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What to do Now with Guns Fever

Don Rose 17 December 2012 12 Comments

Has the slaughter of 20 small children finally stirred enough politicians to risk the wrath of the National Rifle Association by taking a few protective steps to prevent continuing repeats of this and the other horrendous mass murders we have come to expect in this gun-obsessed society?

The president, who was shaken so visibly by the killings, said finally it’s time for action—unspecified. He has dodged the issue of any form of gun control as long as he’s been in the White House, scared into silence by the ludicrous but persistent lie that he wants to take away your guns—whoever you are and wherever you are.

It’s understandable. The NRA is the most powerful and scarifying lobby in Washington—surpassing even AIPAC.

 

The Democrats, as I pointed out a couple of weeks ago, surrendered to the NRA in their 2004 platform, which, for the first time included a plank supporting Second Amendment rights—well before the US Supreme Court ruled on the issue.

There are fewer than 100 congressional districts where a candidate can advocate any form of gun control with no fear of defeat. Those are mostly big-city districts where mayors and police chiefs also support gun control.

Is there anyone else in Congress who is willing to stand up and actually legislate on behalf of future victims of future Newtown and Auroras and Columbines?

I was stupefied to read in Charles Blow’s New York Times column that a 53 percent majority of Americans don’t even support a ban on assault weapons.

Yet that seems to be the first and possibly the only immediately feasible step that could be taken, given today’s legislative climate or the politics of the Supreme Court.

We had a ten-year ban on assault weapons—which belong only in the hands of the military and perhaps some urban police forces that face drug gangs equipped with similar weaponry—but that expired four years ago. (Candidate Mitt Romney—remember him? —was actually unaware it had expired!)

Assault weapons fire continuously, making mass murder possible in a relatively few seconds in a crowded movie house or classroom.

The other possible legislation, perhaps, could be the banning of multi-cartridge gun clips, which turn most of today’s very common semiautomatic handguns into virtual assault weapons themselves. All the killer has to do is keep squeezing that trigger to get off twenty or thirty rounds in a minute or so.

What in the world has an assault weapon or semiautomatic handgun got to do with hunting as an avocation or target shooting as a sport?

Finally, can’t the less rabid supporters of the NRA accept the idea of strict background checks for purchasers, especially at gun shows? No, it will not filter out many mass killers, but it would be worth it to stop even one lunatic a year from repeating any of the multiple murders of recent times.

Then again, with luck Obama might soon be able to replace one or more of the real enablers of those crimes, five guys named Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Roberts and Kennedy.

**

Don Rose is a regular columnist for the Chicago Daily Observer

12 Comments »

  • John Maynard Krebbs said:

    I can’t imagine that the administration who brought us Fast and Furious cares one bit about keeping guns away from those who shouldn’t have them. Political posturing and gross ineptitude are not the way to reduce violence.

  • Whistleblower said:

    Rahm Emanuel takes control of the “Muscle”

    http://illinoispaytoplay.com/2012/12/17/rahm-emanuel-takes-control-of-the-muscle/

  • Bessie said:

    The politicians and press will be forcing the gun contol dialogue down our throats because the mental health issue is too costly and has little hope of being solved any time soon…Anyone who has someone with a mental health issue in their family can tell you of the shame, stigma and the financial burden they face…If you are diagnosed with any kind of illness that falls under “mental health issue”, it will follow you through your life…I had a friend who was MISS diagnosed with postpardum depression (she was hypothyroid) and her insurnace doubled her rate and she was unable to purchase life insurance…

    Guns have been around for hundreds of years and mental health issues for ever so what has changed?

  • Jim Ridings said:

    How many more gun laws do we need? You won’t be satisfied until the ultimate gun law that repeals the Second Amendment and takes away all guns from everyone — but we already have that in Chicago … except the criminals and gang bangers are still allowed to have guns. No gun law would have stopped this nut, and no gun law will stop the next nut.

  • Bessie said:

    The politicians have to tout “gun laws” from their soap boxes because the “mental health” issue is far to strenuous, complicated and costly esepecially with Obamacare around the corner…It is better to keep everyones crazy uncle locked in the basement keeping him chained with shame and stigma occupying him with dirty magazines, comic books & whiskey like the good old day’s…Only now the magazines have been replaced with video games and the whiskey replaced with anti-depresent meds…Talking ‘guns’ is just easier and it will look like they are working.

  • Herb Dulzo said:

    No one is talking about it but this is a result unintended consequences from another law. Specifically HEPA law which restrict disemination of health information.

    50 countries plus many law enforcement agencies use the Bushmaster AR-15. Trying to pan something like that is just plane silly. As far as the logic of what can they use it for, essentially personal defense and indeed entertainment. A ban on video games would be just as stupid though they are much less usfull than guns.
    For the record, I don’t own a gun.

  • Michael R said:

    What’s this: “Then again, with luck Obama might soon be able to replace one or more of the real enablers of those crimes, five guys named Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Roberts and Kennedy”

    Which one do you want to die, Don?

  • Ward Heeler said:

    There is a common thread in the sensationalized killings in Newton, Denver, at Virginia Tech and, yes, the shooting of Representative Giffords in Arizona: the mental health system failed to protect the public from persons who were clearly a danger to themselves and others.

    Instead of confiscating all guns from lawful owners, it would be beneficial for mentally deranged individuals to be taken off of the street. Mainstreaming such disabled persons has proven to be a disaster.

  • Bessie said:

    I am not advocating a “ban” on video games, I do think there should be more studies on how the effect young people, kids with learning disabilities and mental illness…I have five kids and I can tell you from my own experience that they do behave differently when they have too much “screen time”…The government invest millions of dollars on stupid studies every day, I just think this one would be worth investing in.

  • Michael R said:

    Is it really logical that we confiscate guns from the law abiders because a mentally ill man may steal them. Agreed that we should confiscate the “ticking time bombs” rather than guns.

    Jeanette Sliwinski also suffered mental illness. She decided to end it all by crashing her car into another car, killing three innocents but sparing herself. We have not yet realized the effect of having so many mentally ill and medicated people driving around us.

  • Jim Ridings said:

    You can thank the liberals for all the mentally ill people on the streets. A few decades ago, they decided that mentally ill people should not be locked up because they were not criminals and had not been convicted of anything, and they should be given their freedom. So all of a sudden we had an explosion in the homeless population, caused by liberals, and which they blamed on heartless Republicans.

  • Richard Channing said:

    “What in the world has an assault weapon or semiautomatic handgun got to do with hunting as an avocation or target shooting as a sport?”

    I need to see where hunting or sport is written or implied in the Constitution. Your help would be greatly appreciated.

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