One Shoe Drops

The dynamic duo from Greater Appalachia, Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey have, as expected, released their “compromise” gun proposal, and as advertised, it shuts off the long-deplored “gun show” loophole for background checks, but doesn’t extend checks to many private sales. To address the paranoid argument that background check records could lead to a Nazi Police State, the proposal provides that licensed gun dealers, not Big Government, will keep the records.

Now it’s all about who reacts how. It’s a given Harry Reid will make this proposal his own. Given the already parlous state of the Rand Paul-led filibuster against a motion to proceed to Senate consideration of this (or any other) gun legislation, it’s possible gun ultras will bargain to secure the right to offer amendments instead of going down to a cloture vote. While the hard-line gun lobby fanatics will probably call this Totalitarianism Lite, the NRA may pause before backing a filibuster, and/or back amendments, holding its real powder for the House. These are all things to watch as additional shoes drop over the next 24 hours.

UPDATE: WaPo’s Cillizza and Kane suggest gun regulation advocates might want to hold off on celebrating, and offer some abundant precedents for gun bills that succumbed to amendments instead of filibusters.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.