Thursday, February 16, 2017

Senate Right Wingers Trash Rule Meant To Keep Guns Out Of The Hands Of The Severely Mentally Ill


A few weeks ago we pointed out that House Republicans repaid the NRA for al;l it;s support by getting rid of an extremely popular rule that sought to prevent the severely mentally ill from buying guns. Yesterday the Senate voted on the NRA bill and, guess what, it passed 57-43. Notice, the Democrats didn't try to filibuster it. Thank Little Chucky Schmucky for that.

Every single Republican senator voted to allow severely mentally ill people to buy semi-automatic weapons and ammo, including Susan Collins (R-ME) and Dean Heller (R-NV). But 4 Democrats crossed the aisle and voted with the Republicans: Joe Donnelly (IN), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Joe Manchin (WV) and Jon Tester (MT) and they were joined by Angus King (I-ME).

Just over 4 years ago we reprinted the newspaper ad from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence that you see up top that was aimed at Heidi Heitkamp. The ad helped persuade Heitkamp to back away from her threat to vote with the NRA on an earlier bill that included universal background checks and a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines. She had gone on This Week With George Stephanopoulos sounding very much like the NRA supporter she is. "I think you need to put everything on the table, but what I hear from the administration-- and if the Washington Post is to be believed-- that’s way, way in extreme of what I think is necessary or even should be talked about.  And it’s not going to pass." And right from the NRA talking point book: "Let’s start addressing the problem. And to me, one of the issues that I think comes-- screams out of this is the issue of mental health and the care for the mentally ill in our country, especially the dangerously mentally ill. And so we need to have a broad discussion before we start talking about gun control."

Once the ads started running in North Dakota newspapers, she realized she better care more about what her constituents thought than about NRA blandishments. This was the statement her office issued in January, 2013:
Senator Heitkamp believes that Americans have a right to bear arms. But with that right, come responsibilities. And we have a responsibility to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill, while protecting the rights of law abiding gun owners. Senator Heitkamp also believes that the problem of violence in America must be dealt with in a multifaceted way. While every option must be considered there is no one single answer. The discussion and ultimate solution to these mass violence tragedies must go beyond a singular focus on gun laws, and that the discussion must examine mental health, school security, and community development to help parents identify and address children potentially suffering from mental illness. Senator Heitkamp has clearly stated that all options must be on the table when it comes to addressing gun violence in America.

Yesterday that didn't keep her from skipping across the aisle and helping the Republicans make it easier for people suffering from schizophrenia, for example, to but an AK-47. As my friend Daisy-Mae mentioned when the House passed the same bill earlier in the month, "now someone dressed as Napoleon can walk into a gun shop and buy a semi-automatic assault rifle and run down the street and shoot up a nursery school." There were 6 House Democrats who voted for the bill-- Sanford Bishop (Blue Dog-GA), Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX), Ron Kind (New Dem-WI), Tom O'Halleran (Blue Dog-AZ), Kyrsten Sinema (Blue Dog-AZ), and Tim Walz (MN), 4 of whom have taken large sums in legalistic bribes from the gun lobbyists. And, no, not all of them come from Trump districts.

In Kyrsten Sinema's Phoenix-area district, for example, Hillary clobbered Trump, 54.7% to 38.4%-- way better than Obama's 51.1% to 46.6% win over Romney. Many in Congress say Sinema has the weakest backbone of any Democrat in Washington but that's not what this was about. She has no core beliefs either, so it wasn't about that. "Sinema," one well connected DSCC staffer told me, "wants to run against Flake... She thinks voting like a Republican will endear her to moderates; she's kind of thick, but please don't use my name."

Sanford Bishop and Henry Cuellar are long-time NRA shills, the former having taken $53,815 from the gun lobbyists and the latter $38,549. And Trump was roundly defeated in both of their safely blue districts. GA-02 (Sanford's Macon, Albany, Bainbridge and Columbus seat) rejected Trump 55.0% to 43.3% and TX-28 (Cuellar's San Antonio and Laredo seat) was even more anti-Trump; Hillary won there 58.3% to 38.5%.

Goal Thermometer As for the NRA Democrats in the Senate yesterday, Trump was defeated in Maine, 47.8% to 44.9% but he was victorious in Montana, West Virginia, North Dakota and Indiana. But he also won in Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida, Missouri and Pennsylvania, where, respectively, Sherrod Brown, Tammy Baldwin, Bill Nelson, Claire McCaskill and Bob Casey all face the voters in 2018... and all voted for their constituents' best interests, not for the NRA agenda. Courage is important in politics. If it's important to you-- particularly in regard to gun violence-- please consider contributing to Tammy Baldwin's and Sherrod Brown's reelection campaigns by tapping the thermometer on the right. And, by the way, many Wisconsin establishment Republicans don't want to run the crackpot sheriff, David Clarke, against Tammy. They want to run a different, more superficially presentable whackadoodle, Sean Duffy, who, recently, seemed to excuse right-wing gun violence and terrorism as somehow less concerning than other forms of-- as in Muslim--  terrorism and violence. This morning Duffy announced he's not going to compete for the nomination. Perhaps the Republicans will try to run sociopath Glenn Grothman against Clarke, you know, the guy who wants to repeal weekends as well as all Buy American provisions.

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At 2:19 PM, Anonymous Hone said...

The Daily News has had some terrific front pages.

Until Congress actually represents the people of this country, we will continue to be screwed. Gerrymandering and voter registration have to be at the top of the list.

At 5:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hone... right fucking on!

So... voters have to actually elect good reps for our issues. bottom line.

As to this particular atrocity... is it that those voting for this are simply corrupted fucktards enabling some upcoming (very shortly) horrific episode, aka Sandy Hook in exchange for fucking MONEY!?!?!?!

Or is it worse. Is it that they actually WANT a bigger, better Sandy Hook to occur in order to enable the money via drumpf/pence/bannon to declare martial law, suspend the remaining shards of the constitution and start shipping browns and gays off to camps?

Honestly, I'm squarely on the fence here. I truly believe that the likes of drumpf, bannon, miller, sessions, scummer, Pelosi, prebiss and ryan (et al) are in the latter camp. don't know about a lot of the rest.

does it actually matter what their true motivation?

At 10:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fifty-seven percent of the senate seems certainly to be serving itself here, ... if you get my drift. Did the measure spell out CRIMINALLY deranged?

John Puma


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