Sunday, December 16, 2012

End The Gun Madness

Not long ago, I was sitting in the subway with my daughter when an unruly passenger entered. Before he was thrown off by the conductor, he announced, "If I had a gun, I'd kill every one of you." I believed him.

Proponents of concealed weapons contend that if everyone were armed, we'd all be safer since we'd be able to fire back. I dread to think of a shootout in a packed subway car. To those who contend that "an armed society is a polite society," such an expression is obscene in view of the unspeakable Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, along with all the other gun massacres that have become a horrendous regular feature of American life.

The loosening of laws throughout the country allowing the carrying of guns in schools, libraries, state parks, hospitals, restaurants, bars, arenas and public transportation is part of the NRA's dismantling of all sensible gun control. Even most gun owners back some restrictions that the NRA opposes; most favor universal background checks, restrictions on concealed weapons and banning people on terrorist watch lists from obtaining guns. How about restricting the amount of weapons or the frequency of purchase? Why are magazines that hold 30 rounds legal? How can we justify the lapse of the ban on assault weapons? (By the way, I refuse to engage in any more absurd discussions with gun enthusiasts whose delicate sensibilities are offended by the term "assault weapon.") How is it that "Stand Your Ground" laws haven't been repealed? Why don't we have strong national laws to trace guns and uncover rogue dealers? How can we accept a gun show background check loophole?

The prevalence of gun massacres and our permissive gun laws are no coincidence. Also related to the permissiveness is our corrupt political system. The NRA is able to pay off politicians to do their bidding, public safety be damned.

In March, Rachel Maddow asked what it takes for us to enact sensible national gun control. Don't the deaths of 20 young schoolchildren shot multiple times at close range and 7 brave women attempting to protect them prompt the entire nation to end the gun madness?

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