The first substantive vote in the gun rights debate this week. It is on the Toomey-Manchin amendment to expand background checks.
I will vote “no.” This amendment would impose a background check system that is overly broad, vague, and ultimately ineffective. And despite the assurances of its supporters, it could easily evolve into a national gun registry that would be an intrusion into the privacy and lives of the American people.
On Thursday, I voted “yes” to start the debate because this is a debate Republicans should want. This is a debate we can win.
I am always ready to debate and defend Second Amendment rights. Why would Tennesseans even want a United States senator who didn’t look forward to debating and defending their Second Amendment rights? Being unwilling to go to the Senate floor to debate and defend Second Amendment rights is like joining the Grand Ole Opry and not being willing to sing.
One of the reasons Republicans don’t have a governing majority is that we often pick the wrong fights. Voting to prevent a debate on gun rights is an argument Republicans will lose with the American people. Defending Second Amendment rights is an argument Republicans will win with the American people.
Some people on the Internet are saying that the procedural vote on Thursday was the last opportunity for a 60-vote requirement on the gun bill. Those people are confused. Almost every vote on amendments to the gun legislation will require 60 votes to pass. If, at the end of the debate, the bill infringes on Second Amendment rights I will vote “no,” and if it does not receive 60 votes at that time, the bill will die.
Let me put it this way: During my 10 years in the U.S. Senate, I have examined every gun amendment by the standard of whether it infringes on Second Amendment rights. During those ten years, the National Rifle Association has given my votes an “A rating.” I am going into this gun rights debate with an “A rating” from the NRA, and I expect my voting record will continue to earn an “A rating” when the debate is over.