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September 19, 2014

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politics:

Senate votes to go ahead with debate on gun control

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Harry Reid

WASHINGTON — The gun show will go on, at least in the Senate, where lawmakers cleared their first procedural hurdle to the gun bill Thursday morning.

Sixty-eight senators, including 16 Republicans, voted to have the debate on gun control, a vote that queues up a series of amendments on everything from background checks to magazine clips to assault weapons bans.

Reid thanked the Republicans — Nevada Sen. Dean Heller among them — who broke with the party’s leadership to vote to proceed with a potentially volatile discussion about guns.

“As a strong supporter and bold defender of the Second Amendment, I refuse to compromise Nevadans’ constitutional rights. It is because of my solid support for the Second Amendment that I am not afraid of having this debate,” Heller said in a press release following the vote.

But Heller has not yet said how he would vote on specific amendments that lawmakers are expected to offer to the bill, though he has outlined these guidelines: He remains “staunchly opposed to any proposal that would create a national gun registry” but believes its important to explore ways to keep felons and the mentally ill from accessing firearms.

Several families of the children who died in the December attack on Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., watched from gallery seats above the floor as senators voted.

“We all believe in the Constitution...but the families of the most recent tragedy in Newtown deserve a debate,” Reid said after the vote.

Lawmakers may be filing amendments to the gun bill as soon as Thursday afternoon.

The first amendment in the roster is a compromise struck between Sens. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, and Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, who drafted language that would slightly soften the regulations on background checks in the underlying bill, removing the would-be requirement that individuals privately buying guns from friends go through a background check.

Following that amendment, Reid said Thursday he would alternate between Republican and Democratic amendments.

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  1. I would support 100% background checks in a discrete bill with no other items, amendments or attachments in or to it as long as the language strictly and completely forbids federal gun registration as has already been codified in law and Supreme Court decisions.

    I don't object to a background check requirement for private sales or transfers of firearms (as defined by ATF) to anyone including family if multiple firearms can be covered under one transaction. Even hunters who are not collectors or competitors often have several to a dozen or more firearms after a lifetime that they want to give to their sons and daughters. Firearms are tools and like any other endeavor there are many different tools for different purposes. Widows for example shouldn't be forced to pay multiple fees and taxes to transfer each separate firearm in dads or moms collection to one individual.

    I included the caveat of (as defined by ATF) because antiques like black powder flint lock muskets are not classified as (modern) firearms and don't currently require government involvement. Gun control advocates overstate and embellish the misnomer 'gun show loophole', which is nothing more than a private sale or transfer like when I gave .22 caliber target rifles to my kids & grandkids, or sold a no longer used rifle to a relative.

    The trouble with Washington and both parties do it, is they always ruin any legislation they put up by including other items not directly related or necessary or amendments after the fact. The tactic is to pick a subject that they think can't be voted against without attracting criticism and add a bunch of other stuff that couldn't pass on its own. Dirtying up the bill for political purposes, a poison pill is unethical. Done to gain the addition is at best unproductive.

  2. 1% of all gun dealers sell the majority of illegal guns in our country. Please explain how to find who those 1% are if there isn't some kind of gun registry. Worried about the federal government knowing how many guns you have? CHILD PLEASE! They can already detain you indefinitely thanks to the Patriot Act. That's where the real outrage and concern should be.