On June 12, 2016, Orlando suffered an unfathomable tragedy when a lone gunman entered the Pulse Club and opened fire on its guests; a massacre that left 49 dead and dozens more wounded. On June 20, 2016, the United States suffered a second equally incomprehensible tragedy when the Senate rejected four gun reform bills along party lines.
Two of these bills were sponsored by Democrats and two were sponsored by Republicans, but the NRA seems to hold more power over Congress than “We the People.” It’s time for that to stop.
We need leadership that understands its responsibility to provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States just as it’s called upon to do in the Constitution. While Republicans cling to a hyper interpretation of the Second Amendment, Democrats allow them to get away with it. That also has to stop.
The American people are in agreement. According to a Quinnipiac University poll conducted last December, 83 percent of registered voters support banning gun purchases for people on the government’s terrorist watch list. There wasn’t a serious partisan divide on the issue either with 89 percent of Democrats and 77 percent of Republicans supporting it. In fact, 80 percent of gun-owning households supported the concept. Yet, we can’t get the United States Senate to agree to anything similar.
The Republican argument is that any gun reform is the equivalent to gun control; an attempt to restrict and track ownership in a manner that eliminates the freedom protected by the Second Amendment. At some point, the People are entitled to an intelligent debate rather than one that starts with a false assumption.
Gun reform doesn’t equate to gun control. It doesn’t take away the right to own a gun under the Second Amendment. It merely applies a rational criterion to ownership that inures to the general welfare of everyone.
Let me share an analogy. We require automobiles to be registered and owners to be licensed. Has that denied anyone access to owning a car? Yet, Republicans would have you believe that registering guns and licensing gun owners would be the equivalent of denying access to owning a gun.
The reality is that we are only suggesting that reasonable measures be put in place to lessen the probability of catastrophic shootings from occurring. We shouldn’t have to be reminded by the another Aurora theater, another Sandy Hook Elementary, another Regional Center in San Bernardino, or another Pulse Club before we step up and do the right thing.
No law can guarantee 100 percent safety, but the argument that we shouldn’t do anything is as insane as the people who use guns to conduct mass executions. It dishonors the lives of those that were lost because we failed to even try to take action.
It’s time to put partisan politics aside and to ignore the lure of NRA money. It’s time to identify reasonable means to fairly vet those who wish to exercise their Second Amendment right in a manner that protects our society rather than threatens it.
If we pursue a sensible solution, what have we got to lose? If we don’t, I can tell you what we will continue to lose: Lives.
Another gun reform bill is scheduled for a vote today. Let’s take the first step toward lowering the risk of senseless killings.
Those are my thoughts. What are yours?
(Please feel free to express you opinion below. My only request is that you do so rationally rather than emotionally and in a civil manner that respects the rights of others to disagree.)