Thursday, April 18, 2013

'Live From the Newsroom' & the gun control debate

Shira Goodman was smiling when she arrived at our office last night for our weekly live-stream Internet show, "Live From the Newsroom."

I give her a lot of credit. The new boss of CeaseFirePA was trying to put the best face on what can only be described as a devastating defeat for those seeking new gun control measures.

Talk about good timing. The show was set just hours after the Senate rejected a proposal pushed by Pa. Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey to expand background checks for gun sales at gun shows and online.

Goodman was joined by Media Mayor Bob McMahon, a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and Clifton Heights resident and NRA member Brian Page. If you missed the show, you can see the replay here.

Toomey, elected in Pennsylvania in no small part on his strong Second Amendment stance and conservative fiscal views, had surprised a lot of people two weeks ago when he rolled out the bipartisan plan with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

He must have thought he had the votes for at least this small move, part of President Obama's larger gun control package.

He didn't. The measure passed 54-46. But it needed 60 votes in the Senate to pass.  After a steady defection of supporters, Toomey just didn't have the votes. Even some Democrats from strong gun regions went against him.

The count was 41 Republicans and five Democrats against the measure, more than enough to keep Toomey and the gun control movement from the 60 votes they needed.

After the vote, Toomey sounded like a man who wasn't real anxious to try the water again.

"I did what I thought was right thing for the country," said the freshman senator who beat Joe Sestak to fill Arlen Specter's seat in the Senate. "My only regret is that our amendment did not pass. It's not the outcome I hoped for, but the Senate has spoken on the subject and it's time to move on. We have a lot of other very important issues to deal with such as getting the economy back on track, dealing with the debt ceiling and creating more jobs for Pennsylvanians."

In other words, don't look for Toomey to carry the ball on gun control. He got shot down. Once burned and all that.

Goodman, of course, believes the fight goes on. She believes the measure likely will be tweaked and possibly voted on again.

McMahon actually believes a version of expanded background checks will be passed.

I'm not that sure.

If they could not get this measure passed, probably the least controversial part of the gun control push, I don't see much help for any more extensive efforts? An assault weapons ban? Limits on gun magazine clips? Forget about it.

Toomey now faces the possibility of having to run for re-election having offended a lot of people in his base, all those Pennsylvanians who belive his move was a betrayal of their Second Amendment rights.

Goodman no doubt will keep fighting the "good" fight.

I apreciate her coming on the show last night, along with McMahon and Page for picking up the mantle of the NRA.

Make no mistake, this was a gunfight. And the NRA won.

Bang! Expanded background checks are dead.

 

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