President Obama is in a unique and powerful position. Now, while the nation is still displaying its anguish about The Connecticut grade school shootings, is the best time to begin any changes in gun control. He has no worries about re-election. Many members of Congress are lame ducks, and there is a small but steady stream of Senators reversing their positions about firearms control.
While the fiscal problems he is dealing with are of utmost priority, there is nothing to prevent him opening and maintaining a national review and reworking of gun laws in these United States. The public really understands very little of the so-called “fiscal cliff.” It is a manufactured crisis that is more about which branch of government will be able to tell its base to celebrate a victory. The public may not understand the ins and outs of gun control, but it does understand that murdering 26 children and teachers is wrong and must not happen again.
The anti-gun lobby wants a ban on almost all guns. . The extreme edge of the anti-gun lobby wants to round up and eliminate all guns. That will not happen. There are millions of legitimate hunters, target shooters, and other competition shooters who obtain guns legally, store them safely, and use them with utmost caution. Their privileges under the law should not be endangered.
The pro-gun lobby wants open ownership, open carry, unregulated possession with the extremist edge advocating private ownership of every type of firearm imaginable, including machine guns, anti-aircraft guns, and any weapon that they can acquire.
Many of the pro-gun people have fallen prey to the anti-government, hate group, militias, and “take back America” propaganda. These groups use fear of social collapse, xenophobia, anti-Islam, and dozens of other excuses to recruit members and to expand their audience.
The primary causation for Friday’s murders was the easy accessibility of high powered, high capacity firearms to a person with an unstable mental status that led him to kill. Without the weapons readily available he would not have been able to carry out as many murders.
It should come as no surprise that with the blood on the walls still not dry from Friday’s murders, Saturday’s gun shows were filled with people buying every handgun and long gun available. Ammunition dealers are showing depleted stores as the fear of confiscation drives hoarding.
Who is at fault? The gun owner, who paid with her life, was at fault, along with every violent movie and video game that fell into the hands of a disturbed and/or mentally ill individual. Add to the list of the guilty, The NRA, other gun lobbys, the survivalists, secessionists, religious hate mongers. Don’t forget the demagogues who will stand over the newly filled graves and proclaim that these murders happened because “God is no longer welcome in our schools. “ They may also blame the major social and cultural changes, such as the redefinition of marriage and women’s right; which threaten the power and income of the churches and demagogues. We can put up with the status quo or we can behave like civilized people around the world. We can limit the type of guns we allow citizens to own without limiting the legitimate hunter or target shooter’s access to the tools of his or her sport. The 2nd Amendment defines a privilege, not an unlimited right. We no longer need neighborhood militias. There is no reason to believe that a bunch of want-to-be commandos is going to protect the nation from a “tyrannical government.” Nor will such a group frighten or defeat any invading army.
But the failure to enact meaningful and long lasting laws that may help decrease the rate of gun violence lies in the hands of our legislators who take re-election funds from gun lobbyists. It lies in the hands of the corporations that make movies using violence and special effects to cover a lack of plot and acting ability; in video games that call for body counts to keep score; in paint ball and other shooting games that let the losers reset or get up and walk away unharmed. The John Wayne “its just a flesh wound” myth lives on today but the victims of the NRA’s propaganda don’t.