U.S. House finally moves on guns, and voters need to remember

February 28, 2019
In The News

Amid the news of Chicago’s mayoral vote and Michael Cohen’s testimony, what the U.S. House did this week deserves to be noted, if only for the political courage it displayed—and I don’t use that phrase lightly.

The House approved the first major piece of gun-control legislation that has advanced in Washington since what seems like the dawn of time.

With every Democratic House member from Illinois voting in favor and every Republican voting against, it sent the Senate a common-sense measure to require that all gun buyers clear a background check, instead of exempting those who make their purchases online or at a gun show. (Here's the roll call.)

The bill passed despite intense opposition from the National Rifle Association and the rest of the “my rights” crowd, and you can guarantee they’ll remember it next election.

Now, folks over in the GOP-dominated Senate say they’re not interested in the House bill. And pro-gun groups are, as usual, peddling the line that if this bill passes, the feds will kick down your door to grab your guns and the bad guys will slaughter your family.Well, guess what, moderate and progressive voters?  You need to remember, too, and maybe make a call or write a check now. Those on the right always have dominated the gun debate because, while there are fewer of them, they are more passionate. Those on the political left need to do exactly the same thing.

But how many shootings have we seen in this country caused by people who clearly should not have had guns? Why should they be able to go online and order the personal arsenal of their choice?

A different side came from newly elected west suburban U.S. Rep. Sean Casten. He’s the guy who defeated Peter Roskam—father of that new law limiting your income tax deduction for state and local taxes—and Roskam almost certainly would have voted against this gun bill.

In a floor speech, Casten pointed to the Feb. 15 Aurora shooting in which five people were killed by a man who legally should not have possessed a fire arm. Passing this bill would not necessarily have stopped this shooting, but Casten noted: “If 100 million guns were taken off the street tomorrow, we still would have more guns than any other country. We need to do more.”

Amen. And this is a start.

So, nice work Casten and his Illinois Democratic colleagues: Reps. Cheri Bustos, Danny Davis, Bill Foster, Robin Kelly, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Dan Lipinski, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, Mike Quigley, Bobby Rush, Jan Schakowsky, Brad Schneider and Lauren Underwood.  And tsk-tsk Republicans Mike Bost, Rodney Davis, Adam Kinzinger, Darin LaHood and John Shimkus. This voter will remember