Tom Coburn…… did he stab us in the back?

Tom Coburn has become the target  of many gun enthusiasts, as he was one of 16 Republican senators to move forward with debate on gun control legislation. Dr. Coburn sees this as a political strategy to actually protect our gun rights from the anti’s and many gun enthusiasts are calling him a traitor. Here’s a quick rundown: Coburn has in the past defended the rights of gun owners, especially those of vets. He goes to Schumer and Feinstein trying to work out a deal that will not impede or infringe on our gun rights. (his words) They can’t come to a deal so he leaves the table. Enter Toommey-Manchin who throw a bunch of ideas together but a half-complete bill. Tom Coburn denounces the bill saying it’s unworkable and he will stand up for gun owners’ rights, including personally leading a filibuster in the senate. But then he moves this half-bill forward for debate in the senate so we can see who is actually “on our side”. The idea that we want to move forward with debate so we can get the anti’s on paper to see exactly who is for and against this legislation sounds like a sound political strategy. In Coburn’s own words, it allows him to attach amendments that would actually protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners:

“Today’s vote was an opportunity for senators to do what they were elected to do and begin debate on a critical issue in our country. Today’s vote was simply a vote to begin debate and not an endorsement of the current bill. I will not support ending debate and moving to final passage of any bill that compromises the Second Amendment rights or the privacy of law abiding citizens.

“I look forward to offering multiple amendments in the coming days, including an amendment to replace the unworkable Manchin-Toomey with a proposal that will protect Americans’ Second Amendment rights while giving law abiding citizens the tool they need to make sure they aren’t transferring a firearm to someone who will be a threat to themselves or others. I also intend to offer or support amendments to protect the Second Amendment rights of veterans and Americans who have concealed carry permits, among other issues. Today’s vote enables me to offer those amendments, and help give the American people the debate they deserve.”

But in an earlier statement, Coburn promised to personally filibuster any gun legislation in the senate: “While I support a debate in the Senate on gun related issues—including reaffirming these rights and forcing gun-control advocates to have their votes on record and be held accountable for their votes—I will not only support, but lead a filibuster to prevent the passage of any bill that limits the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.” Then, he turns around and votes for cloture which doesn’t allow any filibustering. So his actions are confusing to say the least for a political-junkie like myself. So then, his Facebook page EXPLODES with people ready to string him up and others who defend his actions. Now, he’s put out a statement about his detractors and critics in the Daily Oklahoman (all in italics):

Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn fires back at critics over gun vote

After being called a traitor and numerous obscene names on his Facebook page, Sen. Tom Coburn responded that the gun bill debate is necessary to keep dangerous people from buying firearms.

By Chris Casteel | Published: April 12, 2013   
WASHINGTON — Responding to outrage over his vote to advance gun legislation past a procedural hurdle, Sen. Tom Coburn said Friday that debate on the bill was necessary to address gaps allowing “dangerous people” to acquire firearms.

“Every act of gun violence not only takes away the rights — and sometimes lives — of victims but also chips away at the rights of law-abiding citizens,” Coburn said in a lengthy statement.

“Responsible gun owners should be leading the effort to make sure firearms are used for the purpose our founders’ intended — self-defense and freedom, not mayhem and murder.”

Coburn, R-Muskogee, received a barrage of negative comments on his Facebook page and at his offices in Washington and Oklahoma for his vote Thursday to allow debate on a bill proposing to expand background checks and crack down on gun trafficking.

Many of the Facebook posts were laced with obscenities and called him a “traitor.”

Others were a bit more diplomatic but still critical of Coburn’s decision to join 15 other Republicans in voting to advance the bill rather than filibuster.

Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, voted against moving the bill to debate.

The bill advanced by a vote of 68-31, and votes on amendments could come next week.

The comments

A man named Mike Gilbert, of Oklahoma City, wrote this post on Coburn’s Facebook page: “Mr Coburn I am a 63 year old Vietnam Vet. Worked 40 years and paid my taxes. Gov. Fallin signed the bill for open carry. I continue to carry mine under cover but I thank her for standing up for our 2nd Amendment.

“I ask that you do not sell us down the river. If you give an inch the left wing will take a mile. I supported you in the past. I will no longer. Please stand with Oklahoma as a proud 2nd Amendment state. I ask that you give in no farther.”

And another named Wes Morris, of Tulsa, said, “It’s a damn good thing you are term limiting yourself. Although I would love to see you get hammered in a primary.

“What about “Shall Not Infringe” do you not understand? Your next step should be to run for “Community Organizer” in Chicago. Then you can follow in your idols footsteps and you two love birds can have dinner together every night. Thanks for selling out the American People, and Oklahoma.” 

Coburn’s response

Many of those complaining said they would work against his re-election, obviously unaware that Coburn imposed a two-term limit on himself and won’t be running for office again.

In the statement, Coburn said, “Some have even suggested a more pro-Second Amendment Republican should run against me in the primary next election. I hate to disappoint them but I respect the will of the people so much I have primaried myself by term-limiting myself.”

Coburn has previously been accused by some Democrats of being too staunch a defender of gun ownership rights.

He fought a long battle to ensure U.S. military veterans weren’t denied the right to purchase firearms if they sought mental health services.

And he authored legislation that was approved in 2009 allowing people to carry loaded firearms in national parks.

On Friday, Coburn said “the most onerous and blatantly unconstitutional provisions the gun control lobby favors,” including a ban on so-called assault weapons and a limit on magazine sizes, would never pass the Senate.

“What is up for consideration is how to improve a broken system that literally allows illegal aliens, drug traffickers, child molesters, rapists, felons, members of al-Qaida cells and mentally deranged persons to buy firearms,” he said.

“If you believe the Second Amendment gives those people the right to arm themselves, then we have an irreconcilable difference of opinion.”

Coburn participated for weeks in talks to fashion a bipartisan proposal to expand background checks to gun shows and other non-dealer transactions. He eventually dropped out because of his concerns that government records would be kept of the sales.

He said last week that the agreement reached wouldn’t work.

He said Friday he would offer his own proposal to create an online system allowing a consumer to print out a pass showing they weren’t on a list of prohibited buyers.

That system, he said, wouldn’t treat people as guilty until proven innocent and wouldn’t subject them to new fees.

Coburn said Americans have “a responsibility to do their homework and understand what is and is not under consideration. My office is prepared to answer as many questions as possible as clearly and quickly as we can.”

Personally, I think he’s foolish to think that the statists in the senate won’t try to slip one over on everybody. Even by letting it go forward with debate, (although politically wise) is still allowing our civil rights to be toyed with. Civil rights enumerated in the Constitution are un-debatable and non-negotiable as far as I’m concerned. And his idea that more background checks will stop Al Qaeda cells and child molesters, etc.from acquiring a firearm is part of the very fantasy that we can “legislate away evil” that got us here in the first place. There’s not a law on the books that would’ve stopped the Sandy Hook killer. (otherwise, it wouldna happened) and an expanded background check wouldn’t have stopped him either. Plus, the idea that anti-gun senators like Schumer and Feinstein would be satisfied with expanded voluntary background checks is a pipe dream.

But let’s stay on task here: IS Tom Coburn a traitor? I’ll leave that answer to the individual. My short answer is “no”, he’s not a traitor…. but he IS a politician. And trusting a politician to not throw our civil rights under the bus is like trusting a cottonmouth not to bite you if you pet it.


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