“When it comes to national policy choices on issues such as Constitutional liberties, gun violence and public safety, the stakes could not be higher. The enormity of this issue has weighed heavily on me. While I was home this past weekend, my family and I ate at the Carson IHOP where four people lost their lives and several were injured. The survivors of that senseless shooting in the morning hours of September 6, 2011, deserve this debate.
“I believe very strongly that our current background check system needs strengthening and improving, particularly in areas that could keep guns out of the hands of felons and the mentally ill. At the same time, I cannot support legislation that infringes upon the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Despite the good faith efforts of Senators Manchin and Toomey, the onerous paperwork and expansion of federal power mandated in this legislation are too great of a concern. I believe that this legislation could lead to the creation of a national gun registry and puts additional burdens on law-abiding citizens. For these reasons, I cannot vote for this legislation,” said Senator Dean Heller.
What?! I guess Senator Heller didn't see this. No really, take a look.
But in case you can't, read this and scream. And then, keep in mind this nugget of truth from Think Progress.
In a surprise move, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms announced their support for the Senate’s bipartisan bill to expand background checks on gun sales online and at gun shows. CCRKBA calls itself the second largest gun group after the NRA, which is actively campaigning against the legislation.
Despite the NRA’s fearmongering, CCRKBA head Alan Gottlieb emailed supporters pointing out that the gun package actually promotes their interests, opening up interstate gun sales, requiring prison time for anyone who compiles a gun registry, and protecting gun dealers from liability. [...]
CCRKBA is hardly a progressive group. When President Obama rolled out his proposal for gun violence prevention after the Newtown shooting, CCRKBA swore to “be on the front lines of that resistance” and pushed the idea that the government was simply trying to grab guns. They’ve also traveled to Florida to defend Stand Your Ground laws after the murder of Trayvon Martin.
The group has not had a sudden change of heart. Rather, according to Gottlieb, the group was involved in drafting the Manchin-Toomey compromise bill and “hung a million ornaments on it.” Gottlieb boasted,“We snookered the other side. They haven’t figured it out yet.”
The stiff penalties for anyone who creates a national gun registry were added largely to assuage the gun lobby’s fears that expanding background checks to private sales would lead to a gun registry that would let the government confiscate guns and establish a dictatorship. Even though the CCRKBA is embracing this as a win, only 4 Republicans have agreed to support the measure, and it has yet to reach the critical 60-vote threshold. Other pro-gun advocates are still pushing for an amendment that would further weaken the bill, override tough state laws, and force all states to recognize concealed-carry permits.
Remember this. Senator Heller is complaining about the Manchin-Toomey Amendment, an amendment that actually weakens Senator Harry Reid's (D-Oy Vey) gun safety bill. Oh, and keep in mind that some progressives have been irritated with Senator Reid because his original bill left out the Assault Weapons Ban and any kind of ban on high-capacity magazines (though Reid later promised to allow a vote on the Assault Weapons Ban as an amendment).
So Senator Heller now objects to an amendment written by gun industry lobbyists and meant to weaken Senator Reid's bill, which was already pre-compromised in order to attract bipartisan support? Who's he kidding with his crazy rhetoric? "Onerous paperwork"? "National gun registry"? Is this actually the best he has?
Last week, prospects of a successful gun safety deal seemed quite high. But today, it looks to be on shaky ground yet again. And remember, this is now over a policy with 86% support!
I guess the opinions of 86% of Nevadans don't really matter to Senator Heller. They certainly don't seem to matter as much as some silly letter from the NRA. Just keep this in mind next time Senator Heller spews out some "moderate" rhetoric. He may say that, but his actions point to a whole lot of TEA drinking.