At the eleventh hour, as the Senate prepares to vote on the expanded background check proposal drafted by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA), the high-profile pro-gun organization that endorsed the amendment, just days ago, has had a change of heart.
The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, the sister organization of the much heralded and well-respected Second Amendment Foundation, has pulled its support from the controversial Manchin-Toomey measure citing a failure of the Senate to consider a key provision for the restoration of firearms rights.
In a press release sent out on Wednesday at about 2 p.m. eastern, an exasperated Alan Gottlieb, the Chairman of CCRKBA, explains the impetus behind the last minute decision to withdraw support.
“Our support for this measure was contingent on several key provisions, the cornerstone of which was a rights restoration provision that is not on the schedule for consideration,” Gottlieb said.
“But it appears the Democratic leadership in the Senate was opposed to letting this important consideration come up for a vote,” he continued. “We told everyone including a number of senators, that while there are many pro-gun rights provisions added to the main body of the bill, our support was contingent on this additional amendment coming to the floor. When we say something, we mean it.”
(A video from this past weekend, Gottlieb endorsing the M-T amendment)
The specific provision pertains to an amendment that would provide funding for rights restoration investigations by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. As explained by CCRKBA, former Congressman and current Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) strong-armed legislation a few decades ago that cut funding for rights restoration.
In short, under today’s status quo, if the ATF revokes one’s Second Amendment rights even for a dubious or trivial reason, it’s very difficult to get them back.
Gottlieb was clear that Manchin and Toomey, both self-described gun owners with ‘A’ ratings from the National Rifle Association, were not at fault.
“Sens. Manchin and Toomey are not to blame for this,” Gottlieb stated, “as they have been negotiating in good faith throughout this process. But Schumer and other anti-gun Democrats are continuing their campaign of demagoguery in order to permanently disqualify as many Americans as possible from being able to exercise their fundamental rights under the Second Amendment.”
“We cannot, in clear conscience, continue to support a measure that will not include this critical relief component,” Gottlieb concluded. “If Democrats like Schumer thought we could be flim flammed on this, they were wrong.”
However, some will ultimately question the timing of CCRKBA’s decision to back out. Earlier today, Manchin essentially admitted defeat, telling an NBC reporter, “We will not get the votes today.”
Though later on, he did appear more optimistic on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, when he broke down the numbers.
“We have over 90 percent of the Senate Democrats that will vote affirmative,” Manchin said. “If we just had 20 percent of our Republican colleagues — that’s not a heavy ask, it’s not a heavy lift, only 20 percent, that’s nine members, nine members — this thing would be home.”
Nevertheless, and barring a miracle, the Manchin-Toomey amendment appears to be dead in the water, but we will see.
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