Who decides what gun legislation can pass?

Although I’m beginning to feel like a broken record at this point, the seriousness of the issue compels me to speak about gun legislation once again. The National Rifle Association put forth Tuesday a gun safety program, the essence of which is arming security at schools.  At least one protector with firearms is recommended for every school.

While school security is and ought to be a part of the discussion, the NRA proposal is narrowly focused and fails to address the overriding issue of access to guns.

It seems past time for people to be listening to the NRA and providing credibility to their positions on gun violence. Why are we listening to Wayne LaPierre, NRA chief executive officer, instead of to the repeated concerns of law enforcement officials? Why are we listening to congressmen and senators who are beholden to the dictates of the gun lobby instead of big city mayors who are forced to address these issues of violence on a daily basis?

Why are we listening to the voices of radio talk show hosts who represent only a tiny fraction of the population instead of the 90 percent of Americans who are supporting a full spectrum of background checks? Finally, why do we turn away from the victims and families of gun violence in Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo., and so many other places?

The arguments being used by gun advocates are not even close to being persuasive. They tell us gun laws don’t work. Why do we continue to ascribe any credibility to such an argument when these proponents successfully vitiate every attempt at workable legislation and then tell us it proves no laws can work?

They refuse to acknowledge the effectiveness of gun legislation in other countries that have dramatically reduced the number of Newtown-type shootings. They continue to spout the argument that since no law can be 100 percent effective, we should have no law.

Gun advocates also stress the need to protect Second Amendment rights, yet no right is absolute. Even the Supreme Court has made clear that many firearm regulations would pass constitutional muster. Yet any attempt to regulate guns in the same fashion we regulate cars or license barbers and beauticians is shouted down as treasonous. 

Frankly, the argument we keep hearing from the NRA and others is that the way to make us safer is for there to be more guns. How counterintuitive is that?

We need to ask ourselves why we have more gun violence than any other industrialized nation. Are we a more violent people, or do we just have too many more guns around and available?

It is time to remember the victims of Newtown and pass meaningful national gun legislation. Colorado, Connecticut and Maryland are showing the way. Write your senators and congressman, and let’s get this done for our children and our children’s children.

Join the Conversation

Send your thoughts and reactions to Letters to the Editor. Learn more here