On the surface, it would seem the Old Mackie is back in town, questioning the young guns in his party on their proposed filibuster of the Senate bill to bolster background checks and other measures that would allow state and federal law enforcement agencies to have a better record of the gun trafficking in this country. As it is, you can buy handguns at gun shows and avoid the five-day waiting period mandated by the Brady Bill. There are any number of other ways to avoid registration of guns. Yet, Rand Paul has threatened to launch another filibuster, and has the support of 12 fellow Republican senators, leading Sen. McCain to ask, "what are they afraid of?"
The intent of the bill has the backing of 90% of the American public, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, including 74% of NRA members. McCain was part of a bipartisan Senate committee that forged the bill, after Dianne Feinstein's attempt to introduce a new federal assault weapon ban ground to a halt. The new Senate bill would have no ban, not even on high capacity clips like those used in the Newtown massacre, which Connecticut has banned. It is about as innocuous a gun bill as a gun advocate could ask for, while still offering some substance.
For years police have been asking for better background checks and registration that would allow them to track down firearms used in the over 8500 homicides recorded by the FBI in 2011. Handguns are the weapon of choice, resulting in over 6200 deaths. Assault rifles are the prime weapons used in multiple shootings.
But, the bill does not really address the nearly 1000 accidental shooting deaths each year, including this recent one in Tennessee. It also doesn't address the 19,000 suicides carried out each year with firearms, including this recent one where a military recruiting officer apparently chose to end his affair with a 17 year old recruit.
It seems incidents like these have little or no impact on Sen. Rand Paul, who not so long ago went on for 13 long hours on how drones were killing innocent persons all over the world, and could be used on American soil. Instead, he looks to bathe in the political limelight again, along with fellow young guns Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, who want to join him in his filibuster, no doubt because of all the attention Paul got last time around. I'm glad to see Mackie call them out.