Please pardon the grammar in the title but today is another one of those musically inspired days. I picked the title and lyrics Randy Bachman wrote for Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s 1974 number one hit You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet. Let’s explore how this late 20th century rocker’s words portends America’s early 21st century gun problem.
A few weekends ago the entire nation’s attention seemed to be focused on El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio in the wake of back to back mass shootings. This was far from the first time in recent history that a mass shooting caught the attention of the nation. The recent mass shootings are too numerous to mention. People swore this time would be different. I disagreed and time is proving me to be correct.
Not for the first time President Trump talked a big game until he got a call from the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre. Suddenly (and predictably) his tune changed. The House had already passed gun regulations that have overwhelming public support including among gun owners. It is sitting in the Senate where Moscow Mitch McConnell refuses to bring it to the floor for a vote. Conveniently the Senate was in summer recess until September 10th and there was no way Mitch was calling them back into session. Like him or not Moscow Mitch is very talented at what he does. He knew that with the delay a plethora of other things would occur taking the shootings off the front page. The fiscal year ends with September and several must pass bills will need the Senate’s attention. With these maneuvers Mitch protected his caucus (his main concern) by not having his people have to cast an up or down vote on any gun legislation. Now they can make all the statements they want without ever having to really take any action. It’s almost a throwback to the old days of saying one thing in a town and then saying the opposite in the next town.
There is no perfect solution that will stop all mass shootings and all gun violence. However there are several common sense measures that will make them less frequent and deadly. Universal background checks with a waiting period is one of them. That includes plugging the gun show loophole. Limiting clip capacity is another. Remember Gabby Gifford’s shooter was disarmed as he was reloading. The reinstitution of the automatic weapons ban is a simple yet effective step. The police in Dayton are to be commended for their unbelievable swift actions. All the deaths and injuries were inflicted in less than 30 seconds. Importantly none of these measures would infringe upon the Second Amendment right of law abiding citizens.
What do I want? I want Moscow Mitch to put the bills on the floor for a vote. I want people like him, Joni Ernst and Thom Tillis to take a stand and then have to run on their record in 2020 (they are all up). I have little doubt that Trump will veto the legislation and the votes to override are doubtful. That is fine with me. At least everyone (including Trump) would be definitively on the record and the American people can make their decision in 2020 accordingly.
My prediction stands: Nothing will happen. If twenty babies shot to death in their school is not sufficient motivation a bunch of shopper at Walmart and some partiers in Dayton certainly aren’t. In fact I don’t know what will be and I’m not sure I want to envision it.
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