Seeing various articles in the media, like this one from Politico from Manchin, and also this one on McCain in The Hill, is that the proponents of gun control are clamoring for more leverage over key politicians in the closed-door negotiations by leaking stories like this to the media. Note that I am not suggesting we have nothing to worry about here, because these kinds of tactics work, and the White House is quite eager to avoid an embarrassing loss on his gun control agenda. NRA is continuing to say that it remains opposed to expansion of the background check system to cover private transfers and sales between the law abiding. I expect that to remain policy, even in closed-door negotiations. The Hill article offers an indication that Reid may include the “background check bill reported out of committee” as an amendment, which will likely fail.
We can expect some kind of bill to pass the Senate. For one, the gods of “something must be done” are going to be appeased, and secondly, the Democrats are going to want to offer the White House a face saving way out. That’s why it’s not surprising that both Bloomberg and Coburn think some kind of bill will pass. The question now is what that bill will look like. The longer this wears on, the better it’s likely to be for us. We have some indication of the direction it’s going. There’s probably some give and take on making that which is already illegal, more illegal (e.g. some kind of trafficking language), and probably also on the Graham/Begich bill which clarifies people offering an insanity plea in court are prohibited persons.
So where do we all come in on this? Call your Senators and tell them to vote against any new gun control bill, and be sure to especially to mention no banning of private transfers or sales. We know what that has nothing to do with background checks on sales at this point. The more Senators hear from us, the more leverage NRA and the other people negotiating on our behalf will have to ensure that when the kabuki is played out on the Senate floor, we come out relatively undamaged, and perhaps even get a thing or two in return. I am cautiously optimistic we’re going to come other farther ahead than I would have expected heading into the New Year, but now is definitely not the time for complacency. Even if we come out okay in this floor fight, that only means round one goes to us. Bloomberg and Obama are going to take us more rounds than that.
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