As frustration, disappointment, and raw grief over yet another mass shooting continue to pervade the country, Democratic members of Congress are literally taking a stand to get stricter gun control laws passed. What bill are the Democrats filibustering right now? It isn't directly related to gun control, but, frankly, that doesn't matter.
According to Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin's website, at 10:30 am E.T. a voice vote was expected on whether to proceed to considering the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, otherwise known as House Resolution (H.R. for short) 2578.
The official website of Congress states that the bill Senate Democrats are filibustering "funds agencies with a wide range of responsibilities," and "wide range" may be an understatement. This is as diverse an appropriations resolution as it comes — "addressing violent crime, drug trafficking, financial fraud, terrorism, espionage, and cybercrime; conducting the census; forecasting the weather; managing fisheries; exploring space; advancing science; providing legal services for the poor; enforcing employment discrimination laws; and overseeing patents, trademarks, and trade policy." The bill has ramifications that will either directly or indirectly affect nearly every single American's life.
Which should speak to how pressing of an issue gun control is for our country. By filibustering this appropriations bill, Senate Democrats are taking a stand and showing the country, and the world, that this isn't something that can keep getting swept under the rug any longer.
Sen. Chris Murphy, the junior senator from Connecticut, has been leading the charge. He has added his own amendment to the bill, one that would expressly forbid anyone on the no-fly list from purchasing or owning a firearm, and institute universal background checks at before any firearm purchase. Murphy's home state is still reeling from the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting where 20 people — the majority of them primary schoolchildren — lost their lives.
Now, even though the scope of H.R. 2578 is pretty large, it includes specific increases in funding for federal law enforcement agencies like the F.B.I., D.E.A., and the U.S. Marshals Service. Since there is obviously a willingness to fund law enforcement activities, it shouldn't be outside the pale appropriate a bit more funding to make sure that individuals who are on the no-fly list aren't able to purchase weapons.
Universal background checks are a necessary update to the social contract in America. Our families, friends, neighbors, and communities deserve to live in peace, without fearing for their lives at school, the movies, or at the club.