Responding to a growing amount of pressure to act after a pair of gun massacres left more than 30 people dead over the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday that there will be a “discussion” about expanding background checks.
While the media was quick to highlight McConnell’s apparent openness to moving forward on a background check bill, the Senate leader refused to say whether he would actually support legislation to tighten background checks on gun sales.
In fact, McConnell wouldn’t even say if he would allow a vote in the Senate on such legislation. Instead, he just said background checks and “red flag” laws would be “front and center” in the Senate’s debate over gun legislation.
“The discussion is focusing on two things: One is these red-flag warnings. … There’s also been some discussion about background checks,” McConnell said during a radio interview on Thursday, according to The Hill.
He added, “There’s a bipartisan bill in the Senate, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania a Republican and Joe Manchin of West Virginia a Democrat, so those are two items that for sure will be front and center as we see what we can come together on and pass.”
McConnell told protesters he doesn’t care what they think
A group of protesters has been staking out outside of McConnell’s house this week, not just in response to the shootings in El Paso and Dayon, but also to voice their concern over a number of issues.
The Senate majority leader basically told them all on Thursday that he doesn’t give a damn what they think.
“I have a word for everybody who’s been in the front yard, and everybody who’s trying to get in my space: I will not be intimidated by you people, not a chance,” McConnell said.
He continued, “Not a single thing you do is going to alter how I operate on behalf of my constituents and the country for whom I have a significant amount of responsibility.”
McConnell must have forgotten that the folks standing outside of his house are his constituents, and they’re sick of him and his party putting special interests above all else.
It’s one of the reasons why he is the most hated Senator in the country.
McConnell is dancing around the gun issue
What the Senate leader appears to be doing on guns – acknowledging that a debate on background checks will happen without actually committing to bringing legislation to the floor – is tap dancing around the issue due to mounting public pressure.
While the McConnell does seem to be hinting that the Senate will take up this issue, he and his NRA-owned colleagues don’t deserve any praise until they actually get the job done.
After all, we have seen one massacre after another, in big cities and small towns all across the country, and Republicans – led by McConnell – have repeatedly refused to act.
When 20 school first-graders in Newtown were gunned down, the GOP shrugged its collective shoulders and blocked legislation to expand background checks on all gun purchases. No one should be fooled into thinking they aren’t shameless enough to do it again after what happened in El Paso and Dayton this past weekend.
Until Mitch McConnell and his colleagues in the Senate actually come to their senses and allow a vote on gun safety legislation, they don’t deserve an ounce of praise or credit.
If Republicans refuse to act, not only will they continue to be bothered by protesters, but they’ll lose their jobs.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.