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.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.