It is unlikely that Congress will do anything about gun safety until after the 2020 elections, when the pro-gun legislators should be voted out of office. The past is prologue and within two weeks social media, cable news, and print newspapers will jump on something besides the gun massacres in El Paso, Dayton, and Gilroy. We’ve seen this before.
It’s a shame because there are a lot of good ideas being circulated now — universal background checks, an assault weapons ban, and red flag laws. Candidates Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders all support these ideas.
But none of it will happen because of Trump, who is owned by the NRA, the Supreme Court, which enabled the mass shootings, and Congress, which hasn’t passed a gun safety law in 25 years. We will have to vote out pro-gun officials to achieve any change.
Trump’s sudden interest
Trump has lately given lip service to red flag laws and background checks, but it won’t last. He has the attention span of a flea. He’s also saying video games and crazy people are the problem (even though every other country has video games and crazy people, but not the gun violence).
His new interest has drawn a warning from the NRA. Gun lobby chief executive Wayne LaPierre spoke with Trump on Tuesday after the president expressed support for a background check bill and told him it would not be popular among Trump’s supporters.
Remember last April when Trump spoke to the NRA and called himself a champion of gun rights? Then he proved it, whipping out a pen onstage to sign a letter that would cease America’s involvement in an arms treaty designed to regulate the international sale of conventional weapons. The NRA owns Trump.
Trump opposes banning assault weapons, even though the killers in El Paso and Gilroy used AK47s, and the Dayton killer used an AR-15, to murder many people in an instant. The problem is that guns are so easy to obtain for domestic terrorists.
Arizona is the #1 most gun-friendly state in the country, where a person needs only to be age 18 to buy a gun. There have been 5 mass shootings in Arizona so far in 2019. The looser a state’s gun laws, the more mass shootings it has. In contrast, Hawaii has strict gun laws and has not had a mass shooting for 20 years. California’s new ammo background check law blocked 100 sales in the first month.
The problem with Congress
The other problem is Congress, where 242 representatives and 46 senators have solidly pro-gun positions and whom the NRA has given an “A” grade. Congress is where gun safety laws go to die. The House has already passed legislation that would require background checks for all gun sales, including online and at gun shows. But “Moscow” Mitch McConnell will not let a gun safety law come to a vote in the Senate.
Congress did pass the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act way back in 1994. Even though it was working to reduce gun violence, Congress let it expire in 2004. Then Congress gave legal immunity to gun manufacturers in 2005 with the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
Parents of children in Sandy Hook, where 27 people were slaughtered in 2012, have successfully sued Remington for wrongful death because of its dangerous marketing messages. They contend that ads like, “The forces of opposition will bow down” inspired the Sandy Hook mass murderer. The state supreme court allowed the case to proceed. However, the case has been appealed to the US Supreme Court and the Trump administration filed a brief to overturn the state high court ruling.
No help at the high court
The Supreme Court helped gun violence by ruling in 2008 in the notorious Heller decision that people have an individual right to buy, sell and carry guns. It focused on the second half of the Second Amendment:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. Then the court reaffirmed the decision in 2010 and 2017, just to make it clear that it doesn’t care about mass shootings.
To top it off, the newest member of the Court, Brett Kavanaugh, is strongly endorsed by the NRA.
There’s a lot to be discouraged about. I appeared on the John C. Scott radio show on KVOI 1030 AM on Wednesday to speak in favor of gun safety proposals. The show attracted two callers — one who said falsely that there is more gun violence in states with gun safety laws. The other said that more guns should be added into the community so that people would get more used to guns being everywhere. Where do these people get their preposterous ideas?
I’m mad as hell about gun violence. Voters have to take up the cause of gun safety individually — see my article Do This if You’re Sick of Gun Violence where I suggest 7 steps individuals can take to fight the gun insanity.
It’s up to us registered voters to make a difference. We must vote the gun proponents out of office, or face endless murders.