As we noted earlier today, the Senate has already introduced its gun control bill and held the first vote on it.
Lawmakers are trying desperately to appear willing to “do something” in the wake of deadly mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde.
However, as Jonathan Tobin notes, this won’t actually solve any problems.
Senate Republicans seem to think they are defusing a potential problem by playing along with anti-gun activists and agreeing to a legislative “compromise” on guns. They assume reaching a deal would dampen criticism of their support for gun rights and do them some good at the polls. They are mistaken. A new gun control bill would be just another instance of GOP moderates being enticed by their liberal opponents into doing something that will undermine support from the conservative base they need if they’re going to take back control of Congress this fall.
The impetus for the bill—the details of which still haven’t been fully worked out a week after the 10 GOP senators agreed to support it—was the news of mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas. The outrage and frustration over the frequency of these atrocities created an opening for Democrats to return to their demands for more gun control legislation.
Restricting the right to own a gun wouldn’t have prevented any or all of the mass shootings. In a country where guns outnumber people, the notion that nibbling away at the edges of gun rights with measures that inconvenience law-abiding citizens, but go ignored by criminals, will solve the problem remains ludicrous.
But Senate Republicans are clearly sensitive to the criticism that any resistance to “doing something” about guns shows that they are hardhearted and aren’t listening to the voters. Backed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the GOP senators who signed on to the bill hope to insulate themselves and their party from the charge that they are somehow responsible for the blood shed by mass shooters.
Except, that’s never going to happen.
Instead, when another mass shooting happens–and let’s be honest here, it will happen again no matter what laws you put in place–the usual suspects won’t say that they screwed up or they were wrong about whether such laws work. They’ll just blame Republicans for not going far enough.
See, appeasement is never going to be enough for the anti-Second Amendment zealots. They’ll pretend to accept “compromise,” but they always see it as a stepping stone toward more and more gun control.
The Senate bill won’t solve any problems, but it will create many.
For example, when this happens again, Democrats already know which lawmakers to target and pressure into accepting new gun control. They know who they can bend and manipulate into accepting restrictions.
The best-case scenario is for a slight reprieve before the gun control hounds start baying at the Senate doors once again, but I suspect the pressure will start up almost immediately.
Yet at this point, none of us trust these senators to hold our Second Amendment as even important.
Look, mass shootings are a problem. We clearly need to do something to address them. Even one is an issue, after all.
However, that doesn’t mean curtailing people’s rights. What we need to do is to figure out why some people flip out and start slaughtering innocent people. That’s not going to happen if we’re being distracted by laws looking to curb our right to keep and bear arms.
The dead in Buffalo, Uvalde, Parkland, Las Vegas, Columbine, and numerous other places deserve far better than such distractions. It’s only too bad that no one is making sure they get better.