Filibuster rules at heart of gun bill 'defeat'

April 23, 2013

Do the people of the United States know that the U.S. Senate voted favorably on several amendments to the gun control bill? A majority of senators approved amendments requiring background checks for online and gun show purchases, providing special oversight of mentally ill persons and setting forth other limitations on gun purchases. The number of senators voting for these amendments ranged from 52 to 58. All of these votes were for naught because the Republican Party called for a filibuster, and the Democratic Party leadership then pulled the bill from further consideration.

Why didn't the Democratic leadership call upon the Republicans to actually filibuster? I think the American public would be up in arms if a senator were talking day and night in opposition to the proposed gun control bill. As it happened, the bill quietly disappeared from public view. The media gave the public the idea that the proposed legislation was defeated. Probably, the media is correct in that view, but do the American people know that it was killed by invoking a "silent filibuster?"

We in the United States like to believe that we live in a democracy. However, the U.S. Senate is a most undemocratic institution. Members represent states, not people. The situation is exacerbated by the use of the silent filibuster. We citizens need to become more vocal about the use of the "no talk" filibuster. I have written Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin to express my concern about the filibuster. I hope other citizens will do likewise.

Millie Tyssowski

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