Orlando Massacre Could Weaken Republican Resolve on Guns

Over the last eight years, Republicans have been viciously and rightfully hammered for their ineffective opposition to Barack Obama’s liberal agenda. All bark and no bite, our elected representatives have managed to brand themselves as obstructionists without, you know, actually obstructing anything.

But as justified as this criticism has been, Republicans do deserve credit in one area: Protecting our Second Amendment rights. The political pressure after the Sandy Hook tragedy was enormous, but congressional Republicans bravely stood their ground. They slapped down Obama’s gun-control proposals at a time when the majority of Americans thought they would pass with flying colors.

We’ll see if they still have that resolve in the coming weeks and months.

Democrats, all-too-mindful of the political opportunity the Orlando tragedy has given them, are rushing to once again ram gun control through Congress.

“We have to face the fact that meaningful gun control has to be a part of homeland security,” said Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. “We need to do something to minimize the opportunity for terrorists to get a gun in this country.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer, backing a bill that would prevent anyone on the FBI’s terror watch list from buying a gun, said, “If the FBI believes there is a reasonable chance someone is going to use a gun in a terrorist attack, it should be able to make that determination and block the sale.”

Schumer claimed that this legislation might have prevented the Orlando attack, though it’s not clear why he thinks that. Omar Mateen was not on any watch list at the time he purchased his weapons.

More disturbingly, CBS News reported Wednesday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had met with FBI Director James Comey and Secretary Johnson. The report said that McConnell was “open” to passing new gun control legislation.

While it’s doubtful that Republicans would cave so dramatically that they would pass a new “assault weapons” ban, we may see them compromise on this terror watch-list business. It’s just one of those things that hits an emotional chord with people. If you don’t really know what you’re talking about – and most people don’t – banning suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms sounds like the most reasonable thing in the world.

The problem, of course, is the lack of due process. The problem, of course, is who gets to decide how someone goes on that list…or how they get off that list? The problem, of course, is putting the FBI – an agency as susceptible to political motivations as any other – in charge of deciding who gets to own a gun.

Even under circumstances as dire as these, let’s not forget the ultimate goals of the Democratic Party. And let’s not forget where “compromise” has led us in other areas of public policy.


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