It seems the filibuster is only a good thing when your party is a minority. That’s the lesson I’ve gotten from years of watching Congress do their thing. If Democrats are in control, the filibuster is an abomination to democracy and needs to be purged…right up until they lose control of the Senate, then it’s an essential legislative tool that’s too sacrosanct to remove.
In fairness, Republicans tend to be no different.
The reason this matters is that people like this think Democrats need to change on this to address gun violence.
As most of the country prepares to open vaccine eligibility to all adults, a wave of mass shootings has ravaged the country, including one at a grocery store in Boulder and another at three spas in Atlanta. And though President Joe Biden is working on executive orders regarding gun reform and members of Congress are trying to pass new legislation, it will not be enough.
We are entering the same cycle that occurs every time there is a mass shooting. The shooting gains a lot of attention and news coverage, and Democrats try to push for expanded gun control, often through the same approaches they’ve always taken. Yet, time and time again, nothing tangible happens. People gradually move on from the shooting, and the discussion is paused until the next mass attack occurs.
We need to break this cycle. Mass shootings will keep happening unless our federal government makes a significant change to its approach.
Republicans have been the roadblock for the passage of gun control legislation for a long time. They’ve been successful in pushing their staunch pro-gun viewpoint and firing up their base with pro-liberty rhetoric. Democrats have not addressed this issue with the same level of fervor that Republicans have. That needs to change, through both rhetorical and legislative approaches.
Democrats often try to take a cautious approach, reassuring gun owners that they’re not taking away their guns and that they just want to strengthen background checks. This approach is successful in gaining support from people around the country, because the majority of the public supports background checks. However, it is not effective with Republicans in Congress.
She’s right, it’s not.
Of course, I’m not sure just how much of the public really supports universal background checks versus those who support our current level of background checks, but don’t realize just how extensive they really are.
Just throwing that out there.
So, what’s the author’s solution? Removing the filibuster.
Passing gun control legislation is much easier said than done. Unfortunately, in this current political climate, bipartisan cooperation is practically nonexistent, especially when it comes to polarizing issues like this. Because of this, Democrats need to prioritize abolishing the filibuster. Many Democrats have come out in support of this action. Obviously that will help them pass legislation on many important issues, but especially for gun reform, it is absolutely essential.
Now, the author’s point that Democrats need to change on the issue of guns is actually correct, but removing the filibuster would be a disaster, and not just for guns.
See, our system is actually designed to make laws difficult to pass. The filibuster is part of that. More and more laws are rarely the answer to the problems we face, particularly mass shootings, which while awful, really only make up a tiny fraction of one percent of all violent crime.
Removing the filibuster might make it easier to pass gun control legislation, but what about when the GOP is in control. What then? Would the author be OK with a simple majority passing restrictions on abortion? What about cuts to Medicaid or welfare programs?
Remember that once a genie is out of the bottle, it doesn’t just go back in because you’re out of power.
Yet, as I said, Democrats do need to change. They need to come to terms with the fact that gun rights are actual rights and not second-class rights. They need to change to the idea that we are willing to die to protect those rights as well, so stop trying to restrict them.
Hell, I’d settle for them experimenting with actual compromise, where instead of just trying to take a little less than they want, they consider giving up something we want. I’m not holding my breath on that happening, like, ever, but a guy can dream.
They need to change. They’re just not going to.