Jeff Flake Now Claims He Could Support Expanding Background Checks for Guns

Categories: Guns
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Senator Jeff Flake
Senator Jeff Flake has changed his explanation of why he didn't support an amendment to expand background checks for gun purchases and apparently is willing to vote for expanding background checks.

Flake's stance has been confusing, but Flake has offered up a scenario in which he'd vote for the amendment he recently helped defeat.

See also:
-Jeff Flake's Poll Numbers Somehow Got Worse
-Jeff Flake "One of the Most Unpopular Senators"
-Flake Thinks His Popularity Is "Below Pond Scum"
-John McCain Bucks the NRA, Supports Expanding Background Checks for Gun Sales

"Republican Sen. Jeff Flake told CNN he is willing to reverse his opposition to expanding background checks for guns if the Senate bill's sponsors change a provision dealing with Internet sales," CNN reported this morning. "Flake said the only reason he voted no was because of his concern that the requirement for background checks on Internet sales is too costly and inconvenient, given the way guns are often sold among friends in his state of Arizona and others."

That is not the explanation Flake gave when he publicly explained why he was voting against the bill shortly before the vote a few weeks ago.

"Manchin-Toomey would expand background checks far beyond commercial sales to include almost all private transfers -- including between friends and neighbors -- if the posting or display of the ad for a firearm was made public," Flake wrote on Facebook. "It would likely even extend to message boards, like the one in an office kitchen. This simply goes too far."

Flake's initial claim wasn't true, according to those who have looked into it, and according to the sponsors of the amendment, but now Flake says it's something else that needs to change before he supports the amendment.

Senator Joe Manchin -- the Democrat half of the bipartisan "Manchin-Toomey" duo that created the amendment -- apparently is trying to bring back a revised version of the amendment but needs a few votes to flip in order for it to pass this time around. Flake seems to be one of those guys.

CNN's report says that Flake told them that Manchin "may not be able to change the language in a way that satisfies him. But Flake insists he hopes they can figure it out."

Just to throw more dirt on his already muddy explanation, Flake posted to Twitter today, "Cutting thru clutter, I've always supported background checks. I didn't support Manchin-Toomey, and still don't. I voted for Grassley [amendment]."

That amendment didn't call for any more background checks on gun sales.

Perhaps this is why Flake's job-approval rating is so low -- people don't actually know what kind of job he's doing.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.



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102 comments
DNichols
DNichols

Watching "Career Politicians" is like watching "The Price is Right"?!

How much is this Lobbyist Worth?

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

I favor health care reform, but given the opportunity, would have voted against Obamacare, because it's not one of the many possible forms of health care reform that I support.

I favor immigration reform, but I don't favor unconditional amnesty.

Saying that you support some concept does NOT mean that you will automatically vote for any bill that comes along that addresses that concept.

To assume otherwise doesn't make the speaker a liar, it makes you a fool.


Mike Gray
Mike Gray

McCain has lasted a long time flip-flopping like this, so I see no reason for Flake to worry about the voters.

Clint W Clark
Clint W Clark

You missed the boat on that one....douche bag!

eric.nelson745
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

Now he says he could vote for expanded background checks. Well, Jeff, I really don't care. And I'm guessing most everyone else in Arizona doesn't much care either. Even those who wanted you to vote the right way. Not anymore, because you're lower than pond scum.

Mamie Zembal
Mamie Zembal

He is not a man of his word, therefore he's no man!

Tracy McGill
Tracy McGill

Gee, I'm sure his GOOD friend, Gabby Giffords, will forgive him now for lying right to her face. :/

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

Seems Flake doesn't understand that he should represent the people , and not strictly the PACS that give him money.

The NRA probably threatened to "primary" his little pink butt.....

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

What an asshole this guy is.

Like most republicraps, too scared of the NRA which is actually a small percentage of voters, to be honest with his constituents and do the job they elected him to do.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

Politicians courting the hoplophobe vote are talking about background checks for internet sales, as if it's possible today to go to a web site, drop an AR-15 into your shopping cart, type in your Visa number and go wait for UPS to deliver it.

It doesn't work that way.

It's already illegal to ship a gun to a buyer.   If it has to be shipped, the seller ships it to a local dealer that you specify, and that local dealer runs the background check, accepts a fee from you for the service, and hands over the firearm.

The "internet sales" that Flake is talking about is if I email my brother and ask if he wants to buy my gun.  The general provisions of the bill would have exempted such a sale from background check if I hadn't "used the Internet" to facilitate the sale.  That's the nonsense that Flake wants dropped.


valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

This is really painful for me, because I've never liked Flake, but he's getting a bum rap here.

In my heart, I feel like I'm not defending him, but the English language.  He really made it pretty clear that he was for STRONGER background checks, not for MORE background checks.


JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

Maybe he discovered the being disingenuous about how he planned to vote, as he was,  turned out to be bad for his approval rating.

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@valleynative NO Senator EVER gets 100% of what they want in ANY bill.  It's called "compromise", a strange term the GOP no longer knows the meaning of.

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@eric.nelson745 Actually, per the evening news, he's now saying that what he said earlier was not true, and he's not changed his position.  How dare they use a video of him saying something as evidence that he's a lying asshole!

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@Flyer9753 I just saw on the news where The Flake flopped again and now is denying he changed his mind!

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

@valleynative You are not defending the English language; you are defending Flake. Period. But let's play along with your definitions - you want to draw a distinction between the terms "strengthen" and "expand" in this particular context. Great. Then Flake was completely disingenuous when he led people to believe he would vote for the legislation based on his support for "strengthening" background checks, he knew people were generally interpreting his comments that way, and then failing to clarify or be completely candid about his position on the bill. Using your distinction, he hid behind the amorphous term "strengthen" to avoid being fully candid about his position on the legislation.

danzigsdaddy
danzigsdaddy topcommenter

@shadeaux14    FLOP,          FLIP     FLOP

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@WhoKnows @valleynative  No Senator or Representative should ever vote for a bill that he disagrees with simply because it's the first suggestion that comes along that addresses a problem.

The fact that "something needs to be done", never justifies doing the first thing suggested.


valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@JohnQ.Public@valleynative    Whenever a politician says anything, you are responsible for taking note of the exact words he used and their possible interpretations, as well as the things that he didn't say that you might have expected to hear.

After Clinton and Bush and Obama, everybody should understand this.

If a citizen fails to apply the most basic critical thinking skills, and instead, simply chooses to believe that a politician is saying what they want to hear, I don't blame the politician.

If a reporter fails to do this, that's another thing.

In the case of Flake's statements, the interpretation was so obvious that nobody really has grounds to claim that they were deliberately misled.


JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

@ValleyNative The reality, though, is that I'll still disagree with you about your efforts to draw a distinction. There are multiple ways to strengthen background checks - improving the information in the system, increasing the number of venues at which background checks are done, expanding the criteria that is checked and more. Each of those would make background checks stronger - "expanding" the venues in which background checks are conducted is just way to "strengthen" background checks. So the terms "strengthen" and "expand" are not mutually exclusive and Flake was being disingenuous by not delineating which methods of strengthening background checks he was in favor of and which ones he wasn't in favor of in advance of the vote on the legislation.

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@danzigsdaddy FLOP, FLOP FLOP.  (Just like a flat tire going down the road...)

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@yourproductsucks @JohnQ.Public Is that the same reason the Senator from NH has been catching a really bad time from her constituents?

One of the things with Flake is that he told the parents of a guy  that was killed in Aurora (they live in Ahwatukee) that he would support background checks, and that was public knowledge and on the news.  He lied.

The majority of people, even in AZ, support the background checks

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@robert_grahamcracker  He said he was for stronger background checks.   People who don't really understand the issue assumed that meant that he wanted more transactions to require background checks.   Now, he's saying that he supports stronger background checks, but doesn't support requiring background checks for more transactions.

He's clarified his position as wanting more meaningful background checks, not just more background checks.

 

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

@robert_grahamcracker He is trying to find that find line between not double crossing the NRA who spent $350,000 to get him elected and voting for something that is supported by most of his constituents.

OR, he's just a jackass in general and most of the voters in Arizona now recognize that.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@JohnQ.Public @valleynative   I'm just pointing what was quite clearly the intent of the authors of the Constitution, and waiting for the day that either a future court gets it right, or we decide it's time to rewrite the Constitution instead of just pretending it means what the people in power choose to believe.

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

@valleynative You can argue that all day long, except that 70 years of USSC decisions by both liberal and conservative Courts have disagreed with you.  The 10th Amendment actually states, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."  The USSC has opined that Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution delegates to Congress the right to regulate commerce that does and/or could affect interstate commerce.  Since the USSC has held that Constitution delegates that right to the United States, the 10th Amendment doesn't even come into consideration.  Again, you're arguing with 70 years of USSC opinions so I suspect your going to have a hard to winning this one.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@JohnQ.Public @valleynative  Fine, it actually says "among the several states", but that slip doesn't change the meaning or weaken the point.  "among" does not include "within".  The 10th says the feds have no power over private sales, because such power is not granted elsewhere in the Constitution.

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

@valleynative Well, the USSC has ruled fairly consistently over a number of cases since the Wickard ruling in 1942 so its hard to call is just "an aberrant ruling."  Even ultra-conservative Scalia joined the majority in Raich.  But it's funny - you lose on the commerce clause, so you try to jam support for your position into the 10th Amendment even though it doesn't really exist there, either.  Oh, and the word "interstate" is not in the Constitution, but I would have expected you to already know that since you only rely on the source documents, don't you.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@JohnQ.Public @valleynative @Flyer9753  Regardless of an aberrant ruling, it's clearly nonsense to say that any private sale is part of interstate commerce.  If that had been the intent, the word "interstate" would simply have been omitted.

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

@valleynative @Flyer9753 The U.S. Supreme Court would disagree as evidenced by its interpretation of Article I, Section 8 - the Commerce Clause.  First, your transaction does or could affect interstate commerce per the holding in Wickard v. Filburn.  Even if your transaction involved goods manufactured, sold and consumed solely within the state the Supreme Court has held that it could affect interstate commerce and therefore be regulated per Gonzales v. Raich - and even Scalia concurred.  In U.S. v. Stewart, the USSC vacated a 9th Cir. decision holding that a home-made machine gun violates federal gun law even if never sold in commerce.  Your reliance on the 10th Amendment is misplaced.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@Flyer9753 @valleynative  I'm sorry, but you're simply too stupid to bother with any more.  I didn't mention Democrats.  I said the other side should compromise.  My point being that compromise is a two-way street.  Over your head, I know.

Car insurance is a State matter, not federal.

Society does NOT vote on what laws the feds can pass.  We have a Constitution.  Read it.


Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@valleynative @Flyer9753  

I did not say you were a republican, but you stated that the democrats should compromise instead of the republicans as if they have not been compromising - that was the basis for my filibuster comment and has no bearing on whether you are a republican or not. 

You opened that door when you asked why the democrats have not compromised.

Your rights under the 10th.. hmm.. so I guess you think car insurance requirements are illegal? After all, those affect businesses. 

Or what about laws regarding building codes? Those affect businesses and their ability to do business in a sub standard or unsafe building.

It sounds to me like you think that the government should make NO laws at all that could in any way affect a business from operating the way it wants, if you are going to use the 10th as a justification. 

Society decides what laws the govt. (federal or state) can make via it's vote. It's impractical however to hold a specific vote on everything so we have our representatives as our voice. 

Per polling we know that the majority of the people do want to give the government this right at a federal level, therefore the 10th is not infringed, it is actually upheld, unless you don't believe in societies right to rule itself via majority rule and the vote.

This is where representatives like Flake have failed and are wrong, in that they are not acting on the spoken will of the majority.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@Flyer9753 My rights under the 10th Amendment to conduct business without interference from the federal government.

I'm not a Republican, so your BTW makes no sense to me.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@valleynative @WhoKnows 

Please explain to us exactly what 'rights' are being infringed? Specifically.

BTW - you can ask about democratic compromises when the Democrats wrack up 386 filibusters in 4 years.  

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@JohnQ.Public @valleynative @WhoKnows  I have the unfettered right to conduct business with another citizen of the State of Arizona without asking the permission of the federal government.  There's no interstate commerce involved.   The State of Arizona has the right to put reasonable restrictions on such transactions, as long as they don't violate the Arizona Constitution.

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

@valleynative @WhoKnows You don't have the unfettered "right" to own or transfer firearms.  Even in the District of Columbia v. Heller the USSC said that the state has the right under the 2nd Amendment to impose reasonable regulation.  Per Scalia's opinion, " [n]othing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms."

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@WhoKnows There should be no compromise of our rights until other options have been explored. Ever.  Why don't the Democrats compromise by proposing fixing the existing background check system and improving mental health care?

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@valleynative @WhoKnows So, there should be no compromise?  That is EXACTLY what is wrong with DC these days!


Flake is REPRESENTING the state.  Not acting on only his own feelings!  Heck, this was the NRA negating YOUR vote.  Doesn't that make you all warm and fuzzy?

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@JohnQ.Public @valleynative  We must have different definitions of "lying". What he said was true.  What he said could be interpreted in more than one way.  Everybody who heard him SHOULD have been able to recognize the fact that what he said could be interpreted in more than one way, and should have either asked for clarification or reported the fact that he wasn't clear.

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

@valleynative So you're saying that Flake was lying.  Geez, I was only accusing him of being disingenuous which is not nearly as harsh an accusation as accusing him of outright lying.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@JohnQ.Public @valleynative  At this point, I have to admit that I didn't see video of his statement, so I don't know the exact context or body language, etc, so he might have been trying to be deceptive, but if a politician is speaking, and particularly if it's a prepared statement, you absolutely MUST assume he's trying to deceive the voters.

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

@valleynative @JohnQ.Public It is disingenuous to say "I hold an opinion on this bill, but I'm not going to be completely candid about it."  Saying that he was in favor or strengthening background checks in the context of talking about the bill did imply that he was supportive of the bill. 

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@JohnQ.Public @valleynative No, now you're interpreting MY words to mean what you want to hear.

Is it disingenuous to say "I hold an opinion on this bill, but I'm not going to tell you what that opinion is"?   Because "stronger" (or whatever variant he actually said) did not tell anybody how he felt about that bill, and any open-minded listener should have understood that.

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

@valleynative Exactly what I've been saying for a week - thank you for finally recognizing the accuracy of my comments.  Flake was disingenuous by using the amorphous term "strengthen" to lead listeners to believe one thing and avoid being completely candid about his position on the legislation. instead of using more accurate or precise language.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@JohnQ.Public @valleynative  Shame, indeed, not for not taking his words at face value, but for spinning them in your own minds to mean what you wanted to hear.

Words like "stronger" are, by their very nature, ambiguous and have no single "face value".

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

@valleynative You are writing the text-book on "spin."  Lisa Allen - you should be taking notes because valleynative is putting you to shame in the "spin" department.  I'd love to hear Flake translate your comments into a speach: "Yes, good citizens, I wasn't completely candid about my position and I led you to believe that I was in favor of a bill that I voted against, but it's your fault, good citizens, for taking my words at face value and believing the words that came out of my mouth.  You, good citizens, should have known that I'd never tell you upfront and outright what I really meant.  Shame on you, good citizens, shame, shame on you for expecting me to be completely clear in my position and my intentions." 

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@JohnQ.Public @ValleyNative   As you say, there are multiple ways of strengthening things.  Being in favor of strengthening something absolutely does NOT mean that you are in favor of all of those possible ways.


valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@JohnQ.Public @valleynative  Again, you're not understanding me, and thereby have become the first to resort to insults.  I said I thought you weren't making a lot of sense.

I didn't say that you don't usually make a lot of sense.

It would have helped if you had made it more clear that what you were suggesting was an amusing proposal of a new regulation.  In the context of the discussion, I really wasn't expecting that.  Sometimes we all make mistakes based on context.

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

@valleynative As the expert in posting comments that don't make a lot of sense, I guess I should expect you to be an expert in recognizing it.  I'd prefer to keep this civil because it is an interesting conversation, but if you want to drag this into being insulting about not making sense I guess we can go there. 

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@JohnQ.Public @valleynative  What's understandably  hard to see from your point of view, knowing what you meant, is that I thought that you simply weren't making a lot of sense.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@JohnQ.Public @valleynative   I didn't read that as a sarcastic proposal for new regulation.  It sounded like a misinterpretation of existing law, with a disclaimer saying that it was a bad idea.

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

@valleynative So apparently even pointing out that I was being sarcastic doesn't make a difference in you taking the comment literally.  Sigh. 

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@JohnQ.Public @valleynative  It's also not remotely true.  Automobiles only need to be known by the government if they are driven on public streets.  Many farm vehicles, for example, are unregistered.  Under the bill, simply transferring ownership (or extended possession) would require that you use a federally licensed firearms dealer as a broker.

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

@valleynative Great analogy - you can give your firearm to anyone you want, but IF that person chooses to fire it then that person must obtain a license for it.  (please note my sarcasm - for those that would take my comment literally, this is not an actual proposal or suggestion).

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@WhoKnows @valleynative @eric.nelson745 I don't need to ask the federal government to approve the gift of my car, and don't need to notify ANY government agency at all.  IF he chooses to drive it on public roads, he has to license it.  That's the only requirement.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@WhoKnows @valleynative  He voted for the Grassley amendment (mentioned in this article), which would actually have strengthened the checks (not mentioned in this article).

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@WhoKnows @valleynative  Among other things, that he didn't want.   Being for something doesn't mean being willing to accept a lot of bad things along with it.

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@valleynative @WhoKnows And that is EXACTLY what the bill he voted against promoted!  Closing loopholes.  Making the checks STRONGER.

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