It appears that the future of gun control and gun violence in the United States is bound to remain the same for the time being. Despite having overwhelming support from the public, a bill proposing background checks for gun ownership failed to pass in the Senate.
The background check bill, created by Senators Democrat Joe Manchin III from Virginia and Republican Patrick Toomey from Pennsylvania, was voted against 54 to 46 on April 17. In the wake of the Boston bombings tragedy, this news was all but ignored by most Americans.
President Obama spoke with anger and disappointment with the Senate for blocking “common sense gun reforms.” He also said that “90 percent of American people support universal background checks that make it harder for a dangerous person to buy a gun.”
Even in states that already have background check laws, there are several loopholes. Whether it is through purchasing firearms online or at gun shows, there are ways to get around the law. This bill specifically addressed those two issues as well.
There are many factors as to why the bill did not pass and though a shock to some, it should actually not be surprising that it did not pass. Because of how the Senate works, disproportionate power is given to the smaller states, many of which are “red” and pro-gun. Although largely supported, voter apathy in regards to what the bill actually consists of is far too high and Senators took advantage of constituents’ ignorance.
Lastly, and perhaps most unfortunately, in order to keep in good faith with the NRA, one of the largest lobbying groups that has helped to continually push gun legislation off the table, some senate Democrats voted against the bill.
Background checks are not the only way to prevent gun violence, and critics of the bill have been quick to point out that guns used in mass shootings such as the Newton massacre were obtained legally. The NRA responded with a statement that said “expanding background checks, at gun shows or elsewhere, will not reduce violent crime or keep our kids safe in their schools.”
However, it is only common sense that we try to make some progression towards creating a safer future for this country.
Opponents also fear that these steps will lead to a snowball effect that will destroy the second amendment and result in police being able to forcibly enter homes and take away guns and ultimately freedom. What they fail to recognize is that first, the second amendment is wildly outdated and second, background checks already exist in some states and the government has yet to take away peoples’ guns in New York or Massachusetts, states with some of the strictest gun laws in the country.
This should not be a political issue for either party to cling to. This should be a common sense, no-nonsense piece of legislation that the people of this country need to start truly caring about if there is going to be any sensible gun safety in the future.