"Growing momentum" for gun control reported in Senate

AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib

We’ve fought hard over the last few years to keep gun control at bay, at least on the federal level. With some states, there’s only so much you can do, but we’ve staved it off in Congress.

This has been impressive considering the makeup of Congress over the last year and a half.

The problem has always been that defending the Second Amendment only happened on a razor-thin margin. We needed pretty much every Republican in the Senate to agree to hold the line.

So far, they have.

Unfortunately, it’s been suggested that the days of that line holding may be numbered.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is sounding increasingly optimistic about reaching a deal on narrowly crafted legislation to address gun violence following a spate of mass shootings, including the elementary school massacre in Uvalde, Texas.

“I’ve never seen more Republicans willing to discuss changes in our gun laws than I did today,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said in an interview on MSNBC after a virtual meeting of eight senators on Wednesday. He cited “growing momentum” in Congress to get something done.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), one of the GOP members in the group, also expressed a positive note.

“We are making rapid progress toward a common sense package that could garner support from both Republicans and Democrats,” Collins said in a statement.

The list of items the group is discussing is fairly limited. It includes proposals to bolster mental health, strengthen the background check system for gun buyers, provide for safe storage of guns, and encourage states to pass “red flag” laws that allow authorities to temporarily seize firearms from people determined to be a danger to themselves or others.

I said almost two years ago that we’d be fortunate if we made it to the midterms with nothing more than universal background checks and red flag laws passing.

The way things have gone down in the last year and a half was set to prove me wrong, that we could hold. I was going to be thrilled to be wrong that those two pieces wouldn’t get enough support.

Now, though, it seems Republicans are getting ready to stab us in the back once again.

Because that’s exactly what they’re setting themselves up to do. They can spin it however they want, but none of these measures would prevent a mass shooting. None of them.

That said, some of these aren’t the worst ideas, if they mean what I think they mean. For example, “provide for the safe storage of guns” may well mean a tax credit for buying a gun safe. That’s not an awful thing and something I could get behind. Bolstering mental health services would likely provide some benefit and while I don’t like the government being involved in such things, it’s hardly the most objectionable thing Congress could discuss.

But neither of those treat law-abiding citizens as the problem. They’re not infringements on our gun rights.

As for the rest, well, if the GOP wants to back gun control, there becomes little reason for gun rights voters to back them.