Hey, guess what? It turns out that if 90% of the people want something, and it is the only right thing to do, and not doing it not only "not the right thing" but it is also an abysmally horrid, insensitive, immoral, and boneheaded thing to do, that YOU LOSE.
Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire is going down in flames. She will be voted out of office entirely on the basis of her no vote on the background check law. Good bye Kelly.
If you want to see the mechanism of pushback against hate and gun nuttery, have a look:
I hope you're right that Ayotte will be voted out. However, her term isn't up until 2016, and I wonder whether her constituents will remember this day 3-4 years hence.
Time will tell.
It all depends on how the activism plays out.
Before this vote, Ms. Ayotte's claim to fame as a Senator was to pal around with McCain and Graham while insisting there was something scandalous about Benghazi. I wish I could say my junior senator was useless, but I think that assessment is overly kind.
Yes, she might get re-elected in 2016 if she can make the voters forget this. But to do that, she really needs to break her habit of doing or saying something venal or idiotic on days that end with Y.
Is she a tea party ite?
It's time to up the ante. This is a negotiating strategy based on increasing one's demands until the other side caves in, on the basis that they'd better do so before the deal on the table gets even "worse" for them.
Notice that the Boston bombs were made from gunpowder extracted from high-powered fireworks available across the border in New Hampshire: with no ID, no record keeping, no nothing.
There was a time when you could walk into any rural hardware store and buy dynamite*. Eventually that was restricted, but ammonium nitrate fertilizer remained. After Oklahoma City, that was restricted. So now we have terrorists using gun powder, amplified with a container in this case a pressure cooker.
So: bring back the firearms background check bill, and add to it any type of fireworks containing extractable gun powder. Put all those Senators on the record again.
Then bring back another version, extending those provisions to "reloading kits," that include gunpowder for hunters & historic firearms collectors to manufacture custom bullets.
Keep going and then offer to back off only slightly in exchange for their votes.
Obama should start using this strategy relentlessly across a wide range of issues.
BTW, I should mention, I'm a pretty strong 2nd A supporter, but criminal background checks are entirely reasonable. IMHO criminal statutes should be revised to specify "loss of 2A rights" as one of the designated penalties for violent crimes, so it's very clear up-front what will happen. That should be the context for the background checks: verifying that someone has not been convicted of a crime that entails loss of 2A rights. This does not infringe the 2A rights of law-abiding citizens.
*Dynamite: rural folks have legitimate uses for explosives, such as dealing with tree stumps and boulders. However now there is a wonderfully safe substitute: "expanding mortar" is one of the names for it. You drill holes in the tree stump or boulder, mix this stuff with water, pour it in, and wait a day. The material expands as it hardens, fracturing the stump or the rock for safe removal. All the benefits of dynamite with none of the risks, and it can't be used for terrorist attacks.
Greg @4: I don't recall her explicitly campaigning as a Tea Party type, but she was running in a year when the Tea Party gave a substantial edge to anybody with an R next to his name, and to the extent that she's actually done anything in the Senate, she's been pandering to the base.
I hope that the insane state legislature that was voted in along with Ayotte (veto-proof majorities in both houses), and voted out at the next opportunity, did some lasting damage to the Republican brand. When I first moved to this state a couple of decades ago, I registered as an independent so that I could vote in Republican primaries, which at the time were the deciding contest in too many races. Other than last year's Presidential primary (contested on the R side but not the D side), the last time I voted in a Republican primary was in 2002 (my only vote for then-Sen. Bob Smith, who may have been a wingnut but was OUR wingnut). I don't think the electorate has gotten any more liberal despite the many former Massachusetts residents living in the southern part of the state (many of those bedroom towns are still deep red territory), but the Republicans have moved so far to the right that our dictionary-definition conservative voters have switched to the Democrats. I don't have a good barometer, though, because I happen to live in one of the bluest towns in the state.
Well, there's always the possibility of a recall election.
Right? One can hope, anyway...
makeinu @7: New Hampshire doesn't provide for recall elections. Unless she resigns or dies, we're stuck with her until January 2017.
The US Constitution does not provide or allow recall elections of any sort for federal elected office. Maybe it should, but that's a different question.
Innocent victims of gun violence are externalities of the gun industry / lobby. The gun industry / lobby want to ignore them, they are therefore deemed irrelevant. Externalies are costs imposed on wider society and or individuals, rather than those who incur the costs.
It's about time that the gun industry / lobby and those who buy their products be made to accept their responsibility for victims of gun violence and part of that responsibility is accepting sufficient controls & restrictions on firearm ownership, storage and use, plus higher taxes or prices on firearms and ammunition to compensate victims, or their families.
Unless the gun-lobby and the gun-owning Public do the right thing, they are showing themselves to be morally bankrupt.
I live here. Ayotte is a hero who stands up for her convictions. I am an NRA member & an Iraq War Vet. I have never voted Democratic. I'm voting Ayotte. Mr. Greg Bin Laden needs to stick to science and stop smooching Bloomberg buttcheeks.
In your comment you stated "criminal statutes should be revised to specify 'loss of 2A rights' as one of the designated penalties for violent crimes, so it’s very clear up-front what will happen."
It seems you need to brush up on your local criminal law (federal criminal law is very limited, usually it only comes into play with interstate cases). As far as I am aware in all states one of the consequences of a felony conviction is the loss of several rights including but not limited to owning a firearm, voting, and being excluded from serving on a jury (though some people would consider that a blessing). While it is possible to have these rights reinstated in some cases it's far from the norm.
Additionally, the negotiating strategy you propose is not usually an effective one. One of the most common in business and law is to start out asking for more than you want and then whittle down to your actual goal to give the illusion of compromise. What you're proposing is more akin to moving goal posts and people generally don't stand for that.
Finally I'm not sure how well you understand how fireworks and firearms work. Gun powder is a pretty simple (and weak) chemical compound that you can whip up at home. All it takes for the basic smokey stuff is salt peter, sulfur, and coal or charcoal. But that's just one of any number of simple chemical explosives that will always be available to anyone with a hardware store and an inventive mind or an internet connection. And fireworks are just paper tubes filled with different powder mixes, they're not meant to survive and making them tamper-proof would be like trying to make a grenade that survives detonation.
To everyone else: if you don't like guns that's fine, don't buy them. No one is forcing you to go to a range for an afternoon of shooting or to keep a gun in your home. You shouldn't allow emotion and personal experience cloud your judgement.
What Nick said. I'm ever amazed by the high proportion of "rationalist" sciencey types who clearly and obviously have never handled a firearm, nor spent any time with we rationalist sciencey types who do.
As for the "what 90 percent of the people want," dear gods, can we puhLEEZE stop representing propaganda as data?
The idea that tools are dangerous because of their essence is magical thinking. It is woo. The idea that more laws will suddenly make criminal individuals start following laws is magical thinking. It is woo.