It may be nearly impossible to pass stronger gun control legislation in Congress soon. And though it may be a better strategy right now to focus on the states, such an approach is a half measure.
While some states have assault weapons restrictions in place, others continue to make themselves willing tools of the National Rifle Assn. As a result, residents of states with stronger regulations are held hostage by states with weaker ones.
Only a strong federal law on guns can ensure that all citizens have equal protection from those few who shouldn’t be trusted with firearms. And absolutely no private citizen needs an assault weapon.
Those who want stronger federal regulations should vote against representatives who can’t find it in their ideological hearts to pass sensible gun laws.
President Obama said it was “shameful” that the Senate didn’t heed public opinion on background checks. The Bill of Rights is not subject to public opinion. Our Founding Fathers created this document to ensure that our civil liberties could never be swayed by the prevailing political winds.
The 2nd Amendment’s intent is clear. In post-Puritan Colonial America, home burglaries were not likely to have been a major issue and hunting was an unchallenged way of life. The only gun issue our new nation faced in the 1780s was the memory of oppression and tyranny by British troops.
The 2nd Amendment guarantees that citizens who may be oppressed by a government are armed. The fact that some would try to dilute it is proof of its necessity.
Gun fanatics say that nothing being proposed in Congress would have any real effect on gun violence. Indeed, in the case of the shootings in Newtown, Conn., the assault weapon used was legally purchased but later stolen; background checks alone would not have stopped the massacre.
But other measures opposed by the NRA and Republicans, in particular the proposals to limit assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, would have directly impacted the Newtown shootings.
Gun fanatics think they are being clever to pick a specific murderous action, identify a particular proposal that would not precisely address it and leap to the generalization that no laws will help. If laws can’t reduce gun violence, why do strong measures work in the rest of the civilized world?
La Cañada Flintridge