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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/18/13

"They have no souls"

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by Michael Collins

That's what Patricia Maisch of Arizona said about the United States Senators who failed to vote on legislation broadening background checks on gun purchasers.  A majority of Senators were ready to vote in favor of the legislation but that's not how democracy works in the nation's capital.  In order to have a simple majority vote, 60 out of 100 Senators need to vote against allowing a filibuster.  Instead of majority rule, we have super majority rule.  It's absurd and a nasty little inside the beltway trick but more on that later.

The legislation that stumbled and fell due to the super majority hurdle would have required expanded background checks for gun purchasers.  If discovered in the background check, certain types of criminal records and serious mental illnesses would have denied the ability to purchase a weapon.  The law is currently in place for weapons purchased at gun stores but not for those acquired at gun shows, conventions held all over the country where the seller is an exhibitor rather than a local business.

Since the initial legislation requiring store based background checks passed, 1.5 million gun purchases have been denied.  Hardened criminals, wife beaters, and others presenting red flags lost their alleged First Amendment right to buy a gun, unless they bought it at a gun show.  Why not close the loophole and make the law consistent?

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Ms. Maisch not only nailed it during the postmortem after the legislation failed, she spoke up right after the vote took place by saying to the assembled senators, "Shame on you!"

Maisch earned the  right to speak.  She stood tall at the 2011 incident where Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others were shot:

"But two men tackled the gunman when he stopped to reload, and Maisch, 61, restrained his hand as he reached for an ammunition clip, helping stop the attack in a Tucson shopping center that killed six people and wounded 14, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

"Maisch did not get a good look at the gunman's face as she struggled with him.  "I was too busy in the outcome, that things not go any further," she said."  LA Times, January 9, 2011

The country needs more people in charge like Patricia Maisch and fewer like Harry Reid, D (NV), Senate Democratic majority leader, and the 46 senators who stopped a majority vote on this legislation by opposing the resolution to bar a filibuster.

As majority leader, Reid set the rules of the Senate prior to this term, as he did prior to the last term.  He deliberately allowed the super majority requirement prior to any meaningful vote to stand and, as a result, preserved the threat of a filibuster (which killed the bill).  Harry Reid bears the responsibility for the lack of a vote and passage of this legislation.  The 46 senators who voted with Reid against allowing a vote are almost all Republicans.  They were joined by the normal cast of atavistic Democrats  including Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana who also chairs the Senate Finance Committee.

Two other parts of the gun control passage fell after the background check fiasco.  Bans on assault weapons and high capacity magazines are finished.

So what do we have at the end of Wednesday, April 17, 2013.  If you are a violent criminal with a record or seriously mentally ill, you have the  right to buy invasion-of-Iraq grade assault weapons with high capacity magazines for ammunition.  As a bonus, you can buy these weapons of violent destruction at a gun show near you without the inconvenience of a background check. This must be what Greg Palast meant by the title of his book, Armed Madhouse.

They not only lack souls, they're brain dead.

What do they think will happen to their cherished political careers, a license to plunder off of the public trust, when the next Newtown massacre happens?  They'll lose the right to rip off the public for their own enrichment.  Unfortunately, the next victims will be injured or very dead if this plays out as it has in the past.


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