No, you can’t blame the Republicans for lack of gun control

Yesterday was a victory for the United States – the Senate prevented shredding the 1st, 4th, 5th, 8th, and 14th amendments in order for Senate Democrats to restrict the 2nd.

This is being played as Republican’s wanting to sell guns to ISIS. I’m not joking, that’s actually what Sen Chris Murphy stated:

We’ve got to make this clear, constant case that Republicans have decided to sell weapons to ISIS

Why? Because the Senate Democrats put forward bills to restrict gun sales to people listed on the US Government’s Terror Watchlists.  The same secret watchlists that the even ACLU is saying not to use for gun control.

So what was the problem with the proposed bills from the Democrats? TL;DR – they wanted people to prove their innocence, eliminated due process, and a host of other issues.

The Republican’s put up two alternative bills in order to quell public fears:

Grassley Senate Amendment 4751

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley’s piece of legislation aimed to bolster the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) through increased funding. Other than Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly, Democrats voted against the measure,

Grassley’s bill failed 53-47.

Looks like the Democratic party isn’t for bolstering the NICS system.

The Republicans also put a bill up allowing use of the Terror Watchlists to deny gun sales provided the feds could show probable cause:

Senate Amendment 4749

Another bill, put forth by Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, would have allowed a federal judge to block a gun sale pending there is probable cause that an individual “has committed or will commit an act of terrorism.”

The Cornyn bill failed 53-47.



In closing, the any spin about how this is all the Republican’s fault is misplaced – the Republican’s proposals had much more support and protected core constitutional rights.

Also of note: Universal Background Checks, which were utterly unrelated to the Orlando shooting and would not have prevented it, were also defeated yesterday. Hooray!


Dave Kopel on “The Costs and Consequences of Gun Control”

Dave Kopel again speaks wisdom with this guest post in WaPo’s The Volokh Conspiracy column:

By far the single most effective step we could take to reduce violent crime would be to greatly increase spending to help the severely mentally ill. The biggest crime reduction would be fewer crimes against the mentally ill, since they are more vulnerable than the general population, and are victimized at a much higher rate. The mass murderers in Tucson and Aurora could have been committed for observation and treatment under existing state laws, with due process protections, but people who knew about the danger failed to take the appropriate steps. More broadly, there are many persons with severe mental illness who voluntarily seek temporary hospitalization, but who are turned away due to insufficient treatment capacity. Greater spending to help the mentally ill today will more than pay for itself in the long run, by reducing criminal justice and incarceration costs. (The mental health issue is addressed in greater detail in my forthcoming article in Howard Law Journal.)

The post also links to his recent policy statement published on CATO which breaks down why all the recent gun control proposals are not “common sense” at all but ideas that are incredibly short sighted in practice.