While speaking at an August 26 town hall meeting in Danville, Pennsylvania, Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) responded to a constituent’s criticism of the failed Manchin-Toomey background check expansion by defending the push for more gun control.
Responding to a constituent who accused him of supporting more gun control to get in tight with “[Sen.] Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and the like,” Toomey said:
On the background check legislation that I did with [Sen.] Joe Manchin (D-WV), there were a lot of proposals during that debate to… restrict categories of firearms, categories of ammunition–all kinds of measures that I think clearly infringe on Second Amendment rights, and I voted against them.
…My own view, however, is the background check–a three minute check–to try to make it harder for people who have no legal right to a firearm: criminals who’ve forfeited that right or people who’ve been adjudicated as dangerous or mentally ill, I don’t think that’s an infringement on the Second Amendment.
The first part of Toomey’s answer suggests his constituents are supposed to be impressed that he did not support all-out bans on “assault weapons” and other semi-automatic rifles that came under fire by Democrats following the heinous crime at Sandy Hook Elementary. But since when is not banning guns impressive?
The second half of Toomey’s answer, that he supported universal background checks with Manchin because they will “make it harder for criminals” and people who are “dangerous or mentally ill” to get a gun, is also a nice but hollow sentiment. Universal background checks would not have stopped Adam Lanza from obtaining the guns he used to commit his terrible crimes. They would not have changed a thing in Newtown because Lanza stole the guns he used.
Moreover, there was already a background check system in place, but Lanza went around it.
The point is simple and we see it over and over again: universal background checks will ultimately make it more burdensome for law-abiding citizens to get guns, not for criminals. And regardless of what Toomey or Manchin say, such checks will require a gun registry if they are to be enforceable. Without a registry, how can the government ever know that universal background checks are being universally applied?
Ultimately, Toomey’s answer sounds a lot like the answers Manchin has been giving his constituents when they ask him why he continues to push gun control with his buddy NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins.