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Apr-21-2013 14:19printcomments

Tyranny of the Minority Sinks Meaningful Gun Control Legislation

Failed gun control legislation has again fallen victim to the tyranny of the minority.

(SAN FRANCISCO) - Given the Sandy Hook Elementary School killings, the shootings at a supermarket near Tucson, the pleas for gun control legislation by the parents of the Sandy Hook victims, and the testimony by Gabrielle Giffords, victim of the supermarket shootings, you would think that reasonable gun control legislation would likely pass in the U.S. Senate. Regrettably, it is not to be.

Legislation strengthening background checks -- supported by 90 percent of Americans -- was defeated in the Senate 54 to 46.

The ban on dozens of military-style assault weapons was also defeated by a vote of 40 to 60; a bipartisan amendment to stiffen penalties for “straw purchasers,” 58 to 42; and an amendment to limit the size of ammunition magazines, 54-46.

It was a shameful time in the Senate. Failed gun control legislation has again fallen victim to the tyranny of the minority.

Then again, any gun control legislation would have faced an uncertain future in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Except for the proposed assault weapon ban, the remaining gun control legislation received a majority in the Senate. Why then didn't they pass? Because the Senate failed to reform its filibuster rule and as long as the filibuster rule stands, gun control or any legislation for that matter can be defeated by a minority -- 41 votes -- or never even come to a vote.

As majority leader, Senator Reid set the rules of the Senate prior to the current term of Congress.  However, he allowed the super majority requirement -- 60 votes -- prior to any meaningful vote to stand and, as a result, preserved the threat of a filibuster, stating, "I'm not personally, at this stage, ready to get rid of the 60-vote threshold . . ..

With the history of the Senate, we have to understand the Senate isn’t and shouldn’t be like the House."  Thus, Senator Reid bears much responsibility for the defeat of pending gun control legislation in the Senate.

What is the U.S. Senate filibuster rule anyway?  It usually refers to any dilatory or obstructive tactics used to prevent a measure from being brought to a vote.  Senate Rule XXII permits a senator, or a series of senators, to speak for as long as they wish and on any topic they choose, and unless "three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn" (usually 60 out of 100 senators) brings debate to a close by invoking cloture.  In recent years, the majority has preferred to avoid filibusters by moving to other business when a filibuster is threatened and attempts to achieve cloture have failed.

Until members of Congress are penalized at election time for opposing gun control legislation, senators, fearful of the National Rifle Association, will use the filibuster rule to doom any future gun control legislation in the Senate.

_________________________________ writer Ralph E. Stone was born in Massachusetts. He is a graduate of both Middlebury College and Suffolk Law School. We are very fortunate to have this writer's talents in this troubling world; Ralph has an eye for detail that others miss. As is the case with many writers, Ralph is an American Veteran who served in war. Ralph served his nation after college as a U.S. Army officer during the Vietnam war. After Vietnam, he went on to have a career with the Federal Trade Commission as an Attorney specializing in Consumer and Antitrust Law. Over the years, Ralph has traveled extensively with his wife Judi, taking in data from all over the world, which today adds to his collective knowledge about extremely important subjects like the economy and taxation. You can send Ralph an email at this address



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James Finlay June 4, 2013 4:27 pm (Pacific time)

Mr. Stone and the rest of the liberals on this page don't understand that our form of government was meant to be a constitutional republic which means (without going into detail) that if you are in the minority then your God given rights are protected even if the majority of the people want to give them up. You Mr.Stone seem incensed at the fact that the filibuster is one of the only things left in this country that points to that fact.

Anonymous April 26, 2013 6:25 am (Pacific time)

Ralph here in my state I have purchased firearms at different gun shows (different counties) and a shotgun online. I had to have background checks, with fees, during all these purchases. The sources you provided below are not known for accuracy, but certainly are closely aligned with the Brady people, and similar groups whose end agenda has been frequently stated as to confiscate all firearms. The stats used by the AMA and emergency room doctors have had their data exposed as quite faulty. As the other poster stated, why does this bill need serial numbers and firearm type for a background check? Here in Oregon, including our primary urban/metropolitan area of Portland (nearly 3 million people, including the Vancouver Washington vicinity, they also have high CHL ownership) has probably the lowest gun crime rate in the country for this population density. So why ignore places like Chicago and other large urban areas that have strict gun laws and high crime rates? Let's be honest Mr. Stone, this failed bill was not anything other than a political tool. Pretty sure it will be re-introduced, probably late this year. If it passes in the senate at a later date, it will fail in the house. The Rules Saul Alinsky developed are well known by informed citizens: the main one, focus and demonize, and the NRA is the target. With close to 300 million firearms, they really will not alter the general consensus out there re: the 2nd Amendment where a Rasmussen poll found that 65% of America sees the 2nd as a defense against tyranny. When Americans are properly informed abut the real stats on firearms and current background checks, that high percentage who wanted this bill to pass, quickly fades away. Facts have always ben the enemy of those who hate America. By enforcing current laws, using the federal courts, we could have a dramatic reduction in violent crime. I recall the time if someone stole a car they went to jail. If they did it again they went to prison. We have the laws, we need sanctions. Liberal approaches to foreign policy as well as law enforcement have been abysmal failures. Talk, and more talk, but nothing of substance. That is why we are about to enter a very violent period, and people are going to defend themselves, because the current government has not. Look at states like (fill in).

Ralph E. Stone April 25, 2013 6:36 am (Pacific time)

The legislation would have expanded background checks to include online and gun show purchases. Presently, only people who buy guns from licensed dealers have to undergo such a check. The 2004 National Firearms Survey suggests that some forty per cent of gun owners acquire their weapons from non-licensed suppliers. A recent study published by the American Medical Association shows that states with more, and stricter, firearm laws have fewer firearm fatalities, even controlling for those states’ socioeconomic characteristics.

It’s true, too, that a background check would not have stopped Adam Lanza, who had no criminal record, and whose mother had reportedly bought the guns he used in Newtown. But laws influence culture, just as culture influences laws, and if Congress enacted a serious piece of gun-control legislation perhaps that might initiate a subtle shift in American attitudes toward guns. However, if lawmakers won’t pass even a modest reform supported by the vast majority of Americans, they will be capitulating to the N.R.A.’s corrosive view that the only answer to gun violence is more guns.

Jesse Philmore April 23, 2013 5:23 pm (Pacific time)

After reviewing the below comments to this article, it appears that Mr. Stone does not know that "background checks" have been going on for many years. So tell me Mr. Stone, what do you think the failed bill would have done to make things safer for the law abiding citizens? And what different things would have taken place from current background checks? If the background check is on individuals, why would the feds need the serial number and the type of firearm being purchased? Since they proposed that it would be a felony for them to keep a record, then why have a record generated? Of course a felony charge only means something if the executive branch prosecutes. So how did that work out for the "Fast and Furious" boondoggle (crime?). This was a bad bill which was designed to fail in the House, so the gun-grabbers could attempt to make political hay for the 2014 election. So, now we know what it was all about. I found that when I told people about current background checks, they felt betrayed by many sources, including the party responsible for lying about most misleading firearm data.

Ralph E. Stone April 23, 2013 4:53 pm (Pacific time)

All we have is Anonymous comments. Aren't there any real people out there willing to sign their names to their opinions?

Anonymous April 22, 2013 1:44 pm (Pacific time) More than 15,000 verified law enforcement professionals took part in the survey, which aimed to bring together the thoughts and opinions of the only professional group devoted to limiting and defeating gun violence as part of their sworn responsibility. I also had a link from MAINSTREAM media news, ABC, put out by AP, that show an overwhelming resistance to any new gun control laws, but they took it offline after it began to go viral. Welcome to CISPA. Here is a video with Mark Dice. He goes out on the streets and says "will you sign my petition to end the 2nd amendment so that only police and criminals will have guns"? Most of them signed the petition. People in the U.S. have been so dumbed down by the indoctrination system they call education, and the lies from the television, I am surprised they can even function. As long as they get their government job or their EBT card, they are happy idiots. Not to worry tho, DHS bought 2 billion rounds of ammunition making it almost impossible for law abiding citizens to buy any, DHS has also militarized the police, giving them war tanks and high power asault rifles, and it is obvious now, that the obama wants a civil war. The original civil war was not for slavery, it was to cover up for the corporate owned government that was about to be exposed. Nothing new under the sun. Now that the largest countries in the world are bypassing the petro dollar, well, the U.S. will be noting more than a third world country.

Anonymous April 22, 2013 1:19 pm (Pacific time)

The thousands of denied background checks, include what happened to ME! The background system is a total mess, just like everything else the government does. (I assume you heard the mainstream article that tens of billions of tax refunds are being sent to illegal immigrants who lie on their returns) Also, 10 years in prison if you lie on your background check, so very few with a record will buy a fire arm legally and buy one on the black market. Look at drugs, trillions of dollars and 20 years later, you can still find most any drug on most any city street corner. This is why prohibition didnt work, and this is what will happen with firearms. Insanity definition: doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome. Yet again, what about the thousands of rifles obama/holdren put on the streets? (fast and furious). And why is it that cities with the most gun control and gun bans have the most gun murders? Chicago is now about about 600 gun murders for 2013. If someone from another country commits murder in the U.S., it seems its because the west bombs their countries killing their families. Murders committed in the U.S. are from poverty strickin areas. Yet again, the war on poverty is another HUGE failure. End poverty, and quit bombing other countries to steal their natural resources and overturn their elected officials, and watch murders drop 80%. All gun control laws are nothing more than control from a corrupt government, a corrupt government that knows people are waking up to their treason. The gun control laws, the false flag in Boston, are nothing more than distractions to: CISPA-a communist/north korea control over the internet, shutting down any website the government does not like. And, the congressional hearing and indictment against obama and bush for war crimes. 70,000 dead in Syria, and now obama is sending 127 million more dollars worth of weapons to the syrian rebel group that is allied with alCIAda. Yes, the same alCIAda that obama and bush want us to be afraid of, and take our liberties because of. The U.S. government is controlled by bankers and corporations, that care about nothing but 80-90% of the population dead, and total control over the rest. (verbatim, from their own books and writing)...this is why the POISON that that monsanto sells (GMO), are not required to be labeled, (even tho obama promised to make GMO labeling mandatory on national television), and has signed legislation that monsanto can do ANYTHING they want, no matter how bad, without any lawsuits, or indictments. Go figure. By the way, NO, we did not vote for these politicians, the voting system is a total hoax. Millions dont even vote anymore because of the corruption from diebold machines (a banker owned company), lies from the media (owned by the bankers) etc. The U.S. does not have a vote anymore, its all controlled.

Anonymous April 22, 2013 11:51 am (Pacific time)

The below quote from Anonymous at 9:59 am is really off the wall. In fact thousands upon thousands have been denied yearly. What the beef for 2nd Amendment supporters is the lack of prosecution. I rarely hear of anyone being denied who has a clean record: "...At the same time, I found out there were thousands of background checks that were approved for felons, illegal immigrants etc..."
Gun control advocates sound puzzled by congressional resistance to relatively modest gun control legislation. Many cite a poll showing 90% of Americans support more background checks and suggest the National Rifle Association is the only reason Congress won’t implement the will of the people.

There are a few problems with this argument. First, it implies that Congress normally does what voters want. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most voters consistently opposed the Wall Street bailout, the president’s health care law and the cash-for-clunkers plan. All became law.

Voters overwhelmingly support term limits, an end to the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street and an end to congressional pensions. But nobody’s holding his or her breath for any of those things to become law.

Most voters also believe cutting government spending would be good for the U.S. economy, but total government spending in America has gone up every single year since 1954.

As the above list highlights, the Political Class typically gets what it wants regardless of public opinion. What’s unusual about the gun control debate is that the Political Class appears to be stymied in one of those rare instances when it appears to agree with public opinion.

However, public opinion is more complicated than gun control advocates want to acknowledge, and there is real political risk in voting for the proposed legislation.

Expanding background checks for would-be gun owners is a commonsense proposal much like requiring a photo ID before someone is allowed to vote. Both have overwhelming support.

But while people think requiring more background checks makes sense, most don’t think it will make much of a difference. Only 41% believe more background checks will reduce gun violence.

Second, people want to make sure the checks are limited to only restricting convicted felons and those with serious mental health issues. Only 30% want broader background checks.

Third, just 40% want to see a national database of gun owners created. This last point really frustrates some advocates of gun control, including President Obama.

In Denver last week, he said, “You hear some of these quotes: ‘I need a gun to protect myself from the government.’ ‘We can’t do background checks because the government is going to come take my guns away.’ Well, the government is us. These officials are elected by you.”

On one level, the president is right. If people trusted the government, there would be no reason to be concerned about background checks, but only one-in-five voters believe the government currently has the consent of the governed.

Half the nation views the federal government as a threat to individual liberties rather than a protector of those rights. Sixty-five percent (65%) recognize that the purpose of Second Amendment gun control rights is protection against tyranny, and 44% believe it’s likely the government will try to confiscate all privately owned guns over the next generation.

This helps explain why the legislation is struggling in Congress. People like the idea of background checks but don’t think they’ll make much difference. They’re also suspicious about the motives of those in government.

In the end, those who would like to see stronger federal restrictions on gun ownership should start by supporting reforms that will enable the government to re-earn the trust of the American people.

Anonymous April 22, 2013 9:59 am (Pacific time)

I went to buy a simple 22 rifle. My background check was denied, even tho I have zero arrests, one traffic ticket in 20 years, never took pharma drugs, never had any family problems, no illegal drugs, and IMO a pillar of the community, and the rest of my family the same. I called the ATF, the Oregon State Police, and my County Representative to share this info. The ATF and Rep. were very nice and very sympathetic to my plight and tried to help, but there was nothing they could do. The State Police basically said "f" you. 13 months later it got worked out and I was approved. No explanation was given for the delay. I was denied buying a simple 22 rodent type firearm, and my 2nd ammendment for 13 months. At the same time, I found out there were thousands of background checks that were approved for felons, illegal immigrants etc. Maybe they should fix their current background checks, before making more. How many of the thousands of assault rifles that obama gave to mexican drug cartels make it back thru our open borders for the drug cartels brethren in the U.S.? Seems to me, the current administration wants criminals to have firearms, but deny them to people such as myself, who has a perfect track record. And the "minority"? Sorry but congress and senate, in hopes to get re-elected, must know that its not the "minority"... IMO this article is total disinfo.

Anonymous April 21, 2013 5:24 pm (Pacific time)

We already have background checks at all vendors and most all gun shows. The highest gun crime is in those areas with the most onerous gun laws. The U.S. Supreme Court over-ruled the unlawful regs in D.C. and Chicago, but these regimes ignore that ruling. When they blame happening in these locales because the criminals import guns from other areas, they fail to mention that these areas that have high gun ownership have very low gun crime. This is all smoke and mirrors by Marxists and their moronic tools. You people in Oregon, and all these other states, go to a gun vendor and see the background check you have to get. The loons even admitted these smoke and mirror universal checks (major BS), would not have stopped the mass shootings they like to use as their emotional props. Again, it's the "tools" out there who give the emotional bs, they cannot argue facts, they try, but count on you not thinking objectively. Don't fall for their crap, just remember we have background checks and over 70 million, as per the FBI have been done since Obama was first elected.

Anonymous April 21, 2013 2:13 pm (Pacific time)

It is a disgrace, how the majority is subjected to such power of a few "dissidents". Does anyone realize, we are under control of the minority in this country.

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