Sunday, April 21, 2013

Senator Jon Tester Believes in Washington

These days, when asking about gun purchases and background checks, public opinion polls give respondents a choice between universal background checks or not.  But this isn't really the choice.  For example, I remember a hike up nearby Mt. Ellis last fall when I came upon a father and his adolescent son.  It was hunting season.  Each carried a rifle, slung over his shoulder.  If there was a law requiring truly universal checks that would make the father a felon for giving his son a weapon.  That law won't happen.

People who care about guns and the 2nd amendment rights generally accept the concept of background checks, but not for private transactions.  They trust their state and local governments to a degree but not centralized power mongers in Washington, DC.  In their view, people who are not in the business of selling guns ought to be able to transfer firearms freely among themselves.  They wouldn't knowingly sell a weapon to a criminal or a nut.  The gun rights crowd thinks we have a system now that does a pretty good job at regulating gun dealers while maintaining individual freedom.  In states like Montana, the standard public opinion surveys are pretty much worthless.   

Jon Tester and VP Joe Biden in the Old Senate Chamber
Here comes Jon Tester -- re-elected by plurality vote, propelled  by left-wing dark money that attacked his Republican opponent and boosted the vote for a Libertarian candidate to the point where Tester could sneak in with a minority of the vote.  Tester is not supported, or trusted, by a majority of his constituents. Although Tester strives to maintain his "dirt farmer" image he's been bitten by most pernicious of bugs, the one that transmits Potomac fever.  

Earlier this week, in a blast email to constituents, Tester explained his "yes" vote on universal background checks as follows, promoting lockstep the prevailing progressive, anti-gun view on background checks:
Let me be clear: the proposed legislation would not have prevented a law-abiding citizen from purchasing a gun. It would not have taken away anyone’s gun. It would not create a national gun registry. And it would not ban assault weapons or limit magazine clips. I would not support legislation if it did any of these things. In fact, I voted NO on amendments that would ban assault weapons or limit clips.
The Manchin-Toomey amendment would have made our Second Amendment rights stronger. It ensured that you do not need a background check for transactions among friends or family members. It provided safe harbor to hunters and others who have a gun, but travel through a state with tougher gun laws. Under the plan, a law-abiding citizen could have still purchased a gun without a problem – but criminals and folks who are violently mentally-ill could not.
Note that there is nothing in Tester's statement about the who, what, when and why of newly ordered checks required by the bill.  It's a whitewash.  He is a master of the double negative.  Montanans refuse to fall in with Tester.  They agree with Senator Max Baucus who believes current law strikes an appropriate balance.   

The Independent Record newspaper in Helena (state capital) put out a survey that yielded a 3 to 1 response in favor of Baucus and  against Tester's vote.  Montanans aren't naive enough to believe that criminals will have a "problem" buying guns if Washington passes a law.  The Record readers don't automatically side with the pro-gun lobby either.  In a March survey they sided 62 to 38 percent against allowing concealed carry on Montana college campuses.   Jon Tester has a problem because there are a helluva a lot of people who believe his vote was wrong for Montana.  


  1. If Maximus Baucus was up for reelection he would have voted with Tester. Maximus said he listened to the people of Montana. Yeah, right I have free health insurance for sale.

  2. thanks for share..