The Red Sox and Yankees wore insigniae commemorating the Newtown massacre and observed a moment’s silence. It was a virtually meaningless gesture. There’s only one thing that will help. And that’s to do at a national level a deal like that agreed on yesterday by Connecticut lawmakers.
Although crime is generally down, in recent years, mass killings have increased dramatically. According to at least one report, there were seven in 2012 alone. And even if we’re not talking about mass killings, what about the rate of gun murders, Huffington Post reports thousands of gun deaths and accidental killings since Sandy Hook. And that number doesn’t include suicides commited by guns.
The President is campaigning across the country to ban assault weapons, limit the size of ammunition clips, expand background checks and increase mental health services. The Senate may vote within two weeks, but it’s already a pathetically watered down bill that would not include assault rifles, perhaps not large ammunition clips, and would even exclude inter-family transfer of guns. Thus, it would have no affect on situations like Newtown, where Nancy Lanza gave son Adam his lethal weapons. Happy birthday, son.
The ever-fickle American public is losing appetite for the challenge. In December, 57 percent supported an assault weapons ban. Today some polls have it down to 47 percent. It took five years to pass the Brady bill in the 1990’s. When it finally passed, it was a significantly watered down version. Part of its failure to have an impact was its anemic scope of coverage. We can’t wait another five years to treat gun safety seriously.
The NRA is spending a ton of money, including targeting Democrats running for reelection in 2014, individuals like Montana Senator Max Baucus and Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu. Today the NRA unveiled its plan for training and arming guards for every school in the nation. If you want to look at the NRA’s vision of the world, look at the heavy security, including a bomb-sniffing dog, present when it unveiled its proposals. It wants more public funds spent there than on shaping and implementing serious mental health proposals.
Huge majorities in all polls support serious background checks. Large majorities support other measures. But the NRA is outgunning the gun safety advocates. They’ve been very effective in turning the discussion from gun safety to people not liking to be told what’s good for them, especially by that hectoring New Yorker Michael Bloomberg.
As the President said, “Shame on us if we’ve forgotten.” Connecticut, which prior to Sandy Hook had urged Bushmaster to move its national gun headquarters to the Nutmeg State, Connecticut, the home of the the National Shooting Sports Foundation, didn’t forget.
How many more Newtowns will it take to get federal action?
I welcome your comments in the section below.