On Thursday, December 3, the U.S. Senate took up H.R. 3762, the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act. Despite the seemingly innocuous title, the bill set up a dramatic showdown over Second Amendment rights.
The bill was brought under budget reconciliation, an expedited legislative procedure for a budget resolution to meet fiscal targets. Under this procedure, the bill required only 51 votes to pass the Senate and was limited to 20 hours of debate. It was also subject to a rule which prohibits non-budget related provisions from being added.
Anti-gun Democrats were nevertheless determined to exploit both the bill and recent tragedies to attach as many gun control amendments as possible. To proceed to debate on these out-of-order amendments, however, they had to reach a supermajority of 60 votes to suspend the rules. The pro-gun Senate you elected held the line. Every anti-gun amendment was defeated.
Long-time Second Amendment opponent Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) offered a far-reaching amendment that would have given the U.S. Attorney General what amounted to a discretionary veto on gun sales to anyone “appropriately suspected” of having some connection to “terrorism.” Anti-gun bureaucrats would have been empowered to deny Second Amendment rights based merely on their own “reasonable belief” concerning someone’s present or future intentions.
Gun control advocates have made clear, however, that they don’t trust anybody with a gun, and they have slandered pro-Second Amendment Americans as dangerous “rightwing extremists” and worse. Equally clear is that many supporters of this amendment have no stomach for effective measures to keep America safe from terrorists, chief among them ensuring that foreign nationals involved in or supportive of terrorist groups are kept out of America in the first place. Feinstein’s Amendment failed by a vote of 45-54.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) also dredged up his ill-fated ban on private firearm transfers between friends and many family members. That was defeated by a vote of 47-50 – receiving seven votes less than it got two years ago. Manchin’s background check bill has been a rallying cry for anti-gun activists since its historic defeat in 2013. Fortunately, that cry once again fell on deaf ears as reason prevailed over hyperbole and opportunism.
In the days leading to the vote, gun prohibitionists and their allies in the media had whipped themselves up to a veritable frenzy. The pressure they brought to bear on the Senate was intense. Nevertheless, cooler heads prevailed, backed by sound research and empirical evidence.
No doubt the defeated anti-gunners will be venting their displeasure over yet another round of clear defeats. Please make sure to let your Senators know in the days ahead how you felt about their votes. In particular, those who stood on the side of freedom deserve to hear a hearty thanks and well-done!