(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

In a setback to gun control advocates, the U.S. Senate rejected several measures on Wednesday, including a bipartisan compromise to expand background checks for firearm purchases. At a news conference, surrounded by relatives of those killed in the Newtown, Connecticut massacre, an angry President Obama said lawmakers had caved to special interests, calling it “a pretty shameful day for Washington.” We’ll discuss the vote, and look at the prospects for future federal gun control legislation.

Guests:
Todd Zwillich, Washington correspondent for "The Takeaway," from Public Radio International and WNYC
Heidi Przybyla, congressional reporter for Bloomberg News
Barbara Boxer, U.S. senator (D-CA)

  • Chemist150

    Panic buttons to shut classroom doors would do something for Newtown. A security guard at schools would be a deterrent for school shooting such as Newtown.

    “Enhanced” background checks would have done nothing to prevent Newtown.

    The politicians should focus and agree on what is right instead of gut reactions to usurp the second amendment. Both could agree to the two points above and compromise to that position.

  • Another Mike

    How did the pollsters get a list of NRA members? I thought that list was confidential?

    • Bill_Woods

      Presumably pollsters just asked pollees, ‘are you a member of the NRA?’, along with other questions.

      • Another Mike

        No one ever lied to a telephone pollster, I suppose. What is the penalty for lying to a pollster? I remember when the late columnist Mike Royko urged us to.

  • Stephen Schmid

    I was infuriated by the bogus arguments that gun advocates made against background checks. Chief among them was the claim that checks were useless because those who failed them were not prosecuted. This completely overlooks the fact that failing the check means the person did not get the gun! Whether that person is prosecuted or not is much less important.

    • utera

      Its less bogus than using the children of newtown to push this legislation which would NOT have stopped that shooting since the mother would have passed the background check with flying colors. If the shoe were on the other foot and republicans were pushing legislation based on preexisting agendas using the deaths of children, you’d be outraged too.

  • Kyle Temple

    If the federal government won’t do what needs to be done, why can’t states close loopholes on background checks, and pursue other measures at the state level?

    • Chemist150

      They are but guns cross state lines.

      • Another Mike

        You as a Californian cannot legally bring any guns into the state. They must be delivered to a Licensed dealer in California, who is subject to all California’s laws.

        • Chemist150

          I’ve personally helped destroy guns purchased on the street. It’s not like your wheels lock up and your car comes to screeching halt when you drive across the state line like a smart cart in a shopping center parking lot. Background checks will do nothing to prevent Newtown like events.

  • Ryan

    The linchpin of Boxer and Obama’s argument is based on “90% of the public wanting this gun control measure.” Where are they getting this statistic because now polls are showing that 47% think Congress voted the correct way; 26% think this is just total typical Washington Politics; and 27% are “outraged.” This certainly doesn’t seem to support the 90% statistic that these politicians are using to suggest everyone is behind them and there is some small minority special interest group being protected due to “politics”.

    • Beth Grant DeRoos

      Would also like to know where they got the 90% number. How was the question posed per getting an answer?

    • utera

      Its just the same as the media barely covering that philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell. He was doing horrible things in his abortion clinic, if you believe those were children, he’s a mass murderer, but the media has its biases.

  • Chemist150

    Senator Boxer, I’m in your district. You do not represent me. I’ve emailed you and listened in on your town halls with screen questions before and got responses from your office invalidating my view points. You do not represent me. You’ve ignored me and conveyed to me that public opinion has no place in politics. In last election for a particular office, they had two candidates on the ballot, two democrats with no write.

    As a Libertarian, I’m offended that they silenced my vote before I could vote due to the two top vote getters at the primaries getting the ballot positions. I wait for the day you are elected out of office and the unjust, undemocratic monopoly the democrats have in my district is broken.

  • thucy

    thanks for inviting Boxer – I give the old girl great credit for voting against the Iraq Invasion. I wish Feinstein possessed such courage. As for gun control… I’m agnostic. We made drugs illegal, and criminalization built a criminal cartel.

    And let’s face it: most of us face greater risk in Bay Area traffic, statistically.

  • Bob Fry

    The 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution begins, “A well regulated Militia”…I don’t see too much “well regulation” these days. The gun nuts only quote the second half of the 2nd amendment.

    • Another Mike

      In Anna and the King of Siam, the author writes of her “well-regulated” small boy. Well-regulated is an idiom meaning to function per expectation.

    • thucy

      Bob, that’s a good point. But it seems the focus on “regulation” is focused largely on the low end of society. I wish Feinstein were as interested in regulating the banking sector… then our back-country cousins wouldn’t be so dependent on guns to keep hunting deer for their supper plates and to protect their property from meth lab scientists. (See: “Breaking Bad”.) Then again, I have some fond pre-vegetarian memories of marinated grilled venison, which accounts for some bias.

      • Bob Fry

        Well, sure. But hopefully that’s another Forum topic. Right now we have an Eisenhower-Republican President and a reactionary House so not much hope there.

        • thucy

          Beg to differ on the comparison – comparing Obama to Ike is unrealistic – look at the tax rates under Ike – 90 freaking percent on the top earners. Ike was far to the left of Obama, and seriously, a far, far better man. And better President.

    • Chemist150

      Our founding fathers came from an oppressive government and one of the
      major points of the second amendment was to guarantee the right of the
      citizens to dispose of the government with any means necessary if the
      government continued breaking the contract with the people. Anyone who
      thinks it was for hunting or protecting property need to take some time
      and read some history. Simply looking at Madison’s thoughts on the
      issue clears things up. It was about the federal government becoming
      too large and usurping states rights and that is reflected in Madison’s
      thought that the federal government would never be able to muster a
      military to overcome local militias perhaps because that’s how the
      British were put down.

    • Slappy

      “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the PEOPLE to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

      The people comprise the militia. The PEOPLE have the right to keep and bear arms, in order to comprise such a militia. Currently, there is no need to regulate a militia. However, the time may come. When that time comes, the PEOPLE will comprise it. QED.

  • Another Mike

    America could cut the death toll with better mental health care: Two-thirds of gun deaths are suicides.

  • Mark

    I am very surprised at the biased nature of this particular program. There were many statistics floated on the show that have been proven to be flawed and not representative of citizens. It was clearly tilted towards the gun control advocates. There was no representation by the gun rights side. There was zero discussion on the flaws of S649 (perhaps it did not deserve senate approval). There was zero discussion on how they could have written to get passed. For example, Michael Krasny positioned S649 as background checks on gun purchases. Unfortunately, the bill was not targeting “purchases” but rather gun *transfers*. This change in terminology broadens the scope significantly. “Transfers” turns it into law that police and prosecutors can use in a highly subjective nature and will only be clarified through years of prosecution, litigation and case law creation. Had it been a bill that focused on gun purchases (private or via dealer), then there a much more likely chance it would have passed.

    • Beth Grant DeRoos

      I would also like to know how many of those demanding more gun control are fearful of guns, have ever handled a gun since it seems most I have heard speak about gun control are not actually firearm owners.

      And for me personally knowing GWBush gave us an even bigger big brother society per Homeland Security etc makes me even for concerned about the bad government does.

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    Senators Boxer and Feinstein are like Mayor Bloomberg of NYC, wealthy people who have 24/7 security paid by the taxpayers. And I doubt any of them have ever fired a firearm.

    • utera

      Its notable where the bankers live, they disarm the citizens with the most stringent gun laws.

  • utera

    Good, the reasoning behind this legislation was flawed from the get go. This was just a shameful exploitation of the deaths of children to push a preexisting agenda against guns.

    Newtown would not have been stopped by any checks, the mother was the buyer.

    In any case the nra and those who voted against this are actually quite rational. They trust the left on guns as much as the left trusts the right on abortion. When the right claims to have legitimate reasons to restrict abortion in any way the left knows damned well its just chipping away at the rights they want to preserve, and so they fight tooth and nail, the same way the right does on guns. Its entirely rational behavior, so the left needs to stop pretending the other side is just behaving unexplainably crazy.

    Anyways the other issue is that this is a massive overreaction based on the death of mostly a few white children out of 300 million people in america. I’m sure as many have stated already, most gun crime doesn’t affect young middle class white children, the problem lies else where and with different classes of people no one wants to talk about. The hard issues of crime and drugs/gangs in poor urban areas of america just go unaddressed, all this nonsense over guns is just a distraction. Especially the stuff about assault rifles, most crimes involve use of hand guns.

    Real problems that affect most americans are things like healthcare, or the fact that we incarcerate a ridiculous proportion of our population, a ridiculous proportion of americans are on food assistance even. There are countless real problems we have to deal with, but somehow this deserves all our attention, because it involved the deaths of middle class white children.

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