Congress says this time we really mean it!
By Michael R. Shannon
There’s a bill being lovingly preserved by Mitch McConnell, Curator of the Senate, that’s one of those ‘bi–partisan’ efforts the media loves to celebrate.
Senators John Cornyn (R–TX) and Chris Murphy (D–CT) have introduced legislation I’m sure they’ll be featuring in future campaign commercials. According to CNN the bill “aims to strengthen how state and federal governments report offenses that could prohibit people from buying a gun.”
Specifically, “It would ensure that federal and state authorities comply with existing law and require them to report criminal history records to the NICS.”
Strangely enough, we already have a law, passed by Congress, that requires just that. Yet no one ever asks what makes the esteemed senators believe the federal bureaucracy will follow this new law when they are failing to obey the old law?
Or why the legislative branch allows the bureaucracy to get away with ignoring the law without consequence in the first place?
Nothing demonstrates the impotency of the GOP congressional leadership like introducing a new, stringent law when these political eunuchs can’t seem to convince the bureaucracy to adhere to law already on the books.
Federal statutes require criminal history be reported to the NICS in a timely fashion now. It’s vitally important a potential gun purchaser’s records be current when the dealer runs a background check.
Why don’t these overpaid ‘leaders’ who assure us they are ‘fighting for you’ force the bloated, unresponsive, inert federal government to be accountable to current law? Why are they so comfortable with being ignored by the government they assure us they are leading? Is it because most of these barnacles have been in office so long they think of themselves as government employees?
Or is it fear of angering the federal workforce? If that’s it, I’ve got news for Republicans: Swamp bureaucrats already vote Democrat in overwhelming numbers. Virginia’s 2017 state election is all the proof one requires.
A smart political solution would be to take the side of the taxpayer and demand current law be obeyed.
Cornyn and Murphy’s bill is a hand–wringing response to the Air Force’s failure to prevent the Sutherland Springs church shooter from buying a weapon. The shooter had been convicted by the USAF of domestic abuse, child abuse and had been dishonorably discharged. If any one of those three records had been entered into NICS, he would have failed the background check and would’ve been prevented from buying a rifle.
Because of Air Force negligence 26 people are dead and absolutely NOTHING happened in response. I suppose taxpayers shouldn’t be surprised. Since no one lost their job after 9/11, how can we expect repercussions for the relative handful of dead in Texas?
A Senate or House that was truly interested in establishing a climate of responsibility and accountability in the federal government would have come down on the USAF like the Wrath of God.
Could the Senate have done something? Certainly, but it requires work. For starters, the committees dealing with the services could have begun an investigation and held hearings. And I don’t mean a hearing where the Secretary of the Air Force and his entourage enters the room and delivers suitably contrite and take–no–specific–responsibility sound bites.
I mean a hearing where the entire chain of command at the base where the paperwork failure occurred is subpoenaed, sworn in and grilled in televised hearings. I want the incompetent clerk, the supervisor and all the rest of the base chain of command on the stand being interrogated. And when base personnel are rung out, we can move up to those in the Pentagon who are responsible for records.
Only afterwards does the Secretary of the Air Force make his appearance.
In addition, committee investigators must refuse to accept “we can’t answer personnel questions due to privacy” dodge. That shuffle is beloved by bureaucrats because it allows them to escape scrutiny and accountability. If these people are in ‘public service’ then what they do is public, too.
Settling for the ‘privacy’ excuse denies the public accountability in two ways. They never learn the identity of the miscreant or what the consequences, if any, were. Plus, ‘privacy’ is also a cover–up for the supervisor, because we never learn if he lifted so much as a finger to fire or punish the guilty.
I want the full weight of public shame and notoriety to be hung around the all the aider’s and abettor’s necks. As far as I’m concerned if an employee values his privacy, he can work in the private sector.
Passing more laws to require adherence to previous laws is ridiculous on its face. As is a Congress that believes it’s doing its job by passing laws and then assuming the role of a bystander.
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He is a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker. He can be reached at mandate.mmpr (at) gmail.com. He is also the author of Conservative Christian's Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!).