McConnell: I might be open to "serious suggestions" on gun control after I meet with the FBI

All I have are the tweets from CBS right now. I’ll update with the full quote once it’s available.

In the meantime: W-w-w-what?

I assume he’s thinking about limiting gun purchases by people on the terror watch list, which Democrats have been pushing for months. Hillary Clinton reiterated her support for the idea yesterday — as did the Trump campaign. When Bloomberg News e-mailed Corey Lewandowski to ask if Trump still believes what he said in November that “If somebody is on a watch list and an enemy of state and we know it’s an enemy of state, I would keep them away, absolutely,” Lewandowski said yep, as far as he knows. Defending the right of someone under suspicion of terrorism to buy a gun makes as much sense to the average voter, I’d guess, as defending child pornography, but there’s a sound reason for it. The list is enormous and there are no due-process protections governing who lands on it; if the feds make a mistake and add you to it, you may lose your right to buy a gun purely because of bureaucratic error. By one estimate, the number of people who are on the list despite having no known affiliation with terrorism is … close to 300,000. At a minimum, if McConnell’s prepared to defer to the FBI and its watch lists to limit gun-buying, he’d need to insist on procedural reforms to narrow the list to true terror suspects and to guarantee some right of appeal.

Why now, though? One certainty about the aftermath of mass shootings is that public interest in gun control spikes and then slowly fades over time. This won’t be an issue in the election unless there’s another attack closer to November and McConnell knows it. One Twitter pal floated the idea that he might be resigned to a Clinton victory already and therefore wants to make a deal now, when he still has some leverage, rather than negotiate gun control with President Hillary next year. But that’s unconvincing. A big Democratic win this fall means the left will push hard for gun control whether McConnell does a deal now or not. If anything, by agreeing to negotiate, he’s signaling he’ll bow to public pressure on the issue, which encourages them to push harder in 2017. Is he maybe trying to do Trump a solid here by taking up gun control on an issue where the GOP nominee agrees with the left? What’s the strategy?

Here’s Hillary yesterday insisting that “If the FBI is watching you for a suspected terrorist link, you shouldn’t be able to just go buy a gun with no questions asked.” She also claims that an AR-15 was used in the Orlando murders. Nope, but nothing’s getting the left off of that hobbyhorse.

Update: You trust Harry Reid and his party not to exploit the idea that due process doesn’t matter when counterterrorism is at stake, don’t you?

Update: Is this what McConnell has in mind? The GOP was floating its own alternative to the Democratic proposal back in December.

Under Republican legislation sponsored by Senator John Cornyn, the federal government may delay the sale of a firearm to someone on the watch list for up to 72 hours. During that time, if the government can show a judge there’s “probable cause”–the same legal standard used to obtain a search warrant–that the individual is plotting terrorism, then the gun sale is denied outright. The measure received 55 votes in the Senate. It it secured the backing of staunch conservatives like Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Marco Rubio as well as moderate Republicans Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski and moderate Democrats Joe Manchin and Joe Donnelly. The only Republican to oppose it was Mark Kirk.

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Jazz Shaw 8:01 PM on December 06, 2022