Thursday, February 20, 2014

What's Already on the Table

Clearly, there was plenty of action and plenty of heated conversation last night at Rep. Joe Heck's Green Valley High School town hall. The constituents who attended had plenty of questions on a number of issues.

And yes, a(nother) familiar issue came to the forefront at Green Valley High School. It's the same one that Rep. Heck said he supported one year ago. And it's the same one he claimed he was working on last August. Yet for all his talk on expanding background checks for gun purchases, he's yet to produce any meaningful action. (Sound familiar yet?)

That's why NV-03 constituent Sheila Shinno put him on the spot last night. She asked Rep. Heck why he doesn't support the bipartisan backed HR 1565 while claiming he wants to expand background checks.

Just as he did at the August town hall in Summerlin, Rep. Heck claimed he has problems with certain provisions of HR 1565. He also claimed he talked with the bill's original sponsors about a specific proposal regarding a "web portal", just as he did in August. But this time, another constituent took issue with Heck's claims.

NV-03 constituent & super activist Teresa Crawford did her homework last August when Rep. Heck talked about his objections to HR 1565. She specifically looked for more information about his "web portal" proposal". And she could find nothing. So she mentioned that last night.

She also came prepared with the facts on gun violence. Indeed, Missouri's repeal of background checks was followed by a rising murder rate in that state. And indeed, Nevada (which has nothing close to universal background checks) is the 9th deadliest state for gun violence. And there's plenty more evidence indicating that background checks work (and conversely, the loophole plagued status quo does not). So what's Rep. Heck waiting for?

Last night, he said he wants a "more holistic approach". And what would that entail? An assault weapons ban? Limits on magazine capacity? Better guidelines for safe gun storage? Better mental health care? If that's the case, then hallelujah! Go ahead and...

Oh, wait. He didn't mention any of that last night, other than some passive references to mental health care and gun storage. And even then, he couldn't point to any legislation to increase mental health care funding (he's actually done the opposite by trying to repeal Obamacare) or improve gun storage standards.

And that brings us back to HR 1565 & the issue of background checks. While it's a rather modest effort to reduce gun violence, it's a badly needed first step. And Rep. Heck has repeatedly said he supports expanding background checks. So why not push forward the bill that's already on the table?

HR 1565 is already on the table. The policy it covers enjoys widespread popular support, and it can make a real difference in saving lives. We've already waited far too long for this. Why should we wait even longer for phantom legislation that never seems to materialize in real life. Why not just take what's already on the table and run with it?

No comments:

Post a Comment