Last night a group of 40 Senators took to the floor of the US Senate and held their ground for 14 hours and 50 minutes to keep the issue of gun control alive and in the forefront of every Senator’s mind. A vote will be coming soon on this issue and we all expected progress today as the Senate started session at 10am EDT.
As I scan the news today for headlines of that progress I come up short.
All I have found is a volatile orange windbag going to talk to the NRA, some of the most idiotic arguments that I have ever heard, and more white noise over an issue that should have been resolved 4 years ago.
Basically, we are back to square 1.
You have the Democrat’s measure which has the No Fly, No Buy legislature in it and is worded that if you are mistakenly on an FBI watch list/ No Fly for terrorism, you can take your grievances to court to be removed.
You also have the Republican’s No Fly, No Buy that prohibits the sale of a firearm to an individual on an FBI watchlist/ No Fly List “if authorities can prove they have probable cause to do so within three business days of the attempted sale”.
So, basically one puts the burden of proof on the individual and the other puts the burden of proof on the FBI and within a strict time limit.
Democrats also want to expand background checks to gun shows and online sales, there is also an amendment to deny sales of firearms/explosives to anyone that the U.S. Attorney General is also investigating or has suspected of terrorism.
Right now there are 2, possibly 4, measures up for vote in the Senate. If one of these are decided on or a new one is drafted ,and agreed on, it then has to go to the House of Congress and then be debated, possibly revised and voted on again to pass on to the President.
Meanwhile, the gun shows and the shootings will continue.
A Republican Senator actually said this about the entire issue and I actually agree with his statement:
“This is not rocket science to figure this out,”
Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.)
Because at the heart of the GOP argument is the fact that it’s not a constitutional right to get on a plane, but in the other circumstance it is a constitutional right to purchase or own a gun.
Republicans argue Feinstein’s legislation doesn’t do enough to protect the Second Amendment rights of individuals who might be labeled suspected terrorists by mistake.
So, the GOP is worried about stepping on the NRA’s toes and damaging hypothetical 2nd Amendment rights of people that could be mistakenly put on a No Fly list or another form of FBI watch list and be denied their rights to buy a gun; however people that are or were on watchlists or investigations are now able to buy guns and kill 49 innocent people that were probably never on a watchlist.
Sen. Cory Booker (D- NJ) did an interview with CNN host Ashleigh Banfield over this topic (Sen. Booker was one of the Senators from last night’s filibuster and was pretty much Sen. Murphy’s “wingman” through the entire ordeal). In the interview a scenario is given about this “mistaken labeling”:
“If a single mother who lives in a rural area and wants a gun to protect herself is mistakenly put on that watch list, and thus cannot buy that gun, that this is where the Republicans want that extra layer,” she said, referencing legislation introduced by Senate Republicans on Thursday that would do just that. “So is that extra layer, is that problematic to you?”
Now, let’s look at probability here. As of 2013 the largest of all of the multiple databases that the U.S. Federal Government keeps (Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, AKA: TIDE) had 1.1 Million names on it. Only 2.3% were U.S. citizens or residents. So, out of 1.1 Million names, 25, 000 were U.S. citizens/residents. Now the FBI’s database is the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB), which is “commonly referred to as the “Terrorist Watchlist” (This is created from TIDE). As of 2014, 800, 000 names were on this list. In 2013, it was reported that 5% were legal US citizens/residents (which was a 2010 statistic). So, by these numbers, 40,000 people are US citizens on the Terrorist Watchlist; however the No Fly list is a subset of the TSDB table. Of the names on the “No Fly” list, only .08% are U.S. Citizens/Residents, which is about 6,400 people. AS of 2014, the population of the U.S. was 318.9 Million.
So, let’s do some math. We will average out the TIDE and TSDB numbers (25,000 + 40,000 /2 = 32,500 / 318.9 Million) and that number is approximately 0.0101% of the current U.S. Population. So, the probability of that poor rural housewife doesn’t seem too high.
Until you then see things like this and that’s when the panic starts.
Now, honestly, the 3 business days thing is bullshit. The GOP knows it’s bullshit and so does anyone with a brain; however I would be interested in seeing the “baked in” due process elements of the democrats measure. I am interested in not selling guns to terrorists, but I think we have stumbled onto another system that needs overhauling: Our terrorist database system and how someone can be linked into it.
The one thing that doesn’t need any argument is the gun show issue. Background checks should be done at gun shows, period. When terrorists are instructing their recruits to head to the nearest gun show so that they can purchase their guns and ammo without any safeguards, that’s an issue of national security. You are basically having a local city host a free lance arms dealer expo to any terrorist that has the cash.
But, then again, how do we flag the background checks? Are back to No Fly/No Buy? Only past felons? Are we going to start a national database of people with mental health issues and restrict their 2nd amendment rights? Oh wait, we kind of already do that.
The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits gun sales to individuals who have been committed to a mental institution or “adjudicated as a mental defective.”
After the Virginia Tech shootings, Congress offered additional funds to any state that would share at least 90% of its mental health records to the NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) database. 30 States share
their your data with the federal database, 8 keep local data bases, and the rest do not have any kind of central database at all. Mind you this is only if you were found “defective” by a court or involuntarily committed.
Privacy issues aside, I don’t believe we need to start tagging the crazies with GPS chips. People with mental health issues are 10 times more likely to be a victim of violence than to cause it. If the NRA and the GOP wants to address the mental health issues crisis in this country, then start by helping the 56% of adults and the 80% of adolescents and children that cannot get access to affordable mental health care in the U.S. and help make treatment more affordable to the ones that can/do get treatment. I shouldn’t have to save up for my psychiatrist appointments and therapists visits by applying for food stamps and visiting the community food pantry. Here’s why the mentally ill make a horrible scapegoat. We can’t afford medication, doctor’s appointments or therapy; so what makes you think we can afford hundreds to thousands of dollars worth of guns and ammo?
Yeah, don’t blame us crazy folks for this bullshit.
But I am digressing. So, let me wrap this up.
This whole gun control thing is still a work in progress; however I just hope that these overpaid asshats keep trying to do just that: make progress. If not…
Let’s vote the fuckers out.
See you at the polls.