Is It Time Yet?

Have we dispensed with enough thinking and praying? Has enough “respect and mourning” time passed? Have our hearts had enough time to go out to the victims and families? Perhaps now we can start a national conversation on some common sense gun control legislation. Yes, the current thinking is “if murdered children in Newtown won’t motivate elected leaders to change, nothing will.” Call me naïve, but I still hold out hope.

Connecticut US Sen. Chris Murphy.

Those whose minds are so closed they’ll never open have spent the last three days rejecting any and all references to the starkly lax gun laws in Nevada and nationally. Now maybe we talk about it.

Stephen Paddock have enough weaponry, ammunition and assorted support material for a well-regulated militia. Yet, I don’t think that’s what the Founders had in mind.

Weapons found on the floor of Stephen Paddock’s hotel room.

 

Yes, there is a Second Amendment. But just as one can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theater (free speech), slander or libel (free press) or form a violent mob (free assembly), constitutional freedoms are not absolute. Reasonable restrictions have always been acceptable. This should be no different.

There is, of course, no guarantee that any of these measures would have stopped Paddock, they might stop the next murderer. Let’s start with this:

• Conducting universal background checks. Despite what abject morons are saying on Facebook and other outlets, no background check is required at a gun show or for a private sale.

This piece by my friend (and college roommate) Jon Frankel of HBO’s “Real Sports” is as relevant today as it was when it aired back in 2014—perhaps more so.

 

• Banning assault weapons. Semi-automatic weapons such as the .223-caliber Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle used in Newtown are still legal in most states. No one has yet explained to me what a sportsman or a recreational shooter or even someone needing self-protection would need such a weapon.
• Prohibiting the sale of modification devices or kits. Anyone with a semi-automatic weapon can modify it to fire like a fully automatic weapon if they have $90 and access to computer and YouTube videos that explain how to do it. Something called a bump fire stock was apparently used by Paddock.

• Outlawing high-capacity magazines. There is no reason to have a gun clip fire 20, 30 rounds.
• Keeping people on a terrorist watch list from possessing a gun. Yes, some people are mistakenly put on such lists but I am ok with their inconvenience.
• Confiscating guns from domestic abusers. Yes, I used the word “confiscating.” If you have been arrested for domestic abuse, you should at least temporarily give up your guns.

I am calling out all the cowards in state legislatures and in Congress who are wholly owned property of the NRA. This mass-murder-aiding-and-abetting group has such a hammerlock on our elected officials it’s stunning.

This is a singularly American problem and an American solution is possible. All it takes is some courage on behalf of our elected officials.

Is it time yet?

Your thoughts?

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