On Monday evening, Senate Democrats put party over principle in rejecting common-sense, reasonable gun control measures. After the mass murder at Orlando gay club Pulse, Sen. Chris Murphy and his colleagues staged a flashy talk-a-thon in which they demanded that votes be taken on legislation strengthening gun control laws. The Senate Republicans agreed to the Democrats’ demand. Democrats got what they asked for, then blew it.
Senate Republicans agreed to vote on four gun control proposals—two offered by Democrats and two offered by Republicans. The Democratic proposals included Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s bill linking a terrorism watch list to a gun sales ban. On the Republican side, Sen. John Cornyn also offered legislation that would link a terrorism watch list to a gun sales ban, but his version added due process protections for Americans who are put on the list. The other two proposals expanded the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, although the Republican version did not go as far as the Democratic version. For a brief moment it seemed as if the Senate would take some kind of action.
Then all four gun control proposals were voted down because of the Democrats.
Rather than agree to the incremental gun control measures Republicans proposed, the Democrats chose to pass no gun control legislation at all. At some point after loudly demanding legislation for more than a week, Senate Democrats decided it would be better for their reelection prospects that no gun control bills pass the Senate during the election season. Their decision was hypocritical, unprincipled, and pure politics.
Republicans were willing to link the terrorism watch list to a gun sales ban, as Democrats have demanded. The price of agreement was due-process protections for Americans placed on the list. But apparently due process is too much for the Democrats. They would rather have no sales ban than a sales ban that comports with the Fifth Amendment. The Democrats similarly rejected an incremental expansion of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Apparently, some gun control is not worth sharing credit with the Republicans.
Not content to merely vote against incremental gun control, Senate Democrats then decided to throw a tantrum about it. Murphy sleazed that Senate Republicans “have decided to sell weapons to ISIS.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted her agreement. Sen. Harry Reid nonsensically accused Republicans of blocking the very gun control measures Republicans had proposed.
Make no mistake: Senate Democrats rejected two incremental gun control bills for no other reason than that Republicans were voting for them. Democrats’ hatred for Republicans was more important to them than the moral standards they claim to possess.