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US Senate should work for people, not NRA

It’s only Wednesday night as I write, but it’s already been a tough week for sanity.

First there were the loathsome and cowardly bombings at the Boston Marathon.

It was on Tax Day, in the state known as “Taxachusetts” by some, on the local holiday of “Patriot’s Day” celebrating the Battles of Lexington and Concord. So, it’s unlikely to be the act of a foreign terrorist, more likely to be one of our homegrown haters, along the lines of Timothy McVeigh.

Then, a couple days later, a determined and selfish minority in the Senate prevented a common-sense legislative measure designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously insane.

The result in both cases: deaths that didn’t need to happen.

Here’s hoping that the person or persons responsible for the atrocity in Boston are soon brought to justice.

The ladies and gentlemen in the Senate won’t need to worry about the police knocking at their door. They were just doing their jobs, representing the people who sent them into public office and who keep them there.

I mean the National Rifle Association, of course, not the voters. An overwhelming majority of voters, and even NRA members, support universal background checks.

But the Republican minority had its orders from Wayne LaPierre and his fellow cranks in the NRA leadership, and they filibustered the Manchin-Toomey Amendment (a temperate, reasonable, widely popular measure written by a conservative Democrat and an even-more-conservative Republican).

Filibuster is an old-fashioned word for the new-normal in Washington, where a super-majority in the Senate is required for every measure more controversial than nonbinding resolutions in favor of sunshine.

By instituting universal background checks, the Manchin-Toomey Amendment would have made it a little harder for known criminals and people with violent mental illness to obtain guns. Just a little harder. But that’s too much for the gentlemen of the NRA.

Ohio voters do not agree. According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, “90 percent of Ohio voters, including 86 percent of voters in households where there is a gun, favor background checks for all gun purchases.”

But what does it matter what the voters say? Senator Rob Portman knows who he really works for, and he chose to represent the extremist gun lobby this week rather than Ohio voters. He, and others like him in the U.S. Senate, will continue to do so with impunity. Who can stop them?

Only you, by voting them out of office. It’s past time for the members of the U.S. Senate to answer to the people who pay their wages. If Senator Rob Portman won’t support reasonable protections for the safety of the general public, he should leave public service and look for more amenable work. Maybe the NRA will be hiring.

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