Former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough tore into the growing number of conservative senators who have pledged to filibuster a comprehensive gun safety bill without reading the proposal. The 13 senators — including likely 2016 presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Rand Paul — will win support “from a segment of your voting population,” Scarborough reasoned, but are ultimately damaging the Republican party by prioritizing the rights of criminals and the mentally ill rather than gun safety. The Senate is expected to take up a comprehensive measure this month that will expand restrictions against gun trafficking, invest in school safety and provide for universal background checks of all gun purchases.
“[T]here are a lot of guys out there in the Senate and they are going out because it’s a free shot,” Scarborough, who embraced gun safety in the aftermath of the Newtown shooting, said Monday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “It’s not like making a tough choice on Medicare or Medicaid or Social Security. This costs you nothing. But it does cost the Republican Party, overall”:
“We got an issue that is a 92–7 [percent] issue and I can’t believe that Republicans, first of all, aren’t going to support it, but secondly won’t let background checks against rapists, people who have committed manslaughter in the past, people with mental illness, dangerous mental illness — I can’t believe those Republicans are going to allow the entire Republican Party to be the party that basically put rapists’ rights over parents’ rights to keep their kids safe when they go to school.”
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“Think of the killings and shootings since Newtown,” he continued. “There hasn’t been a mass killing yet but there will be…it’s going to happen again and when it happens again and 92 percent of Americans have asked them to do something and they don’t do it, it’s just going to have devastating political impact on everybody.”
Senior Republicans like Sens. John McCain (AZ) and Tom Coburn (OK) have similarly criticized the filibuster strategy. “Is that about filibustering a bill to protect the Second Amendment, or is that about Rand Paul?” Coburn asked.