Over the past weekend Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) waved the white flag on the gun control legislation he and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) pushed but failed to secure in April 2013 and tried to push again and again between then and now.
The gun control push consisted of a bill to expand current background checks beyond retail sales, so as to include private sales and gun shows too. The gun rights group Pennsylvanians for Self Protection had planned a protest outside of Toomey’s Pennsylvania offices over the weekend only to be informed that there was no need because the legislation will “not be re-introduced.”
According to Politics PA, after receiving the message from Pat Toomey’s offices Pennsylvanians for Personal Protection told their members, “We will update you if the need arises for a political demonstration, but now it seems unnecessary.” The assurances that the background check push is over come after two years of watching Senator Manchin continue to look for an opening in which to reignite the gun control push, as well as Manchin’s indications that Toomey would be on board again should such an opportunity arise.
A recent CNN poll makes clear the nation’s infatuation with expanding background checks to more types of gun sales is waning. Released on September 14, the poll shows that 56 percent of registered voters lack confidence that more gun control would keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, and 58 percent lacked confidence that it would keep guns out of the hands of criminals. Yet these are two of the most common promises proponents of expanded background checks have made over the past two and a half years.
In addition to that, the CNN poll shows that up-and-coming voters—those under the age of 50—are not so sure more gun laws are needed, period. For example, “51 percent [of seniors] say it’s too easy to get a gun, while only 37 percent of those under age 50 think the same.”
Maybe Toomey saw these figures? Maybe he has known that many of the polls showing support for gun control have been a bit inflated all along? Either way, the white flag has been waved and Second Amendment supporters are breathing a sigh of relief for now.
It is interesting to note that one of Toomey’s potential Democrat challengers—Katie McGinty—does not like the position he has taken and accuses him playing both sides by supporting gun control for a time then abandoning it. McGinty said, “Sen. Toomey needs to come clean and explain why he promised a prominent anti-gun safety group that he wouldn’t re-introduce legislation that could save lives.”
McGinty did not explain how requiring everyone to pass the same background check Virginia gunman Vester Lee Flangan passed would save lives.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.