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Discussion Starter #1
Please no comments in this thread.

I want to use this thread for news, articles, and updates only.

The gun bill in the senate is expected to take up to three weeks. It is important for all of us to watch, listen, and understand what is happening.



<span style="font-weight: bold">Again, please post nothing but news articles, position from reputable sources or position statements of senators. </span>

No personal commentary.

Use the information here to start another thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
The US Senate will convene at 11 AM this morning to take up the gun bill.
 

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A bipartisan deal to expand background checks on gun buyers represented a step forward in the Congressional debate as the Senate prepared to take up legislation Thursday.

While the agreement, forged by two gun-owning senators with NRA “A” ratings–Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania–falls short of what President Obama was hoping for in his gun proposals package, it may set out a promising path for meaningful gun control legislation, ......

<span style="font-weight: bold">Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has scheduled the first procedural vote for 11 am Thursday on the Senate floor, and it is now expected that the Democratic-led chamber will defeat the conservative Republicans’ filibuster and surpass the 60-vote threshold to begin the debate on the series of proposals.</span>.....



In a statement, <span style="font-weight: bold">President Obama praised the Manchin-Toomey deal.</span>.....



<span style="font-weight: bold">Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns</span>, came out in support of the bipartisan deal, even pulling a gun control ad in Toomey’s state of Pennsylvania and praising Toomey’s leadership on the bipartisan agreement.

<span style="font-weight: bold">The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence</span> and the political action committee formed by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords also spoke in favor of the deal.

Giffords’ group, Americans for Responsible Solutions, promised to campaign against the conservative senators who plan to block consideration of the legislation.

<span style="font-weight: bold">As expected, the NRA and the Heritage Foundation reacted negatively to the deal.</span> In a letter to senators, the NRA warned that “votes on all anti-gun amendments or proposals will be considered in NRA’s future candidate evaluations.” The Heritage Foundation carried out a similar tactic and warned legislators that they “will not get a pass” from the group if they support a gun-control bill. <span style="font-weight: bold">As a political caution, Sen. Toomey asked Sen. Chuck Schumer to stay away from the news conference about the compromise Wednesday morning. Senator Schumer complied: both senators agreed that the New Yorker’s presence would only aggravate the gun lobby further.</span>

<span style="font-weight: bold">Texas Senator Ted Cruz</span> is still committed to preventing a vote on expansion of background checks, .....

......

<span style="font-style: italic"><span style="font-weight: bold">“You do not have a right to bear a machine gun in this country,” O’Donnell said. “And Ted Cruz has not yet introduced a bill in the Senate to give you the right to bear a machine gun because he knows that Congress is well within its Constitutional prerogatives when it chooses to ban the sale and manufacture of particular kinds of firearms.

O’Donnell continued,

“If Ted Cruz and Rand Paul and the other Senate servants of the NRA could point to one Supreme Court case indicating there is anything unconstitutional about the legislation coming to the Senate, they would. Instead, they simply choose to lie about the Second Amendment and cravenly do the bidding of the NRA, an organization which, of course, in turn is simply doing the bidding of America’s merchants of death, who reap the profits of the industry that guarantees that America’s mass murderers are the best equipped mass murderers in the world.”</span></span>



...House Speaker John Boehner would not comment on the Senate compromise Wednesday after five separate questions on the topic, and could not promise a full House vote on any Senate legislation...........It’s one thing for two members to come to some agreement. It doesn’t substitute the will of the other 98 members. So we’ll wait to see what the Senate does.”

Reps. Pete King of New York and California’s Mike Thompson will offer their own background checks bill, which will be similar to the Senate compromise plan....





http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/04/11/gun-contr...l-begin-debate/
 

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Conservative senators from both parties announced their support for expanding background checks for gun buyers Wednesday, giving a burst of momentum to advocates of stronger restrictions. .......

The compromise between Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., boosted the chances that the Senate will agree to broaden required background checks, ......... The senators are among the most conservative members of their parties, both have received “A’’ ratings from the National Rifle Association, and their endorsements could make it easier for hesitant colleagues to back the effort.....

Gun control advocates still face opposition from many Republican senators and resistance from moderate Democrats, including several facing re-election next year in GOP-leaning states. In the Republican-run House, leaders have shown little enthusiasm for Obama’s ideas, making that chamber an even higher hurdle...........


The agreement makes it all but certain that the Senate will reject a conservative blockade and vote Thursday to begin debating Democrats’ gun legislation. ........

Underscoring that the fight was far from over, NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said the organization opposes the Manchin-Toomey accord. The group, which has fought most of Obama’s gun proposals and claims nearly 5 million members, said the focus should be on improving the nation’s mental health system and sources of violence like gangs............

..........the NRA said, “President Obama should be as committed to dealing with the gang problem that is tormenting honest people in his hometown as he is to blaming law-abiding gun owners for the acts of psychopathic murderers.”

Also criticizing the deal was conservative Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who participated in a failed effort with Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to reach a separate compromise. Coburn called the Manchin-Toomey effort a “good faith but unworkable plan” that “prioritizes collecting records over protecting citizens.”

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, repeated his view that the Senate should act, saying, “It’s one thing for two members to come to some agreement. It doesn’t substitute the will for the other 98 members.”

In a written statement, Obama said he’d prefer stronger language than the compromise, but he said it represented progress..............

Other highlights of Obama’s gun agenda — including bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines — seem to have little chance of winning approval in the Senate, let alone the House.

Polls show more than 8 in 10 people back expanded background checks. Even so, the fight will be difficult in both chambers, <span style="font-weight: bold">especially the House, where increasing numbers of district lines are drawn to protect incumbents, said James Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police.

“They’re not going to have a constituency in every instance that is champing for that bill,”</span> ....

The director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, one of whose leaders is New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said the compromise was a major improvement and showed that Republican support was possible.......

Reflecting concerns about unseen details about some gun rights language, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence took a more tempered view.

“While we continue to review the legislation, we believe a majority of the components are a good step forward,” said Brian Malte, director of the campaign’s network mobilization.............



http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/c...2695_story.html
 

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The Senate will vote Thursday to begin debate on gun control legislation, <span style="font-weight: bold">an action expected to set off weeks of debate on the floor.</span>

Democrats are confident they have the 60 votes they need to begin the debate after a number of Republicans said they would not support a filibuster backed by conservatives.

Some red-state Democrats up for reelection next year may oppose the motion, but it is expected the move to proceed to the bill will succeed.

Prospects for clearing the bill from the Senate floor were boosted by a deal on background checks to gun purchases announced Wednesday by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.).

The deal gave new momentum to gun control legislation, which had seemed to be in trouble. <span style="font-weight: bold">Supporters have described the background checks provisions as the sweet spot of a gun control bill.</span>

Still, the guns package faces an uncertain path to passage.

<span style="font-weight: bold">Democrats will need to pull at least five Republican senators to their side if the bill is to make it through the upper chamber</span>, and that task appears difficult even if Toomey and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), a pro-gun control Republican, are on board.

<span style="font-weight: bold">The 13 Republican senators who vowed to filibuster the bill are likely to remain in opposition.</span> Among them are Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who said Wednesday that Democratic efforts to push gun control would cost them the Senate in 2014, and Sen. Mike Lee (Utah), who said on the Senate floor that background check measures would lead to confiscation.

<span style="font-weight: bold">A handful of other GOP senators told The Hill on Wednesday that the Toomey-Manchin agreement didn’t change the debate at all.</span>

“While all of us like and respect Sen. Toomey, there wasn’t an outpouring of support for his amendment,” Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said.

Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) voiced similar comments, while Sen. <span style="font-weight: bold">Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) — who Democrats had courted on background checks — announced his unequivocal opposition.</span>

Republicans are also likely to face sustained pressure from pro-gun rights groups.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) said Wednesday it would score senators on the Manchin-Toomey deal and the final cloture vote on the Senate's gun bill.

In a letter to senators, NRA chief lobbyist Chris Cox says the nation's top gun owners' organization is "unequivocally opposed" to the Senate bill.

"In addition, the NRA will oppose any amendments offered to S. 649 that restrict fundamental Second Amendment freedoms; including, but not limited to, proposals that would ban commonly and lawfully owned firearms and magazines or criminalize the private transfer of firearms through an expansion of background checks," Cox writes. <span style="font-weight: bold">"This includes the misguided 'compromise' proposal drafted by Senators Joe Manchin, Pat Toomey and Chuck Schumer." </span>

<span style="font-weight: bold">The scoring threat echoed a similar declaration earlier in the day from Heritage Action chief executive Michael Needham. </span>

Needham warned lawmakers in a statement not to follow Toomey’s lead.

<span style="font-weight: bold">“We expect this type of deal making from Joe Manchin and also from Chuck Schumer, who supports the ‘universal registration’ of firearms,” Needham said. “However, we expect more from Pat Toomey and, more importantly, so do his constituents.</span> To be clear, lawmakers will not get a pass on any bill that infringes on the constitutional rights of the American people.”

Even if the Senate clears legislation, it would face an uncertain path in the House.

Toomey said a “substantial number” of House Republicans supported his proposal, and Reps. <span style="font-weight: bold">Pete King (R-N.Y.) and Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) announced Wednesday they would offer similar House legislation.</span>

The Senate bill could also be pared back during the Senate debate as different members offer amendments.

<span style="font-weight: bold">Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) announced on Wednesday that they <span style="text-decoration: underline">reached an agreement with the National Rifle Association (NRA) on a modified version of a proposal to crack down on gun traffickers and straw purchasers of firearms</span></span>. Grassley voted for a version of that bill in committee, but hasn’t said whether he’d support it in the final package.

Coburn said Wednesday he’d offer a substitute amendment to the Toomey-Manchin background checks bill that is “based on many previously agreed to bipartisan reforms gun control advocates abandoned.”
<span style="font-weight: bold">
Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s assault weapons ban is likely going nowhere, as Reid has said he doubts it could muster 40 votes in the Senate.</span>




http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/293189-senate-to-vote-on-moving-to-gun-control-legislation-today
 

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<span style="font-weight: bold">NRA to score senators on background check agreement</span>


The National Rifle Association (NRA) said Wednesday it would score senators both on the Manchin-Toomey background check deal reached Wednesday and the final cloture vote on the Senate's gun bill, potentially imperiling the passage of new gun control legislation.



In a letter to senators from NRA chief lobbyist Chris Cox, the nation's top gun owners' organization says it is "unequivocally opposed" to the Senate bill.

"In addition, the NRA will oppose any amendments offered to S. 649 that restrict fundamental Second Amendment freedoms; including, but not limited to, proposals that would ban commonly and lawfully owned firearms and magazines or criminalize the private transfer of firearms through an expansion of background checks," Cox writes. "This includes the misguided 'compromise' proposal drafted by Senators Joe Manchin, Pat Toomey and Chuck Schumer."

Earlier Wednesday, Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced a compromise deal that expand background checks to cover gun shows and the Internet. Gun sellers would be required to keep records available to law enforcement officials verifying the background check occurred.

The bill would exempt sales and transfers between friends and family that did not occur online.

The scoring threat echoed a similar declaration earlier in the day from Heritage Action chief executive Michael Needham.

“We expect this type of deal-making from Joe Manchin and also from Chuck Schumer, who supports the ‘universal registration’ of firearms,” Needham said. “However, we expect more from Pat Toomey and, more importantly, so do his constituents. To be clear, lawmakers will not get a pass on any bill that infringes on the constitutional rights of the American people.”

<span style="font-weight: bold">The NRA said that not only would senators be graded on their vote on the proposed amendment that will be offered by Toomey and Manchin, but they will also break with their standard policy of not judging procedural votes and grade senators on how they vote on a final cloture motion.</span>

Some 13 Republican senators, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have threatened to filibuster the bill ahead of a procedural vote, scheduled for Thursday, which is expected to open debate on the gun bill. A competing group of Republicans, led by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), have said they would not participate in a filibuster, seemingly ensuring that legislative debate on the law would be allowed.

Less clear is whether those Republican senators will also oppose a filibuster of the final cloture vote. That decision will likely be further complicated by both the NRA scoring threat, putting some senators who were likely planning to vote for cloture but against the eventual bill in a tough spot. Senate legislation needs 60 votes to end a filibuster, but the gun control bill would need just 50 lawmakers to vote for it after clearing that hurdle.

President Obama is meeting with a dozen Republican senators at the White House Wednesday night, and is expected to lobby them to allow a vote on the gun control bill.

"I can assure you that the need to make progress on legislation that is very common-sense, that is supported in each of its components by a majority of the American people, will be a topic of conversation," White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday. "It will certainly be something the president wants to discuss."


http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-r...check-agreement
 

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Discussion Starter #7
<span style="font-weight: bold">Senate votes 68-31 to move forward with gun control measure</span>



The Senate voted to move forward on gun control Thursday, clearing the first of what is expected to be many 60-vote hurdles for the legislation.

<span style="font-weight: bold">In a 68-31 vote, the Senate approved a procedural motion that will allow debate on the Democratic measure to begin. </span>

<span style="font-style: italic">Sixteen Republicans voted in favor of the motion, while two Democrats — both from states President Obama lost in the 2012 election — voted against it. The two Democrats were Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska) and Mark Pryor (Ark.), both of whom face reelection next year.</span>


<span style="font-weight: bold">The 16 Republicans who voted to proceed were</span> Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Richard Burr (N.C.), Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), Susan Collins (Maine), Bob Corker (Tenn.), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Dean Heller (Nev.), John Hoeven (N.D.), Johnny Isakson (Ga.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), John McCain (Ariz.), Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Roger Wicker (Miss.). ...............



Just prior to the vote, relatives of the Newtown victims issued a joint release saying those who threatened to filibuster the bill should be "ashamed." Some of the victims' families watched the vote from the Senate gallery.

"The senators who have vowed to filibuster this bill should be ashamed of their attempt to silence efforts to prevent the next American tragedy," the group said in a statement. "Their staunch opposition to sensible gun reform is an affront to the 26 innocent children and educators who were murdered in Newtown. No one should have to experience the pain we have endured – commonsense gun laws will help spare others from the grief we live with every day.".................


Immediately after the vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) reiterated that the first amendment to be considered for the bill will be a deal on background checks worked out by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Toomey. .............


In a letter to senators, NRA chief lobbyist Chris Cox called the background checks bill “misguided” and said the NRA would negatively score votes in favor of it when it is offered.

“This bill is a clear overreach that will predominantly punish and harass our neighbors, friends and family,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday on the Senate floor. “The following offenses would now be federal crimes: An uncle giving his nephew a hunting rifle for Christmas, a niece giving her aunt a handgun for protection. ... These people I’m describing are not criminals.” ..........


Democrats will need at least five Republicans to vote in favor of a final bill to send it to the House, but only appear to have Toomey and Kirk on board so far.

They also cannot count on all of the upper chamber Democrats supporting a final bill.


http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/se...rol-legislation
 

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The “Pro-Gun” Provisions of Manchin-Toomey are Actually a Bonanza of Gun Control

David Kopel • April 15, 2013 2:20 am

The Toomey-Manchin Amendment which may be offered as soon as Tuesday to Senator Reid’s gun control bill are billed as a “compromise” which contain a variety of provisions for gun control, and other provisions to enhance gun rights. Some of the latter, however, are not what they seem. They are badly miswritten, and are in fact major advancements for gun control. In particular:

1. The provision which claims to outlaw national gun registration in fact authorizes a national gun registry.

2. The provision which is supposed to strengthen existing federal law protecting the interstate transportation of personal firearms in fact cripples that protection.

Let’s start with registration. Here’s the Machin-Toomey text.

(c) Prohibition of National Gun Registry.-Section 923 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
“(m) The Attorney General may not consolidate or centralize the records of the
“(1) acquisition or disposition of firearms, or any portion thereof, maintained by
“(A) a person with a valid, current license under this chapter;
“(B) an unlicensed transferor under section 922(t); or
“(2) possession or ownership of a firearm, maintained by any medical or health insurance entity.”.

The limit on creating a registry applies only to the Attorney General (and thus to entities under his direct control, such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives). By a straightforward application of inclusio unius exclusio alterius it is permissible for entities other than the Attorney General to create gun registries, using whatever information they can acquire from their own operations. For example, the Secretary of HHS may consolidate and centralize whatever firearms records are maintained by any medical or health insurance entity. The Secretary of the Army may consolidate and centralize records about personal guns owned by military personnel and their families.

The Attorney General may not create a registry from the records of “a person with a valid, current license under this chapter.” In other words, the AG may not harvest the records of persons who currently hold a Federal Firearms License (FFL). Thus, pursuant to inclusio unius, the AG may centralize and consolidate the records of FFLs who have retired from their business.

Under current law, retired FFLs must send their sales records to BATFE. 18 USC 923(g)(4); 27 CFR 478.127. During the Clinton administration, a program was begun to put these records into a consolidated gun registry. The program was controversial and (as far as we know) was eventually stopped. Manchin-Toomey provides it with legal legitimacy.

The vast majority of FFLs are small businesses, often single proprietorships. Only a tiny fraction of FFLs are enduring corporate entities (e.g., Bass Pro Shops) which will never surrender their FFL. By consolidating and centralizing the records of all out-of-business FFLs, BATFE will be able to build a list of most people in the U.S. who have bought a gun from a store. The list will not be fully up-to-date for every gun owned by every individual, but the list will identify the very large majority of gun owners.

(The maxim discussed above is sometimes rendered as Expressio unius est exclusio alterius.)



Now for transportation. The 1986 Firearms Owners’ Protection Act immunizes from state law prosecution the transportation of an unloaded and inaccessible (e.g., in the trunk of your car) firearm through a state. 18 USC 926A. So if you are driving from Pennsylvania to Vermont to go hunting there, you can travel through New York State without needing to acquire a NY pistol permit. (Which NY won’t issue anyway, since NY only issues to residents.)

Toomey-Manchin includes some explicit language to make clear what was already implicit in FOPA, that such travel can include situations in which, while traveling, you stop to eat, refuel, or rest:

SEC. 128. INTERSTATE TRANSPORTATION OF FIREARMS OR AMMUNITION.
(a) In General.-Section 926A of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
“926A. Interstate transportation of firearms or ammunition
“(a) Definition.-In this section, the term ‘transport’-
“(1) includes staying in temporary lodging overnight, stopping for food, fuel, vehicle maintenance, an emergency, medical treatment, and any other activity incidental to the transport; and
“(2) does not include transportation-
“(A) with the intent to commit a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year that involves a firearm; or
“(B) with knowledge, or reasonable cause to believe, that a crime described in subparagraph (A) is to be committed in the course of, or arising from, the transportation.

But notice part (2) of the new definition: a new exclusion for any firearms crime punishable by more than year of imprisonment. In some states, such a crime includes merely not having a state-issued gun permit. So now let’s suppose that the Pennsylvanian is going to Maine. On the way, he travels through Massachusetts. Under current law, FOPA protects him. Under Manchin-Toomey, Massachusetts can arrest and imprison him, and he will have no federal defense. In Massachusetts, possession of a firearm without a state permit is punishable by imprisonment up to to 2 years. Possession outside one’s home or business is a sentence of 2.5 to 5 years, with a mandatory minimum of 18 months. New Jersey and New York City also have penalties of over one year for simple possession without a local permit.

Maybe the Pennsylvanian might qualify for some exemption under the laws of Mass., NYC, or NJ. Or perhaps not. What we know for sure is that today the Pennsylvanian is protected by FOPA, and if Manchin-Toomey passes, he will not be.

There are several other states where the relevant penalty is up to one year. Every one of them can exempt itself from FOPA by simply increasing the penalty to 367 days.

The 1986 FOPA is also known as Volkmer-McClure, for its prime sponsors, Democratic Rep. Harold Volkmer of Missouri, and Republican Sen. James McClure of Idaho. Michael E. Hammond was McClure’s manager for the bill. Hammand has identified a variety of other potential problems in Manchin-Toomey.


There are fairly small number of attorneys with serious expertise on federal firearms laws. Senator Charles Schumer, who works closely with Michael Bloomberg’s lobby, is likely to have had the full legal resources of that very well-funded organization. Conversely, based on off-the-record inquiry, I have not found any indication that Senator Toomey had any specialist expertise on his own side.

The result of the disparity is “pro-gun” provisions which are actually very strong anti-gun provisions: The supposed ban on federal firearms registration authorizes federal gun registration. The supposed strengthening of FOPA’s interstate transportation protection exempts two of the worst states (the reason why FOPA was needed in the first place), and provides any easy path for every other abusive state to make FOPA inapplicable.


http://www.volokh.com/2013/04/15/the-pro...espeed=noscript

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