BRACK:  Demand real gun control

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By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |   Let me be crystal clear:  It is time for real gun control.

No more pussyfooting around the edges.  No more talk and blather as more people are killed in mass shootings in churches, schools, nightclubs and music festivals.

Real. Gun. Control.

Let me also be clear:  This does not mean the government is going to take away your guns. Remember when President Obama got elected president and the nutcases shouted and screamed that he would take away guns?  Did he?  No.  Instead, a vocal sub-minority of zealots pitched an NRA-led fit to make people believe authorities would take away their guns.  And the violence continued.

The need for real gun control isn’t about the Second Amendment, despite what assault-rifle activists want you to believe.  The Second Amendment does not prohibit reasonable rules on ownership of guns.

The need for real gun control is an effort of common sense in a modern society that wants more safety by making it harder for anyone to buy a weapon that can be altered to spew a rat-a-tat-tat of dozens of bullets per second.  When the Second Amendment was passed, a musket shot one bullet with one trigger pull — and then it took a few moments to reload.  A bump-stock-altered, military-style rifle wasn’t in the minds of the Founding Fathers when they passed the Bill of Rights more than 200 years ago.

The need for real gun control is about toning down the violence. Stricter rules for guns — extensive background checks, better licenses, longer waiting periods, curbs on gun shows and more — will lead to less gun violence.  It’s worked in the past.  It can work again.  And it didn’t take away guns from the millions of legitimate owners in the past.  

Enjoy driving a car?  It’s a pretty sad state of affairs when it’s easier to own a gun than it is to own a car.

As a popular meme in social media relates, cars are more regulated than guns.  First, you have to get a license, which entails getting training, passing a written test, passing a driving test, passing a vision test and getting insurance in case you hurt someone while using a car.  Then, you have to show proof of insurance when you buy a car, register it with authorities to get a title and pay tax to get a license plate.  

It’s encouraging this week after the Las Vegas tragedy to read how the national Republican Party is entertaining the notion of getting rid of bump stocks for military-style rifles like the AR-15.  It’s also encouraging that state Rep. Leon Stavrinakis, D-Charleston, plans to introduce a bill in South Carolina to ban bump stocks.  He correctly observed, “As we have so unfortunately now learned, in the wrong hands, bump stocks can be a tool for mass murder.”

But don’t be fooled that banning bump stocks, which isn’t being completely pooh-poohed by the NRA, is real gun control.  It’s a temporary concession to quell debate on bigger issues of real gun control.  It’s part of the political game in Washington that assumes if you throw a little red meat to the voters, they won’t look at doing something more substantive and with more scope.

We can do better.  Just a year after the nightclub massacre in Orlando which left 49 dead and was then was the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, we wrote it was vital to change the trajectory on gun violence:

“If we don’t do something … the optimistic, bold America that most of us knew when we grew up will become a memory. In its place will be the opposite — a pessimistic, vengeful country focused on individualism, not teamwork.  In its place will become a weakened America that our enemies want.

“It doesn’t have to be this way.  If we pull together and do some common sense things to curb the almost instant accessibility to guns that are made to kill people, we can keep our ideals and keep from spiraling into more bitterness.”

Let’s do something real this time to curb the gun violence infecting America.  Let’s not just mourn and move on.   Real gun control won’t completely stop gun violence by domestic terrorists, but it is sure a lot better than doing nothing.

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4 Comments

  1. George Wilson says:

    The shooter was just an ordinary man

    I can go into a gun store and as long as I don’t have a documented criminal record, I can buy an assault rifle with a magazine capacity of 30, 45 or even 100 rounds. A weapon designed ONLY for targeting people, in large numbers. And nobody knows my mindset, or just what exactly I intend to do with that assault rifle, or several assault rifles. Many of my friends have quit the NRA a long time ago when it became obvious they were pure shills for any kind of weapon, munitions, silencers, armor-piercing bullets. Really, who outside of law enforcement should have those? For one man’s supposed right to bear arms (let’s forget about the accompanying bit about context of well-regulated militia) almost 600 people and their families have been devastated. Lowering the flag to half-staff and having yet another moment of silence is absolutely obscene when we know, with certainty, that some other undiagnosed psycho armed to the teeth is probably already wondering how he can claim the mantle of the worst mass shooting. And yet Congress, specifically the GOP, does nothing to head it off. It’s unconscionable.

    The Second Amendment is a farce, a white-only privilege. When blacks are executed by the police in open-carry states for legally possessing guns, the psycho killers at the NRA say nothing. The 2nd amendment is not about gun rights, it’s about white fear and money. In a moment of such jarring tragedy, two sad, but indisputable realities of America 2017 were exposed — and then amplified — within minutes of the shooting:
    1. Our gun manufacturers are heavily incentivized by market demand and lax laws in most states, and by the federal government, to allow mad men to accumulate all the firepower they crave for mass killings. This didn’t change after Columbine, Sandy Hook or the many other mass shootings.
    2. President Trump and congressional Republicans have every incentive to protect the status quo and they will until they are kicked out of office.

  2. I agree that a sensible solution to the free availability of guns has to be found. I wonder if all the data from years of mass killings could be compliled and studied to find what specifically could have been done to have prevented them. What would the words of a law governing the ownership or sale of guns say that would directly impede such tragedies. Frankly I think that camel is in the tent. If the sale of guns were to stop right now, there are enough of them out there to stock a lucrative underground market. I think, perhaps, the larger issue lies in the realm of mental health: personal mental health and national mental health. I’m sure the ‘state’ could develop a mental health template that would key on certain traits or behaviors common to mass murderers and keep them under strict surveilance. This, of course, is the stuff of science fiction movies and it implementation would completely discard many Constitutional protections. This is a convoluted way of saying there are no easy solutions.

  3. Mary Lyons says:

    I liked and would support your letter but you did not go far enough. We need to do away with magazines that contain 30, 50 or 100 bullets. These are nothing but human killers. No deer hunter or bird hunter needs a magazine of 100 bullets or amor piercing bullets. Citizens do not need war weapons.
    Ban bump stocks, yes; but also ban 50 and 100 round magazines and armor piercing bullets. Our citizens cry out for help!

    • Andy Brack says:

      Mary … where are you from …I’d like to use this as a letter to the editor, Andy Brack

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