Thursday, April 18, 2013

Putting the Pro-Gun Vote into Perspective

If you want a perspective on the Senate gun background check vote yesterday, won by the "no" faction by a vote of 46 against, 54 in favor (55 if you count Harry Reid's procedural vote against), consider the following, the winning percentage in the past seven presidential elections:

George H.W. Bush, 1988, 53.37
Bill Clinton, 1992, 43.01
Bill Clinton, 1996, 49.23
2000-George Bush, 47.87
2004-George Bush, 50.73
2008-Barack Obama, 51.6
2008-Barack Obama, 52.87

None of those occupants of the Oval office (and I refuse to Call George W. Bush a president, since he didn't win in 2000 and rigged the election in 2004 with two wars) won 54 percent of the vote.

Just four elections in our history have seen the winner with 60 percent of the vote (according to Wikipedia, here), the percentage the Senate requires for most actions. Just 12 more won by 54 percent or more. We have had 57 presidential elections since the first one in 1789. The 60 votes are necessary in order to shut down a threatened filibuster, which the opposing side doesn't even have to execute. 

It is long past time for the Senate to modify its arcane and outdated rules, especially when you consider that 90 percent of the American public favors some kind of background check (the figure most often cited) and 46 percent of the Senators oppose those checks, half the percentage of those they represent.

Our three congressman from this region--Bob Goodlatte, Morgan Griffith and Robert Hurt--are on record as opposing any kind of controls on guns, ammunition or those who sell and buy them. They need to be voted out of office in the next cycle (for this and myriad other far right wing stances). Our two conservative senators--Warner and Kaine--had the good sense to favor background checks, though neither goes far enough in wanting guns controlled.

(Photo: washingtonpost.com)

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