This has been a momentous week for gun rights.
The defeat in the Senate of the the so-called “universal” background check bill will be analyzed for months.
The vote shows why Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, is widely considered the most powerful lobbyist in Washington D.C.
Mr. Cox is interesting. I interviewed him several years ago. Unless you’ve met him in person, you don’t realize what a nice guy he is – a true gentleman – affable and self-effacing, something rare for D.C.
Here’s his statement that followed the vote:
Today, the misguided Manchin-Toomey-Schumer proposal failed in the U.S. Senate. This amendment would have criminalized certain private transfers of firearms between honest citizens, requiring lifelong friends, neighbors and some family members to get federal government permission to exercise a fundamental right or face prosecution. As we have noted previously, expanding background checks, at gun shows or elsewhere, will not reduce violent crime or keep our kids safe in their schools.
The NRA will continue to work with Republicans and Democrats who are committed to protecting our children in schools, prosecuting violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law, and fixing our broken mental health system. We are grateful for the hard work and leadership of those Senators who chose to pursue meaningful solutions to our nation’s most pressing problems.
There have been many columns and editorials written since the Senate vote was scored. Here’s one that stands out.
Editorial of The New York Sun | April 18, 2013
Is it possible to imagine that when President Obama retires for the night that he will wonder who led him into the debacle that unfolded when his long campaign for gun control went down to defeat in a Senate controlled by his own party? Publicly the President reacted with a tirade of blame-shifting more shameful than any our aging typesetters can recall. Vice President Biden, who did so much to confect this catastrophe, stood beside the President looking like he was about to burst into tears. The President railed against the playing of politics — imagine, and in the Senate. He blamed the National Rifle Association and the gun lobby, calling them liars, and the Senate itself. But we find it hard to think that he takes his own words seriously. Back in his private study, he must be thinking about others.
If we were him, we’d blame Mayor Bloomberg. His Honor has placed himself at the head of the national chorus for gun control. He’s poured millions into the fight. He’s vowed to pour millions more. We understand how much the president resents the National Rifle Association and the gun lobby. But the NRA warned him of the fate of these measures all along. It understood that the issue in gun violence isn’t the size of the magazines. Or “assault” rifles. The issue isn’t background checks. But that’s not the problem, either. The real problem is that every senator comprehended that whatever measure might have been approved, it would have been certain to be used as but a stepping stone to the next restriction on Second Amendment rights.
The problem is that the neither Messrs. Obama, Bloomberg, nor Biden believe in the Second Amendment. Nor do any of their partners in politics, such as Senator Schumer. Not one of them has protested the over-regulation of guns in New York or any other state. Mr. Cuomo just tightened gun prohibitions in a state where Mother Teresa couldn’t get a pistol permit. Not even the most law-abiding, well-trained individuals can carry a gun in New York. The Second Amendment is not in force here. So people look at Bloomberg-land and ask, where is he leading us? Where does he want to go? The way we interpret the decision of the Senate yesterday is that it is saying, “not one more inch in that direction.” Good for the Senate.
Next up in the great battle of guns is the drive to enforce the Second Amendment more broadly and end what the Wall Street Journal, in a particularly important editorial issued the other day, called “massive gun resistance.” The Journal was speaking of the open defiance of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Heller and in other cases. This is the context in which the Senate came within a whisker yesterday of passing an amendment requiring reciprocity for state carry permits. The only thing stopping it is the 60 vote thresh-hold for cloture that the liberals love to carp about. If the Second Amendment means anything, it means that an honest, law-abiding, adult American should be able to keep a pistol and bear it on his person — even in New York.