In a not totally unexpected move, Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) are exploring ways to reintroduce and pass legislation similar to their bill that was rejected by the Senate by 54 to 46 (60 votes were needed for passage) back in 2013. That rejected bill— which was described as a “compromise” measure — would have expanded background checks to include sales made at guns shows and online in addition to the already-required checks for buyers purchasing firearms made from licensed commercial gun dealers.
The senators’ attempt to revive their 2013 bill is not unexpected in the wake of the recent tragic shooting in Charleston because their original legislation was created as a response to the December 2012 shooting spree by a lone gunman that killed 20 school children and six adults at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. After such highly publicized mass shootings occur, gun control advocates routinely capitalize on the natural horror resulting from such tragic events to pin the blame on the weapons, themselves, rather than on the unbalanced individuals who wielded them.
Before the Sandy Hook shootings, the same reaction resulted from the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, and the Fort Hood shooting in 2009. Lost amidst all the grief and emotions is the realization that each of these shootings occurred among a group of unarmed, defenseless people, who might have defended themselves had the personal possession of firearms not been so heavily restricted.
Once again, while emotions over the Charleston shooting still run high, Manchin and Toomey are dusting off their repertoire. However, they are proceeding with caution.
Toomey told the Washington Post he was trying to figure out if there was “something that could get the support of the 60 votes that we would need in the Senate.” Elizabeth Anderson, a spokesperson for Toomey, said that it would be erroneous to describe the senator’s efforts as “revisiting” his 2013 bill, but he “is open to exploring” legislative options. (Read more from “Senators Manchin and Toomey Consider Reviving Failed Gun Control Legislation” HERE)