It is good that the Senate agreed to debate the gun bill. As Chris Hayes noted, it’s amazing that the Senate agreed to do anything.
But now that the bill is up for debate, what are the chances that it will pass without being amended to the point that it is meaningless? The assault weapons ban is already doomed, having been stripped out in committee and now being brought back as an amendment — and therefore just as easily stripped out as before. The universal background check is anything but now that private sales are off the table. The large capacity magazine limit never made it into the bill, period.
If the Senate passes it, then it goes to the House, and that is where bills like this go to die. The parents of Sandy Hook did a good job of lobbying the Senate, but there are only 100 members. The House has 435, many of whom serve at the pleasure of the NRA. Whatever comes out of the Senate will not survive unless it is so diluted as to be less than meaningless. It will be a sham and an mockery to both the people who died from gun violence and the people who stood up for them. And in spite of the fact that 90% of Americans think we need all of the proposals in the original bill, the NRA and the barrel-strokers will have won, because no one ever lost an election by exploiting the greed, fear, and paranoia of their base.
But that doesn’t mean we give up. We have to keep trying. The worst part is that when we thought we’d reached the tipping point at Newtown, it still isn’t enough to turn the tide. I shudder to think what will.