Let’s return to that second. It was the spring of 2013. The murders in Sandy Hook had appeared to provoke the nation — and Congress — to discover a option to tackle the rising downside of mass violence dedicated with weapons. Led by President Barack Obama and with 54 Senate seats managed by Democrats, it appeared possible that Congress would cross the primary main piece of gun management laws because the assault weapons ban means again in 1994.
After which all of it got here crashing down in a single day.
The maths appeared easy. Democrats wanted all 54 of their senators plus six Republicans to keep away from a filibuster of the gun laws which, amongst different issues, would have expanded background checks on gun purchases, banned sure forms of assault rifles and restricted ammunition magazines. For the entire discuss — and the entire conferences the dad and mom of the kids killed at Sandy Hook held with wavering senators — it quickly grew to become obvious when the Senate started voting that the political will merely wasn’t there to cross any of Obama’s gun management proposals.
Essentially the most telling vote got here on an modification — supplied by Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey and Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin — that will have mandated expanded background checks and was seen because the piece of the Obama legislative providing on weapons that had one of the best probability to succeed.
All instructed, eight senators crossed get together strains in that background checks vote, with 4 Republican senators voting for it and 4 Democratic senators voting towards it. Right here they’re:
* Republican “ayes”: John McCain (Arizona), Mark Kirk (Illinois), Susan Collins (Maine) and Toomey (Pennsylvania)
* Democratic “nos”: Max Baucus (Montana), Mark Begich (Alaska), Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota) and Mark Pryor (Arkansas)
Of these eight, solely two are at present senators: Collins and Toomey. McCain handed away in 2018. Kirk misplaced his reelection bid to Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth in 2016. And all 4 Democrats both retired (Baucus) or misplaced their seats to Republicans.
By any goal measure then, the present Senate — the place Republicans maintain 53 seats — is much less pleasant to new gun management laws than the Senate of April 2013. And that 2013 Senate by no means even received even one a part of the gun management legislative bundle handed the cloture stage. There was by no means a ultimate up-or-down flooring vote on any a part of the bundle. None. And that was with a Democratic president pushing the laws to a Democratic-controlled Senate.
The easy actuality on the opportunity of passing any kind of mildly main gun management measure — like, say, expanded background checks — is effectively lower than 50% in the meanwhile. What might change that dynamic? A high-profile — and, extra importantly, sustained — effort by Trump and his White Home to persuade and cajole unsure GOP senators to be for background examine laws. And there is little in Trump’s previous pronouncements on weapons to imagine that he’s both prepared or able to that kind of effort.
At this level, it appears unlikely a serious piece of gun management laws will even advance so far as it did in 2013. And that wasn’t very far.