killed measures to reinstate a federal ban on assault rifles and limit magazine sizes.
To Learn More:
Gun-Control Overhaul Is Defeated in Senate (by Ed O’Keefe and Philip Rucker, Washington Post)
New Gun Measures Considered by the Senate (New York Times)
Principle or Cowardice? The Senators Who Killed the Gun Control Reform Bill (by Ewen MacAskill, The Guardian)
Large Numbers of Americans Think Existing Guns Laws are Stronger than They Really Are (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Americans’ Desire for Tougher Gun Laws Up 13% from a Year Ago (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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