Expanded Background Checks Fail In Senate

Expanded background checks, the only gun control measure that had a chance of passage went down to defeat in the Senate a little while ago, falling short of the 60 votes needed for cloture on a 54-46 vote. (The measure actually had 55 Senators in favor, but Harry Reid switched his vote to preserve his ability to call the measure up again at a later date.) Democrats Max Baucus, Mark Begich, Heidi Heitkamp and Mark Pryor voted against the measure. Republicans Pat Toomey, Susan Collins, John McCain and Mark Kirk voted for it.

The Senate will vote on more gun control measures this afternoon, including bans on “assault weapons” and average-capacity magazines. These “anti-gun” proposals, as Reid termed them, will get fewer votes than the Manchin/Toomey background check plan. There will also be a couple of pro-gun votes on the agenda, including a proposal to require states to recognize other states’ concealed carry permits. Under such a law, if I have a concealed carry permit in Minnesota (which I do), I can carry in all 50 states, including anti-gun bastions like New York. The vote on that measure is expected to be close. To me, however, it seems like another instance of conservatives’ selective devotion to federalism. In my view, a state should be able to enforce whatever restrictions on gun use and possession within its borders that it chooses, as long as those restrictions are constitutional.

So it appears that the net effect of all the ballyhoo about gun control that we have observed for the last four months will come to nothing. And that’s in the Senate: none of the anti-gun proposals would have had a chance of getting through the House.

UPDATE: More votes have been taken. The Dems’ ban on “assault weapons” didn’t even come close, losing 40-60. Republican-backed measures did better; the national reciprocity amendment that I mentioned above got 57 votes and a proposal to stiffen penalties for straw purchasers got 58. But it looks like nothing will pass.