Last week Sunday, almost 10% of a small Texas town’s population was shot to death in a church. I can all but guarantee you that gun regulations in this country will get more lax if anything. You say: counterintuitive? You are correct in your thinking, but I’ll tell you why it will and what has happened in the wake of mass shootings. Let’s explore.
As of the Sutherland Springs, Texas shooting (November 5th) 531 Americans had died and 1,619 other had been wounded in mass shootings in 2017 alone (source: massshootingtracker.org). That is a total of 2,150 Americans who were victims in mass shootings. I accept the American gun culture but I emphatically do not accept that number of innocent victims of mass shootings in this country!
The problem is getting worse not better. The fourth quarter of 2017 has seen two of the biggest mass shootings in American history; the aforementioned Texas church shooting and the October 1st shooting of concert goers in Las Vegas that took 59 lives.
Gabby Giffords, then a Democratic member of Congress was shot on January 8, 2011 and a Republican member Steve Scalise on June 14, 2017. Victims are bi-partisan. The most shocking incident was on December 14, 2012 when 20 babies were shot to death in their elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Yet Congress has yet to pass any legislation tightening gun regulations. The Republicans actually had the nerve to filibuster the Manchin-Toomey Amendment which in its water down form would have imposed moderate regulations that were backed by nearly 90% of Americans.
In the aftermath of Las Vegas, legislation was introduced in Congress to restrict the sale of bump stocks. Instead of being passed in a heartbeat that legislation is on its way to death because some are saying that it is more appropriately handled with an ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) regulation. Pardon me for feeling their “jurisdictional concern” is malarkey.
The culprit is the NRA. Long ago the NRA ceased being a sportsman’s’ organization that promoted gun safety. It has long been the lobbying arm of the gun manufacturers and all they care about is more sales. To them nothing else matters. Via money they have sufficient control over almost the entire Republican delegation in Congress along with sway over several Democrats. An NRA lobbyist can use money as both a carrot and a stick. They can offer continued financial support if the member plays ball or threaten to not only withdraw it, but offer it to an (most likely primary) opponent.
While I’m on the topic of the NRA I want to debunk one of its myths – the good guy with a gun myth. It can be argued that the Texas incident was stopped by a good guy with a gun. In the 22 incidents that preceded it where a non-law enforcement citizen’s intercession stopped the event that citizen was unarmed. Back when I coached if the defense has stopped my out-of-bounds play way less than 22 times I would have run another play.
President Trump (another NRA loyalist) likes to say that these incidents are mental illness not gun problems. If he really believes that why was one of his administration’s first acts to rescind an Obama-era rule that prevented those who were declared too mentally incompetent to handle their own social security payment ineligible to buy a handgun? Something strikes me as disingenuous there. How about you?
In the aftermath of Sandy Hook many state legislatures weakened, not strengthened gun regulations. The influence of the NRA is not limited to Washington, D.C.
To the NRA gun sales matter; to GOP members of Congress campaign contributions matter; to all of them nothing else matters.
Metallica’s 1991 hit Nothing Else Matters inspired the title of and two lines in this article.
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