Bipartisan gun bill is modest

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The Washington Post published a quite remarkable paragraph on Monday to launch its coverage of the bipartisan agreement on gun violence that emerged over the weekend. That was it.

A bipartisan group of senators announced on Sunday that they had reached an agreement in principle on legislation that would combine modest new restrictions on guns with major new investments in mental health and school safety – an agreement that could put Congress on a path to enacting the most significant national response in decades to acts of mass armed violence.

It might do it. It could also provide a stew lake, and whiskey too, which you can canoe across. Even assuming the plan passes the Senate at all, which still isn’t a deadlock, to assume that it’s some sort of stepping stone to more fleshed-out gun control regulation seems to be extremely optimistic. Remember those heady days when the Affordable Care Act was supposed to put us all on the path to universal health care and Medicare for All? All that has really happened is that the ACA has been fighting for its own life ever since. Republican governors even refused FREE MONEY!!! available to them to expand Medicaid coverage, and then they bragged about it. Keep that part of the story in mind as we go along here.

In no way do I want to denigrate the hard work done by Senator Chris Murphy and others to wrest the deal they got from the Republican quagmire that is the Senate Minority Caucus. The provisions of the bill are certainly helpful with regard to several problems of the country. The difficulty comes when you realize that one of the issues being addressed is decidedly not Too Many Damn Guns, and also, that there are a number of self-destruct mechanics built into the deal.

As part of the tentative agreement, a federal grant program would encourage states to implement red flag laws that allow authorities to keep guns away from people deemed by a judge to pose a potential threat. for themselves or others, while federal criminal background checks for gun buyers younger than 21 would include for the first time a mandatory search of juvenile justice and mental health records.

Other provisions would prevent the sale of firearms to a wider group of perpetrators of domestic violence, shutting down what is often called “the boyfriend’s escape”; clarify which firearms dealers are required to register as federal firearms dealers and, therefore, perform customer background checks; and establish new federal firearms trafficking offences.

I hope I don’t have to explain the problem of a program to “encourage” states to do things, especially when those states are run by conservative Republican governors and conservative Republican legislatures. Generally, history tells us that this money, even assuming the state agrees to it, ends up in the general budget and/or in a cousin’s concrete and asphalt business. Hell, light that money on fire on Main Street and shoot it full of holes.

However, this pale pastel of an executive is the only kind of bill with a ghost of luck to get 10 Republicans to the Senate. And even so, the flying monkeys went ballistic as you might expect. Rep. Ronny Jackson, the former White House doctor who claimed the former president* was the Slenderman, jumped on the Twitter electric machine lose most of his shit.

I will NOT support the horrible anti-2nd amendment bill that is being proposed in the Senate. It’s horrible! This is a MASSIVE violation of your constitutional rights, and it MUST be overruled!

Representative Andy Biggs intervened with the usual paranoia:

Gun control legislation recently passed by the House would not have prevented the mass shootings of Uvalde or Buffalo. This legislation is part of a larger goal to take all our guns and erode the Second Amendment.

And Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene gabble-gooble-red-flags-gobble:

There should be ZERO votes for red flag laws in the @HouseGOP. Stop helping Joe Biden and the Democrats hurt Americans. The people will not forget.

Etc.

I hope this will pass. But I’m not going to fall for the supposed magic powers of the word “bipartisan” to turn chicken shit into chicken salad. It’s a good start in the same way that making sure your shoes are tied is a good start for a marathon.

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