On the end of the background check bill

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 12:38 AM EDT
On the end of the background check bill story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - According to a recent poll, a huge majority of the American people--near 95 percent--thought having universal background checks in order to buy a gun was a good idea.

Yesterday, the Senate defeated the measure, 54-45.

Tonight in Tom's Corner, Tom Van Howe says it was a nearly unmatched act of political cowardice.


Golfers routinely wear the logos of the companies who sponsor them on their caps and shirts. Why not Congress?

It's time to compel the members of our Congress  to make it clear to one and all who not only sponsors them, but who owns them.

The logos or patches of big oil, pharmaceuticals, the healthcare industry, defense contractors, or the National Rifle Association...whatever..ought to sewn onto the lapels, breast pockets, and sleeves of their tailor-made suits.

Yesterday the United States Senate, in a shocking disconnect with the people they're elected to serve, shot down a measure that would have expanded background checks on buyers at gun shows, on the Internet, and other commercially advertised sales.

The proposal would not have infringed one iota—not one—on the Second Amendment.

The bill itself was drawn by two pro-gun senators—Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Republican Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania.

It had one goal in mind: To help keep guns out of the hands of  criminals and the mentally ill.

How skullduggerous is that?

A report in the New York Times yesterday documented how effortless it is for criminals to buy weapons on the internet. The Times referred to one web site in particular that offers tens of thousands of private guns sales.

The report went on to say that many of both the buyers and sellers were criminals, and that some of the guns had been used to kill.

Background checks would have gotten in the way of that syndrome. It was common-sense legislation of the highest order.

So, without a real peg on which to hang their objections, the NRA's Senate's hit men began making up lies about the bill.

Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, among others, said the bill would bring about a national gun registry. Well, just not true.

Federal law already prohibits such a thing. And the bill itself addressed that very question.

But people believe what they want to hear, and conservative talk show hosts were suddenly painting pictures of federal agents bashing in doors to confiscate guns of law abiding citizens.

Yesterday, Senator Cruz conceded the bill wouldn't do what he was warning everyone about, but said—and I love this—that it might encourage some effort on some future date to create a registry.

No. The truth is, he either didn't read the bill, or he was lying. And, again, he wasn't the only one.

And for them, the NRA patches ought to be stapled to their foreheads.

For them, the tragedies like those in Newtown, Connecticut; Aurora, Colorado; Blacksburg, Virginia; and elsewhere, and the count-em-out-loud 270 Americans who are shot every day are problems that belong to somebody else.

Here's what former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who is still recovering from her near fatal wounds from a couple of years ago, said yesterday after the senate vote.

"These Senators made their decision based on political fear and on cold calculations about the money of special interests like the National Rifle Association, which in the last election cycle spent around $25 million on contributions, lobbying, and outside spending.”

Giffords may have trouble speaking as the result of being shot.. But she can still think and she knows what she's talking about.

If all this wasn't so desperately tragic, one could almost think of it as some kind of political joke.

But as King Henry VII said 500 years ago, "the trouble with political jokes is, they get elected."

He was right.

There's a bunch of them in the United States Senate right now.

And if we can't vote them out, at the very least they should be required to wear the logos of those who own them. Enough is enough.

In this corner...I'm Tom Van Howe.
On the end of the background check bill
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