Murphy Says He Has The Votes For Gun Control, But Does He?

Murphy Says He Has The Votes For Gun Control, But Does He?
(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

On Monday, I wrote about Senator Chris Murphy and his comments about how he’s willing to settle for less than he really wants on gun control. When writing that, I opted to focus primarily on that aspect of his comments. After all, this is him appearing to be magnanimous but still boils down to us getting screwed to some degree.

Others, however, opted to latch onto something else the senator said that they figured probably far dumber; how he supposedly had enough votes to pass gun control.

Senator Chris Murphy sat down with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday to talk about gun control, and said that Democrats would have the votes for passing legislation if it weren’t for the fact that they don’t.

“We have a Democratic House, a Democratic Senate, a pro-gun control president, Democrat,” said Tapper, setting the stage for the however. “No new gun regulations have passed, why not?”

Murphy began his answer by saying that the American people only pay attention to the issues involved when there are shootings, even though “100 people every day are dying from gunshot wounds.”

“The fact of the matter is, we have the votes in the House and the Senate for a universal background checks bill. We have a president who will sign it,” said Murphy, emphatically stating that his party does have the number of votes needed.

“It’s the rules of the Senate that prevent us from passing it,” he continued, meaning that they do not have enough votes to pass the legislation.

The number of votes that it takes to pass legislation is a figure determined by the rules. Under the rules, they do not have enough votes.

And that’s a fair point.

Now, I understand was Murphy was trying to say–that if it came to a vote today, he thinks they have enough votes to pass the legislation–which is why I didn’t go into it.

However, the author and a lot of other people pointing this out aren’t wrong. Murphy doesn’t actually have the votes. If he did, he could get an actual vote on the bills in question.

Since he can’t get that, he does not in fact have the votes.

Is it a technicality? Maybe, but technicalities count, especially when you’re talking about procedural technicalities. It doesn’t matter if Murphy has 59 votes sitting in his pocket. Without a 60th, that legislation isn’t going anywhere, and he damn sure doesn’t have it.

So no, Murphy doesn’t actually have the votes. He may have more than half of the votes out there–and I’m actually skeptical since Sen. Joe Manchin isn’t onboard with some of these proposals, which means Murphy would need more Republicans to side with him–but he doesn’t have anything close to the votes he needs. As such, he simply doesn’t have the votes.

Of course, let’s be fair to the good senator. He also thinks gun control actually works, so I’m not entirely sure he’s that grounded in reality in the first place.