A few weeks ago, Senator Dean Heller, the Republican from my state (Nevada), voted to bring gun control up for debate. This isn’t generally what Republicans do, so for about 10 seconds I fell into the trap of believing he might actually be a decent guy.
Clearly this is why it was so easy to sell me that timeshare in Mexico.
Shame on me for believing he might do his job and take the views of his constituency to Washington. Or be a stand-up guy and vote his conscience. Or at the very least have the brain capacity to remember what he said two months ago on CNN and follow through with it.
But not so much.
If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard, the Senate was attempting to pass legislation that would strengthen background checks for all public sales of gun purchases so that people couldn’t just cruise into a gun show or jump on-line and end up with, well, anything they wanted. Remarkably, most Americans already thought this was the law. Why wouldn’t they — I mean, what idiots would let any mentally-ill whack-job with a criminal record just walk into the Reno Convention Center, lay down a hundred bucks, and walk out with a gun? Stop talking crazy….
Um, yeah. That would be our idiots.
So anyway, in an effort to pass something that everyone already thought existed, a couple of senators (Joe Manchin-R and Pat Toomey-D) felt the need to stick in an amendment that exempted private sales between friends and acquaintances. So if Billy Bob wanted to pass down his favorite rifle to Billy Bob Junior, no check would be required. And if Billy Bob Junior wanted to sell his gun to the guy he barely knew at the Chick-fil-A who could be crazy or a criminal, that would be okay, too. Because Billy Bob Junior had looked into his eyes and, well, met his acquaintance.
With close to 90 percent of Americans in favor of expanding background checks, one would think it would be easy to pass this watered-down version of what everybody already wanted in the first place.
Unfortunately, there’s a little lobbying group called the NRA that has at least 180,000 members at the ready to freak out and start calling, emailing, and tweeting our representatives the moment Wayne LaPierre puts any combination of “Socialist, Obama, government, taking, and guns,” together in one sentence. Wayne’s also lucky because disseminating tweaked-out facts with reckless abandon doesn’t cause him any insomnia. At least that’s what I assume, otherwise the guy would be doing crazy sleep deprivation stuff like flying into rages and having paranoid delusions about everyone needing to arm themselves or something…
Anyway, thanks to the Wayne machine, I would like to say that Dean Heller was just being a good representative of the people by voting the way the majority of those who contacted him wanted him to vote. But we all know that’s not true. We all know that he knows that the vote he cast last week was cowardly. And flip-floppy. And worst of all, bought with blood money.
Truth-be-told, I should probably give Dean a break. He said the background checks would lead to “additional burdens” like “onerous paperwork” for us law-abiding citizens. So I’m sure he was just trying to look out for our health and well-being because filling out all of that stuff for could lead to hand-cramping. After all, anyone who’s signed up their kid for school, tried to get medical insurance, or just visited the doctor knows that the modern world doesn’t have any onerous paperwork in it at all.
He was also apparently afraid the new laws could lead to the creation of a national registry. Which would be really bad because then you could do stuff like track a gun across state lines. Eek.
So really, we should all be thanking Dean. Calling him up daily, in fact, to let him know how “happy” we are about all of this — calling, writing, emailing, tweeting, texting, and stopping to talk to him in the salon while he’s getting his highlights. Yes, let’s all let him know as much as we possibly can.
The thing is, there are at least one out of ten people who — no matter what kind of logical arguments you make — will never, ever change their minds about gun control (see below). And they’ll call Dean every. Single. Time. Now it’s time for the rest of us to go equally street-rat crazy and start doing the same.