On Monday, 13 people were shot at the Washington D.C. Navy Yard. The United States Senate was locked down for several hours.
Did any Senators notice?
Early results seem to indicate, ‘No.’ Even with a mass shooting practically on their doorstep, our so-called legislators still turn a blind eye to the violence.
For the record, a slaughter of children, record poll numbers and a Senate lockdown have all failed to change the political calculus for gun control on Capitol Hill. It seems more and more impossible that the current makeup of the legislature will ever make progress on this issue. When bipartisan amendments supported by more than 80% of the voting public can’t make it through the Senate, there is clearly a problem.
It’s still possible that the Navy Yard shooting changes things in the Senate. It’s not too late for them to wake up to the reality of the slaughter. But it’s unlikely. Obama’s too busy with Syria to fight this battle. The agenda is swamped with looming battles over a government funding resolution and the debt ceiling. Most importantly, the pro-gun senators and representatives are ideologues; the fate of the Manchin-Toomey background check amendment proves that they will never compromise.
It’s time for the anti-gun forces to change course. The defeats suffered by two gun control state senators in a Colorado recall election point to a different way. Gun control activists need to focus on toppling vulnerable right-wing senators and representatives in the mid-term elections, not lobbying them to change their ideology.
Some rabidly pro-gun members of Congress have seen their ratings slide since the defeat of the Manchin-Toomey amendment, and could be vulnerable on this issue. With the rough patch President Obama has been through these last few months, Democrats could use an important election issue to pillory Republicans with.
The 113th Congress is not going to make a change to protect Americans from more mass shooting. But, with work, maybe the 114th Congress will.
Image Content Courtesy of ktrh.com