Friday, June 28, 2019

The "We Love Our Children Less Than We Love Illegal Immigrants" Caucus

In his defense, it's difficult keeping track of things when you're on both the Judiciary and Intelligence committees of the House of Representatives in an age in which the President is trampling on the law, the constitution, and the country. If you're also running for President, it's even easier to forget and it gives you an incentive not to remember. Moreover, his priorities may be all to prevalent among other Democrats

In Thursday night's debate in Miami, Representative Eric Swalwell maintained that he is running for President because he is part of the younger generation, the one which will "end climate chaos," "solve the student loan debt" (sic), and "end gun violence.

Earlier, he had stated that if there would be only one thing he'd get passed early in his presidency, it would be "ending gun violence." When the issue of gun safety was raised, Swallwell was asked how his plan for a national, mandatory firearm buyback would work in pro-gun  states and he responded

Keep your pistols, keep your rifles, keep your shotguns but we can take the most dangerous weapons from the most dangerous people. We have the NRA on the ropes because of the Moms because the Brady Group, because of Giffords, because of March for Our Lives. But I’m the only candidate on this stage calling for a ban and buyback of every single assault weapon in America. I’ve seen the plans of the other candidates here. They would all leave 15 million assault in our communities. They wouldn’t do a single thing to save a single life in Parkland. I will approach this issue as a prosecutor. I will approach it as the only person on this stage who has voted and passed background checks–but also as a parent of a generation who sends our children to school where we look at what they’re wearing so we can remember it in case we have to identify them later. A generation who has seen thousands of black children killed in our streets and a generation who goes to the theater and we actually where the fire exits are. We don’t have to live this way. We must be a country who loves our children more than we love our guns.

If Swalwell's plan is more than talk, it would require less-than-friendly, and probably violent, visits to many homes by law enforcement personnel. However, the congressman's apparent emphasis on gun safety legislation is admirable.

Apparent- but not real.  In February the House of Representatives passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, which would have would have "required background checks in private sales, including gun shows and online transactions. by a vote of 220 to 209.The bill would ensure that all sales (with a few exceptions) are run through the national criminal background check system. Having passed the House with 232 votes from Democrats but only 8 from Republicans, it was dead on arrival in the Senate.

The bill included an amendment (since reintroduced in the House by a Virginia Republican but stalled in committee) to require that law enforcement be notified "when an individual attempting to purchase a firearm fails a federal background check," which notably would have included illegal immigrants. After first being rejected, the amendment passed the House with 194 Republican votes (one against) but with only 26 Democratic Representatives in favor and 208 opposed. 

On Wednesday night, the only other US Representative queried on gun safety was Ohio's Tim Ryan, who contended "I support all the gun reforms here."

Swalwell spoke passionately about the need to end gun violence. If, however, he had been as passionate in February, he would have voted in favor of the amendment which would have helped block individuals in the country illegally from getting a gun or a rifle. He was, however, among the 208 who voted against it (along with Ryan, Gabbard, and Castro; Delaney not voting).

It seems fairly simple. Some people have no right to a firearm, and that includes people who have violated the nation's immigration laws.

Yet, some Democrats don't agree. Swalwell is probably not alone, though we can only speculate how United States senators would have voted had the bill been acted on in that chamber. Nor do we know how committed Swalwell, Ryan, or any of the other 23 Democrats would be committed to gun safety legislation if elected President.  However, if I were offered a bet by someone who believed that the next Democratic president would support gun legislation which might inconvenience an illegal immigrant, I'd jump on it.

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