The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

April 19, 2013

Other Views: A shot and a miss

If President Barack Obama’s expanded system of background checks for gun buyers had come to a Senate vote anytime before the filibuster became a routine legislative delaying tactic, it would have passed by a close but still comfortable margin of 54-46 and become the law of the land.

Federally licensed gun dealers carry out background checks now, but the proposed measure, worked out in the best tradition of across-the-aisle cooperation by Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., would have extended the checks to gun shows and online sales to screen out those with criminal records or histories of mental health problems. But that and every other piece of gun legislation failed Wednesday.

Unfortunately, in the last decade or so, the filibuster has become almost automatic, meaning it takes 60 votes to bring a piece of legislation to vote. When that happens, all that is required for passage is a simple majority, as the Founding Fathers intended.

The 60-vote hurdle did prevent a really bad piece of legislation from passing. Brought up the same day, it would have required that states recognize other states' concealed-carry laws, no matter how lax the requirements for a permit. The concealed-carry legislation failed 57-43 — and still fared better than the bill for expanded background check, which supported by 90 percent of the American people, according to polls.

The background-check bill is technically not dead. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada could bring it up at any time, but it would be a futile gesture — unless there's another school massacre like Newtown, Conn., where 20 children and six adults were gunned down by 20-year-old Adam Lanza, who also killed his mother and himself. Or another Virginia Tech, site of the nation's deadliest shooting in 2007, when 32 people, mostly students, were murdered.

After each such shooting, there is a huge public outcry to tighten the laws governing guns and the people who have access to them.

What we have learned from Newtown and Virginia Tech is that there is a window of barely two months for Congress to act, when public support for legislative action is at its height and the lawmakers are more frightened of angry voters than of the gun lobby.

The kind of mass shooting that would impel Congress to move that fast — faster than Newtown or Virginia Tech — is frightening to contemplate. So between shootings, we don't think about it.

— Scripps Howard News Service

 

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Opinion
  • Our View.jpg Our View: No need for No. 9

    “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that the people shall be secure in their electronic communications and data from unreasonable searches and seizures as they are now likewise secure in their persons, homes, papers and effects?”

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your View: ‘Right to Farm’ is wrong

    On Aug. 5, voters will be asked to make a decision about Amendment 1.

    July 29, 2014

  • Your View: No on Amendment 7

    The Missouri Department of Transportation is wanting more money through a three-quarter-cent addition to the sales tax. Consider one example of how it spends your money.

    July 29, 2014

  • Your View: Bad way to get revenue

    I received two fliers through the mail today asking me to vote “yes” on Amendment 7, which would add a three-quarter-cent tax to Missouri’s sales tax to help maintain roads and bridges.

    July 29, 2014

  • Other Views Other Views: Symptom of bad policy

    The Obama administration continues to be surprised and shocked when its policies of good intentions suddenly meet the hard reality of unintended consequences.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rebecca French Smith, guest columnist: Amendment 1: Farmers are 'boots on the ground'

    Take a moment and ask yourself who was the last person in your family to farm.

    July 28, 2014

  • Your View; Makes no sense

    Chess was never my game. It’s too complicated.

    July 28, 2014

  • Your View: Time value of money

     I was shaking my head along with Anson Burlingame (“Much has changed in U.S. over 14 years,” Globe, July 22), then he offered his readers a chance: “Go ahead — take your pick.”

    July 28, 2014

  • Your View: Boiling a frog

    We voters are now being urged to vote on Aug. 5 for Amendment 7 “to fix our roads, highways and bridges.”

    July 28, 2014

  • Our view: 'Yes' on 7

    Opponents of Amendment 7 say this: “Missouri families are already hard pressed to pay their bills during this period of slow economic recovery.”

    July 26, 2014

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Given that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that electronic devices and communications are protected from searches and seizure without a warrant, do you think Missouri needs Amendment 9 added to its constitution?

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