Some think Senate deal a "missed opportunity"

Some think Senate deal a "missed opportunity"
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The Senate has reached a bipartisan agreement on gun control, at least in principle. There are still details they’ll need to iron out as they actually write legislation, but I’d be very surprised if it doesn’t materialize.


To be honest, this was about as much as the gun control crowd was likely to get.

Yet, unsurprisingly, some think they can and should have pushed for more.

But critics say it’s a mistake to treat the deal as anything other than a laughably insufficient response to the gun crisis. They argue that the provisions in the bill, though they may make some difference on the margins, will have no measurable impact on the extraordinary levels of gun violence in the U.S. There are also concerns that treating the agreement as a major breakthrough would give cover for pro-gun lawmakers and allow them to continue standing in the way of meaningful change. Gun rights groups, of course, oppose any gun control measures, and some conservatives also worry that enforcement of the plan could infringe on due process rights of gun owners.

For all the backslapping from lawmakers, the plan won’t make a real difference

“The politicians might start breaking out the cigars and congratulating themselves, but anyone who really worries about the proliferation of guns in this country should be a little dubious of this deal that came about a bit too easily. Perhaps after another 12,000 people are murdered in the next year after its passage, we’ll realize we’ve been duped.” — Ross Rosenfeld, Daily News

The deal lets Republicans off the hook for standing in the way of meaningful gun control

“The bipartisan agreement is as likely to stop the next school shooting as an AR-15 would be at stopping the 1st Armored Division. That’s because the framework feels more like a Republican attempt to avoid the issue of gun violence than a Democratic attempt to solve it.” — Elie Mystal, The Nation

There’s no reason to believe this deal will lead to more action down the road

“I hope the thing passes. But I’m not going to fall for the alleged magical powers of the word ‘bipartisan’ to turn chickens*** into chicken salad. This is a good start in the same way that making sure your shoes are tied is a good start to a marathon.” — Charles P. Pierce, Esquire


Now, nothing about this should surprise anyone. For those with at least half of a functional brain, it was always clear that most anti-Second Amendment advocates would see this as a stepping-off point. Especially since this signals at least some willingness on the part of Republican lawmakers to compromise our gun rights.

But the headline of that piece suggests this was a “missed opportunity” for gun control advocates, that the Senate would have accepted things like assault weapon bans, a federal-level red flag law, and other more controversial measures.

Frankly, that’s pie-in-the-sky thinking.

As it is, many gun-rights advocates are furious about the Senate deal as it currently stands. Some see it as the least-bad option that senators were going to have to swallow going forward. Others see it as them folding like a Texas Hold’em player with a seven-two offsuit.

Frankly, I’m in the latter camp, myself.

What that means, though, is that what’s in the Senate deal was about as good as gun control advocates were ever going to get. These lawmakers are risking alienating their base as it is with this deal, though there are some indications it’s not as much of a risk as it has been in the past. Still, there’s a long time until November.

There was no missed opportunity because if Democrats had insisted on more, they’d have gotten nothing.


Which makes me wish they’d pushed for it, to be fair. Then Republicans could have walked away and talked about how Democrats weren’t interested in compromise, but that’s not how it went.

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