Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Common Sense Prevailed in the Senate... Really??!!

Yes, believe it or not, the latest right-wing attempt to dismantle gun safety laws on the state level was defeated.

The Senate on Wednesday turned aside the latest attempt by gun advocates to expand the rights of gun owners, narrowly voting down a provision that would have allowed gun owners with valid permits from one state to carry concealed weapons in other states as well.

A group comprising mostly Republicans, along with some influential Democrats, had tried to attach the gun amendment to the annual defense authorization bill, a must-pass piece of legislation. But the provision got only 58 votes, two short of the 6o votes needed for passage under Senate rules.

Two Republicans, Senators Richard Lugar of Indiana and George Voinovich of Ohio, joined with 37 Democrats to reject the amendment, which was bitterly opposed by a number of big-city mayors, including Michael R. Bloomberg of New York. “Lives have been saved with the defeat of this amendment. The passage of this amendment would have done more to threaten the safety of New Yorkers than anything since the repeal of the assault weapons ban,” Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York and a leading opponent of the amendment, said in a statement.

The provision was pushed by Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, but was co-sponsored by several Democrats from states where gun rights are broadly supported, like Montana, where Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester both favored it. The Senate’s majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada — who is up for re-election in 2010 — also supported the amendment. [...]

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, and generally a supporter of gun rights, said she opposed Mr. Thune’s amendment because it infringed on states and cities. “The Thune amendment would invite chaos in our cities,” she said. Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, as well as Mr. Schumer, also took the floor with speeches railing against the amendment.

Sorry, but why should people from one state ignore the laws of the other state on something as important as a gun permit? California cities, like Los Angeles and San Diego, are facing major gang violence headaches thanks to the ease of these criminal groups to purchase weapons here in Nevada and in Arizona, then carry them across state lines. And for that matter, any other violent nutcase can now get whatever assault weapons he/she wants here and take them to states like California that otherwise have stricter gun laws. And now we want to make it easier to ignore the provisions in state laws (like California's) that ensures concealed weapon permits don't fall into the wrong hands?

I've lately been pleasantly surprised by Harry Reid, but I guess it's back to the usual disappointment today. Who is he to tell states like California and New York not to do what they can to keep residents safe? Maybe most Nevadans don't mind the lax gun laws here, but that doesn't mean we should be imposing our standards on other states.

And really, Republicans like John Thune that pushed this nonsense are hypocrites. Don't they talk about "states' rights" all the time? Yet when states want to do something like allow marriage equality, legalize marijuana, or enact better gun safety laws, all of a sudden they have no rights in the GOP's eyes. So I guess "states' rights" only matter to them when certain states want more conservative policies?

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