According to the Valley News, Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell is waving the white flag on legislation that would expand background checks for gun purchases. Campbell is the chief sponsor of the gun bill; he promises to continue fighting for two other provisions: one would create a state crime for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, the other would restrict access to guns for those declared mentally ill by a court.
The background check provision had been the chief battleground — although now that it’s seemingly off the table, the Orange Vest Brigade is stepping up its attacks on the other two items.
The news is unsurprising because (a) Senate Judiciary Committee panjandrum Dick Sears said earlier this week that the background-check provision would not pass his committee, and (b) I don’t believe Campbell ever intended the bill to pass.
Call me cynical, but I’ve seen too much of John Campbell to believe he was ever serious about background checks. He’s never been visibly pro-gun regulation, he never stakes out politically risky positions, and he rarely takes the lead role on any legislation.
I’d go so far as to speculate that he made himself lead sponsor so he could pull the bill when it became politically expedient.
In vowing to fight on for the rest of the bill, Campbell portrayed himself as a Profile In Courage:
“I’ve been told that my political career’s over because of this, and I’m more than happy to deal with that, but that’s how important it is.”
Good God, what a blowhard. His political career will survive this just fine. For one thing, he represents a completely safe Democratic district; he’ll be a Senator as long as he wants to be. For another, the two remaining provisions simply aren’t that big a deal. Nobody’s going to do an over-the-top charge into No Man’s Land for those two items.
He’s talking tough right now, but I suspect that Campbell has another white flag in his back pocket, ready to wave at the proper time.