Right now, gun control is an idea in flux. While anti-gunners are emboldened and pushing hard for more and more new regulations, even Republicans are feeling the heat at the moment. As noted earlier this week, key GOP officials are making rumblings about backing new gun laws.
We’re also hearing some things that may suggest Republicans aren’t as keen on backing gun control as has been reported. There’s still a lot of reticence on the part of GOP lawmakers to side with Democrats on such a divisive issue, after all. Especially with the campaign season just getting started. It’s not difficult for them to see voting for a gun law then sitting at home after that due to losing in the primary.
There’s a lot going on, to be sure.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, however, thinks that gun control can happen, but only if Democrats don’t try to get cute with it.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, appeared on “The Story with Martha MacCallum” on Thursday and said she was working on bipartisan legislation to close “loopholes” in the background check system. She made the case for Democrats and Republicans finding common ground on gun control.
“If we can come together working with President Trump working with colleagues from both sides of the aisle and say that if you advertise the sale of a firearm over the Internet there should be a background check, that makes sense to me,” Collins said.
Of course, there is. If you buy a firearm over the internet, the law states that it must go to an FFL holder and be treated like any other gun sale.
The exception, however, is if you show it online and then conduct a face-to-face transfer. This is no different than when people used to advertise guns for sale in the newspaper. No one was throwing a hissy back then.
Anyway, Collins continued after saying she’s working with a couple of other Republicans on a potential bill.
“I think the difference this time is we had three incidents so close together. Then look at what happened in Philadelphia as well. And we have the president saying that he is on board. And so my hope is that the Democrats truly want a solution and some progress and that they’re not going to play political games with this issue,” Collins said.
If there’s a saving grace in this, it’s that I’m not sure Democrats in Congress can help themselves. I don’t think they know how not to play political games.
For example, there was some talk about tying an assault weapon ban to universal background checks, so that in order to get one, Republicans would have to vote for both. After all, an assault weapon ban is politically untenable for Republicans. There’s just no political will on the right to vote for such a measure and Democrats know it, so they want to put Republicans in a position where they’d have no choice but to pass such a measure.
That kind of mentality actually works in favor of those who don’t back any new gun regulations. After all, Republicans in Congress do have a choice. They can vote for nothing, which is certainly my preference.
Regardless, I find all of this quite troubling. While I’ve never trusted Democrats with our gun rights, I’ve found myself more and more actually trusting Republicans with it, something I should have known better than to do. After all, what choice did I have? The Libertarian Party can’t get elected to anything beyond the local level, so there’s no reason to trust them with anything, so who else was I going to back?
My hope is that Republicans recognize that this too shall pass. Right now, there’s a lot of attention and focus on what happened with Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton, but like all other mass shootings, things will settle and many voters will come to recognize that they were coming from a place of emotion, rather than reason, and recognize that gun control is not the answer.
My fear is that they won’t and we’ll be stuck with new gun laws.
Unfortunately, my fears seem to be the more likely outcome as things currently stand.