Even Senate GOP leaders claim to support the "Fix NICS" bill. Republican Sen. Cory Gardner is doing the dirty work of blocking it.

The chairman of the National Republican Senate Committee, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), intervened and stalled a universally popular gun bill intended to fix federal background checks, which has bipartisan support in Congress.

Gardner put a hold on the “Fix NICS” bill introduced by Texas’ Republican senator John Cornyn after the mass shooting in Sutherland, Texas, in November of 2017 — a bill that Cornyn has told reporters has enough votes to pass.

When questioned on “Face the Nation,” Gardner said, “I think there are some of us who are talking about due process issues in the bill … it’s a question of Constitutional rights and protecting the people.”

But Gardner is lying.

All the Fix NICS bill does is audit federal agencies to verify they are sending all the data to the gun background check system they are already legally required to. The idea is to reduce incidences such as the Sutherland Springs church shooter being allowed to buy a gun because the Air Force did not enter his bad-conduct discharge into the federal system.

But Gardner, who was elected with $4 million from the NRA, and who manages the GOP’s Senate election coffers, is sending a clear message from Capitol Hill. Even trying to enforce the gun laws we currently have will face opposition from Republican leaders.

Because the Senate gives a lot of power to individual members to slow down a bill, Gardner may now be able to demand changes or poison pills. There is no guarantee that Fix NICS will be in its current form when, and if, he allows it onto the floor.

Even the idea that criminals should not be able to illegally buy guns is now controversial. If Republicans and gun activists have broken our politics too badly for this bill to pass, then the very idea of good-faith consensus is moribund. And only voters can save it.