Promises on Gun Control
Published: November 23, 2012
¶President Obama’s fleeting mention of the need for stronger gun controls at a presidential debate last month was hardly the kind of forceful political statement needed to address the scourge of gun violence in this country. Even his tepid remark was considered by the nation’s gun owners as a threat to take away their firearms. In what amounts to a buyers’ panic, they are again ramping up gun and ammunition sales as they did four years ago, convinced that Mr. Obama intends a gun-control crackdown.
¶Yet in his first term, Mr. Obama did nothing to cross the gun lobby, and he actually signed legislation allowing loaded firearms to be carried in national parks. Let’s hope Mr. Obama shows more courage on guns in his second term. He said during the debate that he would see “if we can get an assault weapons ban reintroduced” and that we need to look at “other sources of the violence,” like “cheap handguns.” Now it’s time to follow through on those promises.
¶Wary politicians, including Mr. Obama, will issue statements of mourning for the victims in mass shootings, which seem to happen ever more frequently. But they refuse to say much about 30,000 American lives that are lost each year because of shootings.
¶Horrific incidents like the massacre in July at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., and the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and murder of six others in Tucson last year produced vows in Congress to screen the mentally ill more effectively and to ban battlefield clips of 100 rounds of ammunition that have no place in a civilized country. But there have been more than 60 multiple shooting incidents since the Tucson shooting, and nothing has been done to make such killings less likely in the future.
¶Mr. Obama talked about starting “a broader conversation” about reducing gun violence. The best place to start is in Congress, which has been grossly negligent toward constituent safety for the past 20 years as it bows to the demands of the gun lobby.
¶The lobby’s defense of unregistered and untracked gun sales at black market flea markets and weekend gun shows is strongly opposed by Americans in opinion polls. In fact, four out of five gun owners see the wisdom of checking on anonymous sellers and buyers.
¶Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who was a principal in the 1994 enactment of a 10-year ban on civilian use of assault rifles, intends to propose its reinstatement. “Weapons of war do not belong on our streets, in our classrooms, in our schools or in our movie theaters,” she said after the Aurora killings. This bill affords President Obama an opportunity to follow through on his 2008 campaign promise to work to revive the ban.
¶Mr. Obama is free of the pressures of campaigning — and free to lead the nation toward sensible laws that can help reduce the flood of guns and related homicides.
¶The need for strong leadership on this issue is growing as statehouse politicians cave to ever more lethal demands from the gun lobby. State laws allowing students to go armed to class in Colorado, freeing owners in Oklahoma to wear holstered weapons in public, and letting people “stand your ground” in Florida and a score of other states have already damaged public safety immeasurably.
My letter is below:
Sadly, many view (rightly in my opinion) any new legislation as simply a "first step" in the elimination of civilian ownership of firearms. For the same reason that I, and many others of similar mind, hold our noses and support a complete right for a woman to terminate her pregnancy, we oppose any new efforts for gun control. As with the extreme right to life crowd, the extreme anti-gunners will simply take any concession that they can get and then begin looking for the next one. Therefore, we will not give an inch on either issue.
Whenever the question of gun control comes up the proposals rarely are directed at bad guys. They, rather, are designed to make legal ownership that much more difficult. Whether thru increased costs for licensing, unreasonable "training" requirements or limitations on what firearms can be owned, these proposals have but one aim: to disarm the US population. Beware a call for "reasonable restrictions". I suspect that they will result in rules (that are not negotiable) which will present roadblocks for the good guys and do nothing about the criminals.
I think that increasingly, gun ownership is an area where the left and right find common ground. Gun ownership is a right, like free speech, and is there to preserve or liberty. Again, the Times is out of step with the American population with it's strident calls for more gun control. I think that your stock performance is the best indicator of this.