The NRA and gun advocates love to say “guns don’t kill people, people do.” On Friday 20 children were martyred in Connecticut. How much comfort do their parents and loved ones find in that statement today? What about the families of the teachers and principal killed trying to save the children?
Every time there is a tragedy like this one, and they are getting more frequent, Congress sends a lot of thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims. But as Fawn Johnson wrote in the NationalJournal, that is about all we get from Congress.
It is absolutely true people do kill people but almost always with guns. And on an ever increasing basis, these senseless and needless murders are becoming massacres because the weapon of choice is either a combat assault rifle, or a gun with an oversized clip. In the case of the Connecticut massacre, it appears the killer had two handguns on his person but inflicted his devastation with a semi-assault rifle. Nearly every victim—mostly first graders, had multiple wounds.
If he only used the hand guns, there may well have been fewer victims. If he didn’t even have the assault weapon, there would be fewer victims, fewer funerals, and fewer unopened Christmas gifts.
President Obama spoke for nearly everyone in America and around the world when he said “Our hearts were broken today.” Everyone I have spoken to since this killing is overcome with grief. There is something especially tragic about lives of innocent children being snuffed out.
Does Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the NRA, feel the same way this Saturday morning? Or are his thoughts, like always, only focused on how he can prevent Congress from taking any action no matter how slight or inconsequential, to save lives of innocent children? His website is already on the case.
The victims have just recently been identified. Their families are still in shock and disbelief at this horror. Now is not the time to get into a big argument over gun control. But that argument needs to begin in earnest once the last baby has been laid to rest. There have been too many funerals, too much blood, and too much sadness for this to wait a second longer than that.
Many Americans including many political leaders—almost all Democrats plus New York’s Independent Mayor are not waiting. They are calling for action on at least a ban on assault weapons. They were banned in this country under Bill Clinton, but the NRA, with Republican help, managed to get that repealed.
This is not a 2nd amendment issue. Hunters and sportsmen do not need combat weapons. They belong on the battlefield, not is a first grade classroom, or a mall, or a movie theater.
It is highly unlikely that this Congress will cross Wayne LaPierre and the NRA. But it is likely that there will be a battle. Perhaps the battle itself will inspire citizens to make their voices heard over the money and power of the NRA. Perhaps many NRA members themselves will say that enough is enough and communicate that to Mr. LaPierre in a way that gets his attention.
There is a chance, however, that some states could pass assault rifle bans. That in itself would begin to give fight back to the disheartened supporters of reasonable gun laws who have seen too few victories and too many losses of late.
If these 20 children’s lives were not enough, what will be enough? Polls show that Americans cooled on gun control laws mainly because of an advertisement campaign by the NRA. However, the scenes of Connecticut, Oregon, Aurora, Wisconsin, Columbine, Virginia Tech, and all the carnage on the streets will eventually reach such a critical mass that it will sway public opinion again. When that happens, assault weapons will likely be banned again.
Over the next few weeks, we will learn how many deaths it will take.
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