The U.S. Senate this week voted down what was left of a much ballyhooed package of gun control legislation trotted out a while back by President Obama and Vice President Biden.
Not long after Wednesday's defeat - it wasn't even close - Obama grabbed the microphone and with weeping parents of Connecticut school shooting victims gathered around him, lambasted his own party for failing to get the job done.
We understand that many Americans wanted something done, especially after the slaughter of so many young children. The entire nation mourned for those wee souls. Emotions ran at a fever pitch, fueled by such things as Obama and his group of Sandy Hook survivors.
The fact is, legislation should not be based on tears and emotions, and perhaps the Senate understands that. A better bet, however, is that enough senators of both parties heard from their constituents, who said we don't need more laws, just enforce the ones we have. And protect our Second Amendment.
We call the defeat of this gun control package - arguably the largest attempt to tighten gun laws in two decades - a great blessing for this nation. And please, do not equate that with the belief that we do not care about the children killed in Connecticut or anywhere else. To the contrary, we care a great deal about them, and the children of the future who face uncertain times. We want their schools to be safer. We want restaurants to be free of maniacs waving rifles around. We want movies theaters to be places where people can go without fear of danger from some mentally ill soul. We want all that and more. And we believe, above all, that tighter gun control laws will not help to attain those happy goals. Not one whit.
The major components of Obama's plan - more background checks, a ban on what the President and others on that side erroneously call "assault weapons" and limits on the number of rounds a magazine may hold - were quashed by the Senate.
A great number of Americans will say that the National Rifle Association won this round in the fight for preservation of the Second Amendment. As much as we support the NRA and value the work that organization does, we submit that this was a "W" for the people of this great nation, who spoke firmly and clearly through their lawmakers: "Leave the Second Amendment alone."
It's quite clear that President Obama does not support that side of the issue. Indeed, we fear he would take all guns out of private hands if he could. In spite of his many end-runs around Congress to achieve smaller goals, Obama knows he cannot run any major gun control plays alone.
In his post-defeat address, Obama urged supporters to pressure Congress to reconsider the issue and voters to remember it on Election Day. "I see this as just round one," he said.
Without question, the fight is far from over. What's next is anyone's guess, but Second Amendment backers should remain vigilant. The NRA will help, but the people must also be ready to pitch in.