The US Senate blocked four gun proposals this week that had been introduced in the aftermath of the mass killing in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The proposals had the support of some Republican members of the Senate, but not enough to pass any of the proposed legislation. As the reader probably knows, getting almost anything through the Senate requires the approval of a super majority of 60 votes. Why did the measures fail? Because too many Republican members of Congress, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, are either bought off by or intimidated by the National Rifle Association (NRA), which opposes any gun legislation whatsoever.
Now, a new proposal with bipartisan support is before the Senate, although observers believe that the NRA will be able to pull the strings of enough senators to quash it. The new proposal would deny gun sales to terror suspects who are on the no-fly list or who are subject to enhanced security screening at airports in the United States. It would give those on the list the right to challenge their inclusion on the list.
The bill is sponsored by four Republicans, four Democrats and one independent. NRA puppet and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has spoken skeptically about the bill but is expected to allow it to be voted on. The NRA has already issued orders to the senators it controls to quash the bill. It tweeted “More Gun Control Votes Coming! NO NEW GUN CONTROL!
Until now, members of Congress have not paid a penalty for dancing to the NRA’s tune and contrary to the wish of most Americans including the majority of both Republicans and gun owners, who feel that better gun control is needed. On the contrary, the NRA has managed to defeat Republicans who refuse to follow its mandates by turning out massive numbers of the organization’s followers to vote against the disobedient incumbent in Republican primary elections.
It is time for voters to take back control of their government from the NRA and other organizations that manage to subvert the democratic process by exerting tremendous influence on members of Congress. A coalition of LGBT people, family members of people killed in mass shootings, the Brady Campaign, and New Yorkers Against Gun Violence along with other organizations is trying to draw attention to those members of Congress who oppose meaningful gun legislation in the hope of defeating them in the polls in November.
How successful they will be is open to question. Many Republican members of Congress are already vulnerable due to the lack of campaign funding attributable to the dysfunction in Donald Trump’s fund-raising organization. However, some voters probably check off the name of the candidate of their political party of choice in the election without knowing or caring if the candidate is an NRA puppet. Perhaps the coalition’s voter education efforts can change that this November.