The gun control filibuster in June was an effort by some of Washington’s Democratic lawmakers to force Republicans to find a solution for curbing gun violence.
The gun control filibuster was, in fact, the first of its kind. It epic in size and scale in order to increase the pressure on Senate Republicans who refused to do anything about gun violence after widely reported mass shooting incidents that have taken place over the last several years.
The New York Times offers details as to why this was a different kind of filibuster, but it also suggests that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had agreed to hold votes for gun control anyway.
In hindsight, the gun control filibuster seems to be exactly what the Republicans said it was: a politicized show and a stunt that was largely led by Connecticut Democrat Christopher S. Murphy, who is now looking to take the issue on the campaign trail. Because Mitch McConnell decided to table one of the last of five bills left to vote on, replacing it with the Zika funding bill that no one could agree to because Republicans stuffed the funding bill with unrelated amendments. This caused the bill to be rejected right before they took a seven-week vacation.
Civil rights leader John Lewis also played a part in the gun control filibuster using “old school” tactics to essentially stage an occupation sit-in of the Senate over a period of only 15 hours, which, as the New York Times points out, McConnell made little to no effort to stop, perhaps knowing it wouldn’t last.
From this, it’s clear that the only way for anyone to even lift a finger to do anything about gun violence is to get rid of the people who won’t do anything at all.
Without getting too lost in the “tit for tat” argument around the tactics used, one should consider the possibility that the gun control filibuster wasn’t entirely political. As it only became that when one party refused to do anything about it and the other had no choice but to fill in the vacancy.
For one, congressional leadership is Republican-led, who, for various reasons, oppose gun control no matter how many people are killed by them. They also spun the narrative that guns aren’t killing people and rather that people are, which is an interesting argument to make given that without the gun, people would not be able to kill as many people as possible and as quickly as they have in all of these horrific mass shootings.
The filibuster seemed to form a view that Republicans would be forced to do something about it. But if how they acted after the Sandy Hook shooting has taught us anything, it’s that not even the massacre of innocent children is enough to motivate Republicans to at least do something, much less the killing of office personnel in San Bernardino or patrons at a gay nightclub.
At this point, an Alex Castenellos type of Republican will attempt to distract the argument that would accept gun control as the solution, because to them it’s a matter of radical Islamic terrorism, which everyone agrees is something lawmakers have to do something about. However, it’s going to take arming thousands of men and women in the military with guns to able to solve that problem.
The filibuster might be an old tactic for a new problem, which is actually a battle of the mindset, as open carry groups have pushed to make carrying guns out in the open something to be viewed as a normal and non-threatening act.
Very recently, the Washington Post reported that Apple is working to change their gun emoji to a water pistol, which appears to have upset many pro-gun advocates.
NBC News reported a story about a recent Gallup poll that appears to show millennials are less likely to support gun control measures than previously thought, but their pick for the example seems to show that they’re already anti-Hillary for fear that she would pose a threat to the Second Amendment, which would certainly fit into a pattern of who we would already expect to be against gun control.
It’s hard to know if there could be another gun control filibuster when Congress comes back in September, a tactic that neither side is willing to fully see through or support.
[Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]