Robert Bennett: U.S. gun control should not be a high priority right now

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  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    April 24, 2013 7:02 a.m.

    It wasn't the public that lost interest. At the time the bills were voted down public polls were reporting as high as a 90% favorability in favor of some improved gun control legislation . the problem isn't public apathy, it's political cowardice and unthinking ideology.

  • middle class Cedar City, 00
    April 23, 2013 4:34 p.m.

    Hmmm. Mr. Bennett, when would be a good time to put gun controls in place? Just maybe we could save some innocent victims.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    April 23, 2013 4:06 p.m.

    Dear Craig Clark,

    You are correct. But, it has been a right that has been honored and considered "sacred" for many years. Senators take Senate courtesy very seriously and are, in fact, very reluctant to call cloture votes because they respect a senator's right to keep the floor and "filibuster." They are very loathe to change those rules. When the Democrats were in minority, they were all for it. Now, it has become very inconvenient so they don't like it much. When the Republicans were controlling, they weren't very happy about it either. That's the way it goes. But, individual senators, on the whole, are very reluctant to give this right up and I doubt they will choose to do it.

    My post was to set another poster straight who claimed I didnt know anything about the legislative process. In fact, it was my profession for a long time and I have a pretty good idea of how it works. Sometimes parliamentary rules can be a real pain, but that's how it works in a republic and we have to live with it.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    April 23, 2013 3:28 p.m.


    The filibuster (a super majority is necessary to move a bill forward) IS the normal rule for the Senate. Nothing has changed in that regard. It has nothing to do with the current politics. Also, the bill would have had to passed the House - a much tougher run for any gun control legislation.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    April 23, 2013 12:45 p.m.


    ".....The right to filibuster, or unlimited debate, has been somewhat of a sacred right in the Senate for many, many years....."

    It's more expedient than sacred. The filibuster has always been controversial because it allows a minority to obstruct the will of the majority. Both sides use it and want it in place for those times when they are the minority which is why it's not likely to be tossed anytime soon.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    April 23, 2013 12:02 p.m.

    Dear Wasteintime:

    I'm sure you won't read this, but I actually have spent many years of my life on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. I know the legislative process very well since it was my profession for a long time. I venture to guess I have much more experience and understanding of legislation than you do.

    The bill didn't pass based on the rules of the Senate that have existed for many years. That's how legislation is conducted--based on the parliamentary rules that have been agreed upon by the legislative body. The same rules existed when the Republicans were in majority. The right to filibuster, or unlimited debate, has been somewhat of a sacred right in the Senate for many, many years. It's just that it's an inconvenience right now for the majority Democrats.

  • Don Bugg Prince Frederick, MD
    April 23, 2013 11:23 a.m.

    Mike Richards, it is common knowledge that the reason Reid "shelved" the bill was to preserve his opportunity to bring it up again later. Are you even TRYING to make sense?

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    April 23, 2013 8:01 a.m.

    If you have an issue with the vote, talk to Harry Reid. He "shelved" the bill. By the way, he's a Democrat. He didn't want the process to proceed.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    April 22, 2013 10:15 p.m.

    Just like the Electoral College, the Senate skews toward the lightly populated states. The fewer people who live there, the more relative influence each resident has. And in the case of an issue with a clear, urban-rural divide like gun control, the numbers are stacked against the wishes of city and suburb dwellers, even before factoring in Senate rules that allow a single member to gum up the works.

    Of the 45 real no votes Wednesday, 35 came from states that benefit from their over-representation in the Senate.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    April 22, 2013 10:13 p.m.

    "A national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted April 4-7 among 1,003 adults, finds 37% say they are following the debate over gun control very closely. That compares with just 23% who say they are very closely following news about debate over immigration policy.

    In recent weeks, no story has received more public attention than the debate over gun control. Other closely followed stories since mid-March have been news about the economy (30% very closely), news about automatic federal spending cuts (24%) and discussions about how to address the federal budget deficit and national debt (also 24%)."
    (Pew Research Center April 2013)

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    April 22, 2013 9:15 p.m.


    You are absolutely correct.

    Laws do not prevent behavior.

    Let's abolish all laws.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    April 22, 2013 8:45 p.m.

    Cats, this was NOT a vote on the bill. It was a vote that stopped any DISCUSSION of the bill.

    In other words, it was a vote that said, "We don't wanna talk about it, so THERE!"

    Sheeesh -- I have a four year old granddaughter who says things like that.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    April 22, 2013 8:42 p.m.

    Flashback, that argument is pitifully pitiful. THINK about what you are saying. Yes, many parents fail to obey the laws about safety seats and safety belts. But does that mean we simply stop trying?

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    April 22, 2013 6:16 p.m.

    Unless an assault rifle is aimed at you...

  • Wastintime Los Angeles, CA
    April 22, 2013 5:53 p.m.

    @ Cats

    If you are going to comment on this board, perhaps you should learn something about the legislative process. The amendment was filibustered by the GOP minority. It had majority support and would've passed on an up-and-down vote but did not have enough votes to overcome the Republican filibuster.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 22, 2013 5:51 p.m.

    To agree on a vague general concept (background checks) is NOT the same as agreeing that one of many possible specific laws to impose that concept is liked by anywhere near that number of people.

    Manchin-Toomey provided the foundation for a gun registration scheme, and that is why so many people opposed it. The Cruz-Grassley alternative was much better, but lacking the registration groundwork, of course the liberals would not adopt it.

    90% of people would agree we should all be healthy. Not so many would be in favor of forced exercise programs, and mandatory food choices and portion sizes, and government "fat cops" to enforce the new laws. Same with "gun safety" except there is the added factor of gun rights being a Constitutionally protected right.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    April 22, 2013 5:42 p.m.


    54 Senators voted IN FAVOR of expanding background checks while 46 voted against.

    If Congress were acting under "normal" rules, not having to meet the 60 vote threshold required by Republicans, it would be law today.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    April 22, 2013 4:31 p.m.

    Dear Truthseeker: No legislative process was shut down. The bill just didn't pass.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    April 22, 2013 4:27 p.m.

    Man, there's a lot of crybabying on here.

    These elected officals know where their constituents are. If their constituents had wanted the legislation, it would have passed. Polls show that and so did the vote in the Senate. Most Americans clearly didn't want the legislation and don't find it "important" enough to support.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    April 22, 2013 3:55 p.m.

    "Just not an important issue"

    And yet, this topic generates a significant number of comments on Deseret News day after day.

    Obviously it is an important topic--among many other issues our Congress can't move forward with Senate Republicans essentially shutting down the legislative process.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    April 22, 2013 1:44 p.m.

    @ Flashback

    "Obviously One Old Man doesn't care about cars and the number of children killed annually that are not placed in child safety seats and the 100's of Thousands of lives shattered by fatal car wrecks each year with children involved."

    Your comment makes no sense. I think it's possible to care about more than one thing.

    @ Bob Bennett

    Only 4 percent of Americans think gun control is our most important issue because people who favor some gun control tend not to be single-issue voters, and tend to be capable of understanding nuanced arguments, trade-offs, and compromise. That does not mean the issue is not important and it is a mistake to conclude so.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    April 22, 2013 1:28 p.m.

    Government has no right to change the Constitution to suit the whim of any governmental official or those who support that official. We have rules that govern government. Those rules were accepted by the people and by the government as the rules by which things are to be done by those elected or appointed to protect our freedoms.

    One of the rules is that government cannot infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Any thinking person would understand that "giving in" on that absolute rule would allow a tyrant to control the citizens of this country by force. But, if that "tyrant" understands that the people are armed and that the people value their freedom more than they value him, he will submit himself to the limits established by the people.

    Those who tell us that governmental control is the solution do not understand the value of being a member of a free society and the obligation that that free society has to always keep power hungry politicians carefully "harnessed".

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    April 22, 2013 12:48 p.m.

    Sorry, bob. It's an important issue.

  • shadow01 ,
    April 22, 2013 12:08 p.m.

    I am retired military and think myself a Republican. But I also see myself as one who can think for himself and not need to be lead around by the nose by the NRA and others who blindly believe that the right to bear arms is a God given right instead of an institutional right. I have never been opposed to the right to bear arms but then I have never seen any defensible reason for individuals to own weapons which only have one purpose, that of inflicting wounds on a large number of people without having to rely on marksmanship. Gun manufactures and by extension the NRA see the 2nd amendment only as a means to justify making and selling more of those weapons than our armed forces actually need. They feed on our fears and we let them. There is nothing wrong with gun ownership but the NRA and Gun manufacturers need to stop spreading the paranoia that better gun control will be the downfall of the nation.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    April 22, 2013 10:16 a.m.

    Typical Beltway reasoning. "It's not important to me, so . . ."

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    April 22, 2013 9:58 a.m.

    Finially, something that I actually agree with Bennett on. Mostly.

    Obviously One Old Man doesn't care about cars and the number of children killed annually that are not placed in child safety seats and the 100's of Thousands of lives shattered by fatal car wrecks each year with children involved.

    We have all kinds of laws mandating that kids in cars be put in child safety seats, yet they get killed all the time because they are not put in child safety seats or their seats are not properly secured. Those laws help some, but not all and many ignore them. Way more than get killed by guns. I'm guessing if you line the stats up, it wouldn't even be close.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    April 22, 2013 9:25 a.m.

    "....If supporters of Manchin-Toomey had understood what had happened to public attitudes between Newtown and January, and started with a call for a bill on background checks instead of being forced to retreat to one as a last resort, the outcome could well have been different...."

    Bennett’s argument there is one that supporters of expanded background checks should take note of. The bill was a crime bill, not a curtailment of 2nd Amendment rights. But the NRA was able to successfully play off the baseless fear that this was a gun control bill.

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    April 22, 2013 8:43 a.m.

    Says the newspaper that runs "Traditional marriage is under attack!" articles on a daily basis.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    April 22, 2013 7:55 a.m.

    It's not important?

    Tell that to the thousands upon thousands of Americans whose lives have been shattered by gunfire.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    April 22, 2013 7:36 a.m.

    I understand that in several of the larger cities there is a problem with violent people who happen to use guns. Mayors and other officials in these cities as a result encourage their representatives to pass gun restriction laws nation wide.

    This is their mistake. They somehow assume that I, a law abiding person should have my gun rights curtailed, because they have a problem with violent people that they are unwilling to deal with adequately.

    I know in Ogden Utah, gang members are forbidden from even associating with each other. This law has helped lower Ogden's crime rate. These cities could put cameras all around such that when ever a gang member misuses a gun, they are identified and caught. They could monitor gang menbers and when ever they break any minor law, they could be aprehended and then police could see if they are carrying an illegal weapon.

    The point here is that there is a lot these jusisdictions could do within their own borders that they aren't doing. Instead they want to take away my gun rights, and I live hundreds of miles away from any of their cities.