Democrats in ‘Lose-Lose Situation’ on Background Checks Bill

Monday, 01 Apr 2013 02:41 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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The chances of getting a background checks law passed are receding fast, and that comes with mixed blessings for Democratic senators facing re-election in 2016.

Despite overwhelming support for a measure requiring all gun sales to be subject to such checks, powerful gun groups such as the National Rifle Association would be bound to make life difficult for any senator who supports it.

But at the same time, liberals are expected to direct their anger at Democrats who oppose introducing a background check law, Talking Points Memo reports.

“Politically, Democratic leaders are in a lose-lose predicament. If they somehow squeeze background checks through the Senate (it’ll still have to pass the House), their vulnerable members will face the wrath of the NRA,” says TPM, a leading digital political news organization. “If the legislation fails, leaders will anger and demoralize their liberal base, which is demanding meaningful action on guns.”

One possible fence-straddling move for the Democrats is to water down the bill to make it acceptable to the NRA or make concessions elsewhere, says Talking Points.

Top Democrats have hinted that’s the way they are headed.

“I’m working very hard with both Democrats and Republicans, pro-NRA and anti-NRA people, to come up with a background check that will be acceptable to 60 senators and be very strong and get the job done,’’ New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.’’

“It’s very hard and we’re working hard and I’m very hopeful that we can get this passed.”

But Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona told NBC the idea of mandatory background checks for gun purchases is “a bridge too far,” and his colleague, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, told CNN the legislation is “going nowhere.’’

Democrats need some GOP support to defeat a threatened filibuster which would derail the legislation.

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