Thursday, June 23, 2016

House Democrats continue sit-in for gun bill votes

Posted By on Thu, Jun 23, 2016 at 7:40 AM

PUBLICITY STUNT? Sure it was and social media was awash in powerful images like this.
  • PUBLICITY STUNT? Sure it was and social media was awash in powerful images like this.

Though Republican leadership adjourned the U.S. House of Representatives late last night, Democrats continued a sit-in and speechmaking on the House floor in protest of Republican refusal to allow votes on pending gun control measures.

Republicans have decried this as a publicity stunt. Of course it is.

Republicans themselves have mounted such stunts in the past and, on one occasion, then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi turned off the lights when they did. Then it was Democrats decrying a publicity stunt.

And who'd have thought the Republicans would forge an alliance with the ACLU? But they have, citing ACLU objections to a lack of due process in a variety of measures put forth to prevent people on the often-suspect no-fly list from purchasing firearms.

Fair debate. Let's have it, then call the roll.

There is a point to publicity stunts. Publicity. Poll after poll shows the majority of voters are open to stronger gun safety laws, but the NRA through their puppets in the GOP won't allow the discussion.

Might the desire for new laws in response to mass shootings mean no-fly//no-buy? Might it mean closing loopholes on required background checks on gun purchases? Might it mean systematic government funded research for roots of gun violence and ways, such as safer weapons, to curb their use in crime, suicide and accidental shootings? 

Reasonable people think the answer might not be yes in every specific, but that the subject should be debated and voted. The NRA doesn't. The John Lewis-inspired sit-in provided hours of gripping and often inspiring TV — broadcast through social media that sidestepped Paul Ryan's unplugging of the C-SPAN cameras.

It wasn't fire hoses ad billy clubs, but suppression of a debate whose need was written in the blood of Orlando was a dramatic moment for a movement that enjoys broader sympathy than Republicans like to admit.

Are guns off-limits? That is the question.

Conner Eldridge, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Arkansas, thinks not. He says he'd vote for the no-fly/no-buy legislation. Incumbent Republican Sen. John Boozman dismisses this as inappropriate politics in the wake of tragedy. The wake of tragedy is PRECISELY the time to search for solutions to prevent recurrence.

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