Tag Archives: background check bill

Here’s a completely unsurprising bit of news

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.

Shocker: Gun bill “hits snag”

As VPR’s Peter Hirschfeld reports, the bill that would expand background checks for gun sales “has hit a major snag.”

The snag’s name is Judiciary Committee chair Dick Sears, a.k.a. The Human Snag.

“I don’t believe that the background check portion of the bill has the votes in this committee to pass out of this committee,” Sears said Tuesday.

That’s a nicely passive-aggressive way of putting it. Sears is opposed to the background check portion, and nothing gets through his committee without his consent. I dare say if Sears was the only member of the committee opposed, it still wouldn’t get through.

Hirschfeld notes that it’s still “theoretically” possible that the provision could be passed through some other committee (I’d suggest Agriculture, just for sh*ts and giggles). But the Senate is notoriously deferential to its senior members, and nobody demands more deference than good old Dick.

No surprise anyway. The background check debate was a shadow play from the start. The bill had no chance, given the loud and well-organized opposition of the gun-rights community. Like the Allied soldiers at Gallipoli, it wasn’t a question of whether this bill would die on the beach. The question was, which beach would it die on.

Background check bill, welcome to Sears Beach.