Sunday, August 04, 2013

Bad Day For The Gun Nuts


It was very close-- and dramatic, with at least one senator, Lisa Murkowski, changing her vote at the last second, and another, Heidi Heitkamp, flying in from a North Dakota sickbed while Harry Reid held the vote open-- but the Senate shut down the Republican/NRA filibuster of Todd Jones to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). The GOP and NRA have managed to prevent the appointment of a director for 7 years! "For the past seven years," wrote Gabby Giffords to her followers on Friday, "the gun lobby has cowed Congress into blocking nomination after nomination to the post-- all part of their decades long effort to systematically erode law enforcement's ability to keep our communities safe from gun violence."

ATF has a broad mandate to combat illegal firearms and investigate arson. The Republicans have guaranteed no one would be confirmed, even while Bush was president! Jones, a former US Marine with law enforcement experience as a U.S. Attorney for Minnesota has been Acting Director.

Although Mark Kirk (R-IL) was the only Republican to vote to confirm him, Susan Collins (R-ME), twisted Lisa Murkowski's arm to change her vote on the filibuster and allow an up or down vote. Jones was confirmed 53-42 but it was the cloture vote to shut down the obstructionists' filibuster that mattered most. And for that Kirk, Collins and Murkowski were joined by 3 other Republicans who have decided to stop routinely supporting the extremists' obstructionist filibusters-- Kelly Ayotte (NH), John McCain (AZ) and Lindsey Graham (SC). Cloture passed by the narrowest possible margin, 60-40, leaving radicals and gun-loons like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Mike Lee, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, Chuck Grassley and Miss McConnell fuming and sputtering in frustration.

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