Led by Sen. Reid, the Democrats today propose another series of non-binding show votes on guns that reveal just how out of ideas they are this election season. Last month, they wanted to attach an amendment to the Syrian refugee bill that would give the Department of Justice the authority to prevent gun sales to anyone named on the terrorism watch list. That didn’t work out, but as the proverb goes, if at first you don’t succeed in stripping people of their rights without due process, try, try again:
Senate Democrats are mulling plans to offer as many as three gun-related amendments to a budget bill on Thursday, seeking to put Republicans on record on the charged issue in the aftermath of Wednesday’s mass shooting in California.
Among the proposals described by aides: Legislation that would make it harder for people on the terrorism watch list to buy guns, a measure that would restrict gun ownership for people convicted of intimidation at abortion clinics and a re-vote on universal background checks that failed in 2013.
According to that report, the Democrats believe the first proposal, related to the so-called terrorism watch list “gun loophole,” has the greatest chance of eventually becoming law, although today’s particular proposals will be non-binding votes offered only because they “could become major campaign fodder in next year’s Senate races.”
As my colleague Taylor has explained, the terrorism watch list was never meant for this purpose. As a mere watch list, it includes thousands of people who have done no wrong and clearly do not represent a threat to anyone. Like, for example, Fox News contributor Stephen F. Hayes, who was added last year for the crime of going on a cruise, or Nelson Mandela, who’s placement on the list should demonstrate for anyone with two working brain cells that it was never intended as a tool to strip citizens of their rights. There are no statutory criteria for inclusion on the terrorism watch list and no statutory mechanism to challenge one’s placement on the list. All of that was left to unelected, anonymous government bureaucrats. That’s probably half the reason Democrats like the idea so much.
With respect to the other two proposed show votes, the first is purely redundant. Convicted felons (actually, even people who merely have felony charges pending) cannot pass a firearms background check, assuming the brain trust that runs the background check process does its job right. Mark that one down as a vote made purely so that it can juice the election campaigns of struggling Democrats. Finally, we’ve done the universal background check merry-go-round before. Like the last time they tried this, Democrats have failed to demonstrate that the proposal would have any effect on gun crime.