WATCH NOW: Cory Gardner Withers Under Gun Questions

A short time ago, Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado appeared on CBS’ Face the Nation. Although most of the questions from today’s interview with Margaret Brennan focused on relations with North Korea following President Donald Trump’s confusing foreign policy announcements late last week, at the end of the interview Gardner was asked about his role–not previously reported–in blocking legislation sponsored by GOP Texas Sen. John Cornyn to strengthen background checks for firearms purchases. This is legislation Sen. Cornyn has been working on since the Sutherland Springs, Texas shooting last year that killed 26 people.

In the clip below, you can see something fairly amazing and rare: one of the slickest U.S. Senators flopping like a fish:


MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to quickly ask you about guns. Texas Senator John Cornyn has a bill proposing strengthening the background check system. Is it correct that you have put a hold on this? [Pols emphasis]

SEN. CORY GARDNER: I think there are some of us who are talking about due process issues in the bill and legislation. I’ve talked to Senator Cornyn and I hope that Senator Cornyn will realize that we need to work this due process matter out. This isn’t a issue of whether you like this or not, it’s a question of constitutional rights and protecting the people of this country, protecting them from harm —

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, you are blocking the bill for now? [Pols emphasis]

SEN. CORY GARDNER: — and, and making sure we’re protecting people from harm and making sure that we get this right and if there’s a constitutional issue at, at stake then that should be worked out.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But to clarify from your answer there. [Pols emphasis] Are you blocking this bill from the floor?

SEN. CORY GARDNER: This bill can come to the floor and we will continue to work through an amendment process and I hope that we can fix those amendments.

MARGARET BRENNAN: After you fix this bill you will allow it to go to the floor but not before this? [Pols emphasis]

SEN. CORY GARDNER: Well I think if we can have an, an amendment process that works to fix due process concerns real constitutional issues, then I hope that’s something that we can do. I hope that people who support this bill are interested, like all of us, in making sure we’re protecting the American people from harm.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Senator Gardner, thank you very much for joining “Face the Nation.”

SEN. GARDNER: Thanks for having me. Thank you.

It’s technically true that Gardner never answered the question–but by the time it was asked a fourth time, he didn’t have to. Gardner has years of experience sticking to a tight script with the media, but there’s a point at which these repetitious non-answers become worse for Gardner than simply giving the answer everyone knows and he just doesn’t want to say. Yes, Cory Gardner, who has taken almost four million dollars from the National Rifle Association during his career in politics, is the one blocking a fellow Republican’s bill to strengthen gun background checks. A bill that over 90% of Americans want passed.

Gardner was not prepared to answer this question, even though he obviously should have been. This was an absolutely disastrous performance for the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and a rare glimpse into the incredible behind-the-scenes power the NRA wields in Washington through people like Cory Gardner.

We know the answer to a very important question: why does gun safety legislation the public overwhelmingly supports never seem to become law, no matter how grisly the headlines from the latest mass shootings? No matter how unthinkably large the body counts have become at Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs and Parkland? No matter how many politicians in both parties agree it’s time to do something?

Cory Gardner just showed the world.

29 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. RepealAndReplace says:

    After Durango, we all knew he was a blithering idiot when it comes to answering questions.

    "Stay the course, Senator. Some day they will thank you."


  2. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    What the heck would background checks have to do with Gardner's "due process concerns", anyway?

    By the time someone checks background for a gun purchase and finds a previous felony or abuse charge, the buyer has had their day in court and has had all the process due him or her.

    More BS from Cory Gardner.

  3. Negev says:

    "The legislation holds federal agencies accountable and encourages states to provide all information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) that disqualifies people with criminal backgrounds from purchasing firearms under current law. The bill does not include any new background check requirements or gun control measures, and it has the support of the National Rifle Association."

    Gee, a new law that holds agencies accountable to follow an existing law they were accountable for, while encouraging states to do what what they were supposed to do. 

    So a law that says follow the law, cus you didn't follow the law the first time. 

    That's brilliant. Next they will be banning murder and stuff like that….


    • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

      So if it's common sense legislation to enforce existing laws, by your own account,  why is Cory Gardner blocking it?

      The Fix NICS bill is small in scope – it would only mandate better Federal reporting* of a small group of shooters – former Federal employees and military veterans like the Sutherland Springs killer, and crimes on tribal lands.   That probably explains the NRA endorsement – it's a teeny little bill that sounds good but will do almost nothing to keep violent or mentally ill criminals from stockpiling military weapons.

      Trump wants Cornyn to "change the title" to the "Background Check bill" – but without making the bill actually check backgrounds.

      FIX NICS  is not a universal background check bill. It will not tag domestic violence offenders, unless they were on the Federal payroll at the time of their offence.  It also mandates that tribal governments do better reporting of domestic violence and crimes with guns on the reservations.

      * Federal employees would have punishments and incentives for proper reporting – is that the "due process" violation Gardner is worried about? Because he is all about the Federal union workers, right? /s

      • Negev says:

        Making new laws to enforce old laws that were not enforced is not common sense, period. That is your own account naming it common sense, not mine. Its the furthest thing from it. Incentives for proper reporting is preposterous; proper reporting should be the basis for employment – you mean to tell me I get a bonus for doing my job correctly? Are you fucking kidding me?

        Now, if you want to talk punishments for failures and holding agencies accountable for failing to do their job, I find it reasonable to believe that, lets say in the last school shooting, we would find the FBI liable for the deaths of 17 for failing to act on multiple indications of premeditated threats. Will we will be seeing Broward County officers held accountable for not arresting or charging the shooter with crimes, or defying protical for school shootings and not entering to neutralize….no… no…. we will blame the gun that was purchased by the psycho who was known by the police who hid it and the FBI who could not find him from his own post with his real name to the therapist who did not turn him in…. and you trust the government to protect us. Common sense is not so common anymore. 


        • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

          So again, if this is a small step (which I think I've shown that it is, above) why should Cory Gardner be slow-walking it?

          Also, by your logic, DA George Brauchler should have been held liable for dismissing all counts against Sheriff Terry Maketa. Maketa not only embezzled taxpayer money, and hid it, he also sexually harassed  his staff on the taxpayer's dime, and he covered up and interfered with a witness on his deputy's domestic violence charge.

          That deputy should have had to turn his gun in while the matter was investigated, not allowed to continue intimidating his girlfriend, while she was locked up in an attempt to get her to recant her testimony.

          This would have also applied to Trump's staffer Rob Porter, to other nominated or named staff Andy Puzder, John Fedders, Steve Bannon…so real Federal oversight would have meant real vetting – if they couldn't obtain security clearances, and should not have been able to obtain guns…right? You're good with that, yes?

          And Trump, as the Commander in Chief with ultimate responsibility, should have been held accountable for hiring such violent and irresponsible people, yeah?

          So as long as you're cool with equal enforcement of the law against domestic violence offenders in government, I have no beef with you.

          • Negev says:

            You again call this a small step while ignoring the leaps and bounds of the laws that require the same encouragement this bill does and have been on the books for literally decades. If you believe adding another small step to this marathon of failures is common sense, then I see where you and Gardner differ. I have no idea why he would "slow step" a bill that pushes the liability of mass shootings on the the governement, which he is a member of, but it may be based on the notion of making an new law is less effective than enforcing an old law, when they are nearly identical… I think its a Republican thing….

            And you are again confusing my logic with the logic of the bill. This legislation "holds federal agencies accountable" for failures in the system that lead to the death. Think about that – Eric Holder responsible for Brian Terrys death. Scott Israel liable for 17 deaths. FBI prosecuted for NOT apprehending a known risk. How about James Homes Psychiatrist responsible for the actions he committed? 

            If Terry Maketa posted on facebook he was going to murder his girlfriend and the judge let him go – and he did it- than yes, some responsibility goes to those deemed responsible for the determination of Maketa's ability to NOT commit murder.

            I appreciate your attempts to conflate Trumps staff, however national security clearance and national background check are two different guidelines the fact that you cannot be trusted with the countries greatest secrets does not necessarily mean you are a murderer. I do not believe you could obtain national security clearance at this point Mama but I do believe you are legally able to buy a firearm. If you wrote your school and told them you were going to go and shoot it up tomorrow and they did nothing about it, I would however feel some responsibility would be placed on those who failed to do so. 

            Make no mistake, I am cool with equal enforcement of the law against domestic offenders in government, so no beef there. In fact, if you are really telling me you are prepared to blame the system that has failed us rather than the tool that was used, I think we are making progress. I just don't believe that is the case, as it defies that which you have stood so steadfast on in every other event. 



            • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

              Let's stick with this bill.

              Without assuming what you think I thought or would think about some hypothetical legislation.

              So let's look at this bill, FIX NICS. I don't like it because it really is not a universal background check bill, even if Trump succeeds in getting it renamed as the "background check bill". But why don't you like it? For what gun reform would you (honestly, now) advocate?

              I know you had posted that the only way to prevent mass shootings was to go out and confiscate all guns, but everyone here understands that you were just trolling.

              FIX NICS puts responsibility for reporting squarely onto Federal employees – but not on gun manufacturers, lobbyists, sellers, or gun owners.

              So you should fricking love it! Are you kidding me? This is a conservative gunny's wet dream ….it has the potential to look as though Trump is doing something substantive on gun control, while in reality doing almost nothing except possibly blaming the FBI if there are any more mass murders.

              And it has absolutely no regulation on guns – not type, not size of magazine, potential for rapid repeating fire, not nothin’.

              Trump is assuming that people are stupid and that the Parkland kids are "just kids" – they'll be easily fooled if the title of the bill sounds good.

              So why aren't you happy about this?

              • Negev says:

                Its simple Mama: Nothing in the bill is not law already. Enforce the freaking law on the books.

                I was not trolling when I said the only way to prevent mass shootings was to confiscate the guns. Ban them ALL, right now, and there are 10 generations of AR15s in circulation. I still buy guns banned in 1989 so unless you go door to door, expect at lease another 30 years or so of lethal inventory. 

                The responsibility for reporting has ALWAYS been on Federal employees and has failed time and time again. Do know what the "penalty" is for the failure the FBI would have had on the last mass shooting?

                What Penalties Would Federal Agencies Face if They Fail to Comply?

                If it is determined that a department head, who is a political appointee, is failing to comply with certification requirements and is not in substantial compliance with their agreed upon implementation plan, he or she will not be eligible for bonus pay (during fiscal years 2019 through 2022) until the department:

                • Certifies compliance with the record submission requirements.

                • Achieves substantial compliance with the agreed upon implementation plan.

                Dam. Thats SERIOUS penalty there. 

                Not only that, but critics contend you would be subject to losing your right to purchase a firearm by Failing to pay a traffic ticket

                Just enforce the laws on the books, do your job without expecting a trophy for losing, and quit expecting criminals to follow laws, whichever side of the law they are on. If its your job to stop a bad guy, stop him, or get a different job. If you have adequate prior knowledge and actionable data, act on it, or be held legally accountable for the consequences of your (in)action. Stop pretending you are going to craft a law that makes another law more lawlike because now you mean it – or no bonus for you – they are like 50 deep in those laws already and what has changed?

                The key to ending mass shootings is to eliminate the threat as soon as possible. Hopefully before the first shot is fired through diligent adhesion to applicable laws, sufficient security to deter action, and adequate defense to diminish the damage if the firing starts. 

                Look. The guns are here. They are not going away. The system fails. It always does. Human error is common. Deviant minds are resourceful. Look back on the past and see how mass shootings generally end. Shorten the time between first and last shot. It's not utopian, but get real. 



                • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

                  Huh. That almost makes sense. I still think we need more than simply enforcing the laws on the books – but won't argue it any further tonight.

                • rudderbarkley says:

                  If the key to ending mass shootings really is "to eliminate the threat as soon as possible. Hopefully before the first shot is fired." I agree. If we'd substantially restricted access to ALL semi-automatic firearms at any point from 1988 to 1999, the gun related crime in this country (Inner-city, accidental, mass-shooting) would have already been substantially reduced. "If the key to ending mass shootings really is "to eliminate the threat as soon as possible." Then we should make it harder to get guns now, as now is the closest we'll ever get to soon.

                • RepealAndReplace says:

                  Its simple Mama: Nothing in the bill is not law already. Enforce the freaking law on the books.

                  Then why wouldn't Gardner just support the damn bill? Why go through all the contortions he had to go through during that interview to explain his opposition to a bill that will do nothing more than tell law enforcement to enforce existing laws?

                  If he votes for the damn thing, he can crow about wanting to be part of the solution and at the same, reassure the gun nuts and the donor gun nuts that nothing has changed.

                  It's the best of both world. 

                  It's a symbolic gesture which gets him off the hook with the gun safety people. And don't try to tell me he won't support it because he wants a real solution to the problem. His real solution is simple:  thoughts and prayers for the dead.

                  • DavieDavie says:

                    The answer to Why? is simple: Sen. Cory Gardner (R – NRA)
                    Alias Sen. Cory Gardner (R- Biggest Donors)
                    or again, quite simply: Sen. Cory Gardner (R – Not You)

                  • Negev says:

                    I would presume, as most gun owners do, that anything with Schumer and Feinsteins name on it must be bad or part of a continual erosion of gun rights. Can you blame Gardner for thinking that as well? Is there ANY legislation that includes Gardner and Schumer/Feinstein signatures on it?

                    If I were to hear, without even knowing a bill, that Gardner supported Feinstein I would be apprehensive of it and doubt the intent of both of them, not just Feinstein. Guilt by association I suppose…..


                    • Diogenesdemar says:

                      You apparently spend far too much time with the irredeemable idiot gun owners, and not enough time with us sensible ones . . . 

                      PS: Care to list a few examples of your gun rights “erosion” — shouldn’t be too difficult to enumerate a quick dozen or so, seeing how they’ve been “continual”??

                    • Negev says:

                      "When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser"

                      – Socrates-

                      1936 NFA Act
                      1968 Gun Control Act
                      1993 Brady Handgun Violence act
                      1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act
                      1988 Undetectable Firearms Act
                      1989 Weapons importation ban
                      1990 Gun-Free School Zones Act
                      1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban (expired 2004)
                      2007 NICS improvement act
                      2013 Colorado gun bills – (Increase in gun deaths after)

                    • Diogenesdemar says:

                      Nope. That’s just a list of acts and laws.  What rights were “eroded” by these??

                    • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

                      Feinstein, Schumer, and Gardner walked onto the Senate floor….and voted yes on most of Trump's cabinet. As well as Judge Gorsuch.

                      On ending the government shutdown, Schumer and Gardner voted yes, Feinstein No.

                      With Schumer and a dozen other Democrats on the bipartisan immigration bill.

                      And 89 other bills sponsored or cosponsored with Schumer, none with Feinstein.

                      Gardner did NOT cosponsor Cormyn’s original “Fix NICS Act of 2017” bill, although 30 Republicans and 2 Independents did. (See link referenced below)

                      8 "Thoughts and Prayers" resolutions

                      So Gardner votes with Schumer…and other Democrats – quite a bit.

                      To your other point, I had to laugh when I saw your list of laws and Acts that had "eroded your gun rights" – aren't these exactly the laws that you were saying should be enforced, because they aren't being enforced? Or are you just getting twisted up in your own doublespeak?

                      This one's a Yes or No question. Is there ANY gun legislation, passed at any time, which you would support?

                      If so, please name it. Waiting…

                    • Negev says:

                      Yes Mama, there is legislation I would support:

                      Do not utilize a firearm in a manner in which harm or death comes to other individuals due to the owners recklessness or irresponsible use.

                      That about covers it. 



                • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

                  Just FYI, the link you cited to the Gun Owners of America fundraising page that purports to show that you lose your guns because of unpaid traffic tickets – that's false, according to the tree huggers at the NSSF (firearms industry group).

                  The one that says that SSI recipients will all lose their guns – also false – unless they have been adjudicated by a court as unable to manage their own affairs because of mental illness in which case they probably have bigger problems than what size ammo to buy.


                  I saw your reply on “What legislation would you support?” but instead of citing a specific bill or law, as you did with all of the laws that “erode your rights”, you merely trot out a generalization that people should not use guns irresponsibly.

                  So in other words, you’ve never met a law limiting guns that you liked. Ever.

                  • Negev says:

                    Many warrants show up on background checks, which may or may not include bench, criminal, and civil  – so currently if you have unpaid parking tickets you dispute, and fail to appear, you will be issued a bench warrant and fail a background check. Read the link. You can fail a background check for not paying child support. This is current law.

                    Mentally adjudicated by a court is also already the test for denial.

                    OK sorry this is the legislation I support:

                    18 U.S. CODE 1111



                    Tell me which mass shooting this law would not have prevented.

                    • Diogenesdemar says:

                      Ummmm, . . .

                      . . . all of them?

                    • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

                      So if murder is against the law, clearly we don't need any more laws to prevent murders. Since the USA is  the gun violence murder capitol of industrialized countries.

                      Since sexual assault is against the law, of course laws to protect victims or punish perpetrators are unnecessary.

                      Since making alliances with foreign powers is considered treachery and is against the law, of course Mueller's investigation of Trump-Russia collusion should immediately be dropped.

                      Pure nonsense. You should be ashamed of putting out such specious reasoning.

                      So again, Negev is against all laws limiting guns. Full stop. Good to know.

                      Here's what the firearms industry guy wrote:

                      “Will more prohibited people who are currently–under current law, prohibited persons–be increased in the database? Yes. That is exactly the point. Will it result in more innocent people being incorrectly swept into the system? No. It will not.”

                      It strains credulity to believe that tens of thousands of Americans will be denied the right to purchase firearms because they forgot to pay a traffic ticket or to appear in court to contest the charge and that a warrant was issued for their arrest without their knowledge.

                      The definition of a prohibited person is not being expanded. Unelected government bureaucrats cannot unilaterally and arbitrarily put the names of law-abiding Americans into the NICS database to stop them from buying firearms. But it will stop prohibited people like the murderer of the innocent victims in Sutherland Springs from being able to purchase firearms from a federally licensed firearms retailer.

                      Negev’s reply is below. There are no more reply boxes, and we’re definitely past that “exercise in futility” threshold. He will never support any law limiting gun purchases, expanding background checks, gun types, etc. Because….there are laws against murder on the books. So now you know.

                    • Negev says:

                      Do you hear what you area saying? The law that makes murder illegal does not stop murder. Hmm. Lets make another. And another. One more. Why aren't all these new laws preventing criminals from murdering? We are now arguing over the validity of a law that literally disqualifies Federal employee from bonus pay for not enforcing the law that was made prior to this law, and the prior law did nothing to stop the murder. 

                      Are you fucking kidding me? And I'm the idiot. 

  4. unnamed says:

    Man!  Watching the video was painful.  One thing that amazes me about Gardner: his ability to use so many words to say so little.

  5. davebarnesdavebarnes says:

    Cory is trying to talk about guns without using any verbs.
    No verbs means no getting in trouble.

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