A PROGRESSIVE VOICE FROM THE LLANO ESTACADO

Friday, March 15, 2013

Third Gun Bill Gets Committee Approval

On Thursday, a third gun bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee. Earlier in the week a couple of other gun bills had received committee approval. The first would increase the federal penalties on gun trafficking. The second would close the background check loopholes on gun purchases (requiring a background check on all purchases, including guns sold by private citizens). This third bill would ban the sale of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Polls show all three of the bills are supported by a majority of the American people (although the assault weapon ban is supported by a smaller majority than the other two bills). But as usual, the Republicans showed they don't really care what the American public wants (but only what will keep their tea bagger base happy in the next GOP primary). Both the expanded background checks bill and the ban on assault weapons bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee without a single Republican voting for them.

The three bills should go to the Senate floor for a vote now, but they probably won't. It is almost a certainty that the Republicans will filibuster the bills -- making it a requirement that the bills must get 60 votes before passing the Senate. The Democrats have only themselves to blame for this. They had the opportunity in January to fix the filibuster problem -- they just didn't have the political courage to do it. Now they will have to get at least five Republicans to break with their party and vote with Democrats to get any of these bills passed.

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