Eight days ago, a confused, mentally unstable terrorist walked into a gay nightclub in Orlando and murdered 49 people in a matter of minutes with an assault rifle. Other than the Republican nominee for president tweeting out the political equivalent of “CALLED IT!” and accusing our American-born, Harvard-educated commander-in-chief of being in league with ISIS, the nation’s response was, for the most part, swift and predictable. Democrats and Republicans quickly retreated to familiar ground. The former group pushed for increased gun control in the hopes of possibly preventing the next tragedy; the latter spent a few minutes talking at mythical beings before emailing the NRA for the week’s instructions.
Senate Democrats, thanks largely to a 14-hour filibuster led by Connecticut senator Christopher Murphy, managed to force the Republican-controlled Senate to hold a vote on four gun control measures this evening, two pertaining to background checks, two to the so-called “terrorist loophole.” Democrats and Republicans each sponsored a bill addressing both issues.
Chris Murphy (D - CT) Amendment - Requires a background check for all private gun sales. Closes gun show loophole.
Chuck Grassley (R - IA) Amendment - Non-expanded background check bill that doesn’t close gun show loophole and allows mentally-ill veterans to purchase guns. It also allows anyone released from involuntary psychiatric treatment to buy a gun immediately.
Dianne Feinstein (D - CA) Amendment - Allows the Attorney General to block gun sales to known terror suspects based on “reasonable suspicion” that the individual is involved in terrorist activities.
John Cornyn (R - TX) Amendment - Terror suspects can purchase a gun unless the AG can prove in court within three days that the suspect has already or will commit a crime.
Not sure why I bothered typing all that. Obviously, all four measures failed to reach the 60-vote threshold needed for cloture because Senate Republicans care more about the NRA picking up their Palm tab than they do about gay people getting their faces ripped apart by weapons designed for military use. The two GOP-sponsored bills failed 53-47. Feinstein’s went down 47-53. Murphy’s, which advocated a position shared by 90 percent of Americans and 80 percent of gun owners, somehow garnered the least support (44-56).
A gunman killed one person for every state in the union (technically we don’t need two Dakotas) in less time than it takes me to upload a photo to Instagram. Our response to this nightmare — the same response we had when 6-year-olds were gunned down at their school, when nine churchgoers were murdered in a house of worship, when a United States congresswoman was shot in the head at a meet-and-greet, when [insert literally any mass shooting since Columbine two decades ago] — is to easily defeat a bill that would simply require anyone purchasing a device designed solely to kill pass a simple clearance first.
What is wrong with you, you selfish, soulless, shitbags? Do you care about anything beyond your own enrichment? Pat Toomey, my senator for another four miserable months, voted against a background check bill HE FUCKING CO-FUCKING-SPONSORED THREE FUCKING YEARS AGO IN THE WAKE OF THE NEWTOWN MASSACRE! HOW MUCH CASH DOES THE NRA NEED TO INJECT DIRECTLY INTO YOUR ANAL CAVITY TO VOTE AGAINST YOUR OWN LEGISLATION? Oh $1.3 million, eh, Pat? Your fucking colon must look like an Amazon warehouse.
Murphy’s response to his bill receiving less than 50 percent support in the Senate was uncharacteristically blunt for an elected official:
“We’ve got to make this clear, constant case that Republicans have decided to sell weapons to ISIS. That’s what they’ve decided to do. ISIS has decided that the assault weapon is the new airplane, and Republicans, in refusing to close the terror gap, refusing to pass bans on assault weapons, are allowing these weapons to get in the hands of potential lone-wolf attackers. We’ve got to make this connection and make it in very stark terms.”
Goddamn. Also, yes. Go after them. Reason and logic aren’t working. You can’t shame people who gleefully take money to pretend kids getting gunned down at their fucking elementary school has nothing to do with the manner in which they died. They made their choice. So get nasty.
In fact, stop reading this. Instead, grab whatever the 21st-century version of pitchforks are (weaponized emojis or Future songs) and stand outside NRA headquarters like you’re about to lay siege to Winterfell. Can’t get to NRA headquarters? Study the names in the banner image (courtesy the amazing @Igorvolsky). If you live in a state represented by one of these individuals, get your ass to a voting booth in November and ensure they never have the chance to cast a vote in your name again. Take a page from the anti-abortion playbook if you must. Show up to the Russell, Hart and Dirksen buildings with graphic images of gun violence victims displayed on a 10-foot posterboard. Harass them. Make their lives miserable. Do it within the confines of the law, but make it clear they will no longer be permitted to prioritize hand-stitched leather interiors over human life.