After the Sandy Hook violence jumpstarted gun-control issues, it seems we are finally getting the legislation so many activists are saying we need. Since the bill must be bipartisan minded – with a Senate controlled by Democrats and a House by Republicans, and with the resonating voice of the NRA in the near background, what we are coming up with is necessarily a compromise, but one that seems to be satisfying to most involved. The proposal is strongly backed and associated with Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn). The short of it is that it cuts out some loopholes about background checks at gun shows, so that such checks are indeed needed, but does not require a background check between gun sales of private individuals.
Gun control advocate would prefer a background check for private sales as well, while the conservative group Heritage Action criticized the bill, saying “We expect more of Pat Toomey.” Others are less tepid, including President Obama, who had himself hoped for stauncher gun laws.
“This is not my bill,” said Obama, “and there are aspects of the agreement that I might prefer to be stronger. But the agreement does represent welcome and significant bipartisan progress. It recognizes that there are good people on both sides of the issue, and we don’t have to agree on everything to know that we’ve got to do something to stem the tide of gun violence.”
The new legislation also stipulates that a national commission evaluate causes of violence, including what role media entertainment plays, which suggests, perhaps, future censors in the movies. But as for the part that most are in agreement with, Toomey summed it up best when he said “Candidly, I don’t consider criminal background checks to be gun control. I think it’s common sense.”
Gun legislation continues to go forward, and the debate is by no means settled. That gun rights are stipulated in the Bill of Rights means they are an issue structurally built into our National identity.