Government Of the Gun Lobby, By the Gun Lobby, For the Gun Lobby?

3 Apr
That's not how I remember it...

That’s not how I remember it…

Just over 100 days ago, Adam Lanza killed his mother, took two guns from her house to Sandy Hook Elementary School, and killed two dozen people there, most of them children under the age of eight. This horrific shooting capped a year with dozens of deaths in public shootings. Public sentiment quickly turned to the need to revisit gun control legislation.

Two basic proposals have massive support, even four months later. Universal background checks for gun purchases enjoys between 80 and 90 percent support cutting across party lines and declared political ideology. Bans or restrictions on certain assault weapons and high capacity clips (the things that made Lanza’s killing spree possible) enjoy 60 to 70 percent support, including a plurality of Republicans. The people want things to change.

Congress has done nothing. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D – CA) sponsored an assault weapons ban. Sen. Charles Schumer (D – NY) led a bipartisan attempt to craft background check legislation. Everything is stalled out in the Senate and the House has made it clear that no action is forthcoming. Why won’t Congress listen to the will of the people? Apparently they are more afraid of the NRA than they are interested in doing their jobs.

Since Sandy Hook, public opinion of the NRA has plummeted. Lunatic spokesman Wayne LaPierre’s bizarre rants and proposal to arm every school have been met with scorn and disapproval. Somehow, however, the fear that the NRA will fund opponents of gun control has Congress paralyzed. The myth of the power of the Second Amendment and the very loud “out of my cold, dead hands” minority are ruling the day.

There has been a little progress. Connecticut (not surprisingly) is poised to pass sweeping new gun regulations; New York already has. So has Colorado, long a bastion of Western libertarianism and gun freedom. In the special election to pick the Democrat to replace Jesse Jackson, Jr. in Illinois, Robin Kelly ran on a strong gun control platform. Despite NRA resistance, she won handily, speaking to the needs of the district. These should be lessons.

Instead, judges who have ruled for reasonable gun restrictions are filibustered and no reasonable laws are moving. The American people overwhelmingly want action. We need to speak up. Contact your Representative and Senator. Insist that they take action and remind them that the will of the people is bigger than the NRA’s purse. It’s time we ensured that our representative government really represents us.

7 Responses to “Government Of the Gun Lobby, By the Gun Lobby, For the Gun Lobby?”

  1. Bruce Kestelman April 3, 2013 at 7:16 am #

    I believe much of the standoff is related to the fact that in many states the popular vote is no longer as meaningful as it was before districts were gerrymandered by the GOP legislatures following the 2010 census.
    Because of the hyper partisan districts often it is the primary that is more important than the general election. As such, the folks who win in the primary need to appeal to the core base of the party. Often this means that folks who get elected and stay elected are focused on the interests of voters who are more concerned with their gun rights and fear that any limits will mean the eventual elimination of those rights.
    If there was a national referendum, then there would be limits, but there will be no changes as long as states are allowed to gerrymander districts in an extreme partisan manner. Some states, like Iowa and California have non partisan approaches, but that’s not the case in many others.
    Currently, only nine states have a nonpartisan approach to redistricting.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 3, 2013 at 7:18 am #

      Fantastic point, which I neglected to address is how the GOP has managed to gerrymander so many districts. I so appreciate your voice and thank you for including the link.

  2. Jennifer Carey April 3, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    I don’t understand why people, regardless of their stance on gun rights, don’t recognize that the NRA is *not* a civil rights or constitutional rights group. They are a lobbying group. It’s like listening to Big Tobacco on lung cancer research.

  3. Bruce Kestelman April 3, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    Thanks Michael, and it is important to repeat, that if not for you and your blog, there would not be this wonderful, inclusive and accepting forum for many important conversations. Many thanks.

    OK, so continuing my thought:

    I think the hard fight will be less around specific issues and instead about finding common ground across broad constituencies. It will be about transforming states from partisan to non-partisan approaches for redistricting and for continuing to turn out the vote from every nook and cranny for President and Senators to help ensure that eventually the US Supreme Court and state supreme courts will achieve and sustain progressive (or non-partisan) majorities.
    How do we help move folks from self-interest (and selfishness) to service and enlightened self-interest? How do we find that common ground?
    I think it’s possible. When I was at Planned Parenthood in the late 70’s, we were able to work with the Catholic Archdiocese on education sessions for natural family planning. There was common ground and it worked and was successful. It can be done, I still believe.

  4. Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 3, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

    Thank you for reblogging this, Nancy.


  1. Government Of the Gun Lobby, By the Gun Lobby, For the Gun Lobby? | The Solipsistic Me | Central Oregon Coast NOW - April 3, 2013

    […] Government Of the Gun Lobby, By the Gun Lobby, For the Gun Lobby? | The Solipsistic Me. […]

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