Gun Control Is Dead – BanG!

Takethe5th’s prognosis on Gun Control in the wake of the Aurora Massacre, Hey USA You’re in NRA’s Power Bang Killer Lottery Like It Or Not, has proven to be woefully accurate.  There has been a chorus of no gun control across all of the media. NYTimes describes clearly  the abdication of our political leadership.Now comes the clean up crews because the simple implication is that the US Congress and both  Presidential Candidates have ceded to the NRA all jurisdiction on questions of use of firearms within the USA.  So the new thinking  is very particular and designed to exonerate the GOP which has alligned itself in favor of NRA  for the past 20-25 years.

So no Gun Control should be tried  because no measure  would  have prevented the Colorado Slaughter [or any of the other vicious massacres of  the past 5 years in the US] . This is the viewpoint from Republican commentators like Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post and David Brooks at the NYTimes who are really doing  3 things:
1)concentrating attention on the massacre and diverting it from the broader issues of gun control  in which the GOP has aided and abated  the NRA;
2)narrowing down  the issue to trying to stop the massacres with gun control rather than the broader 3  issues of :

  • i)how to make acquiring guns and automated clips with lethal combat-type maiming ammo much more difficult for criminals and the mentally disturbed including those cited for spousal violence;
  • ii)how to  make the gun community a part of a peer review training and vetting  process;
  • ii)how to translate the concept of gun control into  efforts at dimishing the the accidental and deliberate misuse of fire-arms with such efforts as  microstamping cartridges and closing gunshow/online purchases without appropraite background checkls

3)underline the Republican theme that regulations and legislation just don’t work at all – not in gun control, not in checking the excesses of the financial community, and in general in the hands of government as regulators.

So the GOP welcomes all declarations that say Gun Control is in-operative.

And the Democrats Have Obliged

In a two page Opinion Piece in the Daily Beast, Democratic advisor Robert Shrum declares that For Obama, Romney, and America, Gun Control Is Dead. Here is the crux of Shrum’s argument

The gunfire of earlier times evoked not just a sense of incalculable loss, an outpouring of tears and sympathy, but a resolve to rein in the reckless free market in weapons ranging from Saturday-night specials to assault rifles. The National Rifle Association was always there bristling on the barricades of opposition. It took five years after the loss of John F. Kennedy to finally outlaw the mail-order sale of rifles and shotguns, which was how Lee Harvey Oswald had obtained a $19.95 rifle and telescopic sight that changed the course of history. For the next two decades, there was token tightening of gun laws—and in 1986, the significant loosening called “The Firearms Owners Protection Act,” which softened restrictions on gun dealers and gun sales.

Then came an apparent breakthrough in 1994—and an intense and immediate backlash. I was on a phone call with President Clinton, House Speaker Tom Foley, and Majority Leader Dick Gephardt during which the president decided to push ahead with two bills: a ban on semiautomatic assault weapons, and the Brady Bill to require a five-day waiting period and a background check for handgun sales. Foley and Gephardt warned that the legislation could decimate Democrats in the midterm elections. They were right. Democrats lost the House; Foley, who enraged his rural constituents by voting for the Clinton package, lost his own seat. Since then, the only gun-control measure to pass Congress, in 1999, provided for trigger locks on new handguns. But by then the Brady Bill had expired—and so did the assault-weapons ban, in 2004.

Attempts to renew the legislation never got a serious look and certainly not an up or down vote. Vice President Al Gore attempted to shift the vocabulary and the debate by calling for “common-sense gun safety”—for example, to close the gun-show loophole that lets anyone, including convicted felons, purchase a rifle without any background check at one of these events. In the 2000 election, the NRA furiously denounced Al Gore as an enemy of the right to keep and bear arms. This probably cost him his home state of Tennessee—which would have secured the presidency for him, despite the theft of Florida.

Politicians read the returns—and they read the polls that have registered rising opposition to gun control. A 2011 Gallup survey reported that only 43 percent of Americans favored outlawing assault rifles, while 53 percent were opposed—a dramatic reversal in public opinion since the early and mid-1990s, when Democrats stood with the majority of the country, but lost seat after seat in Congress due to single-issue voting in NRA-influenced districts. Recent Gallup data also showed that 55 percent of respondents support making gun laws less strict—or keeping them as they are now.

These two salient incidents have been emblazoned on Democratic professionals minds regardless of any contrary evidence. And so as Shrum points out, a significant part of US governance and jurisdiction has been ceded to the NRA. This is a recurring theme in US Governance for the past 10-15 years. Ever larger portions of justice and jurisdiction have been ceded to lobby groups and special interrests that can bring huge dollars and influence to bear. One issue voters like the NRA faithful or the  Anti-abortionists now wield magnified power in the electoral process and governance in general. Litterally these special interst groups can say to opponents  and politicians that cross them  “BanG, your dead”.

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