Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.
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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pandering to the NRA lobbyists is over

Regarding the issue of gun violence prevention, things are moving at warp speed. The wave of recent bloody massacres and the daily bloody carnage is causing a wave of support for common sense gun laws. It's not yet quite a Tsunami but it's a large wave. I can hardly keep up with everything that's going on. I hope the NRA lobbyists and leaders are suffering from whip lash. Yesterday, something significant happened. There was a Democratic primary in the Chicago area to select a candidate to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. One of the Democratic candidates, Deb Halvorson, who had served a previous term in Congress suffered from an "A" rating from the NRA. Mayors Against Illegal Guns held her accountable with ads run before the special election.

The winner of the race, Robin Kelly, made gun violence prevention her signature issue and won the race by a significant margin. Times are changing. Having an "A" rating from the NRA is seen as a negative now by an increasing number of Americans. From the article:
“You did more than choose a Democratic candidate for Congress,” Kelly said in her victory address. “You did more than I ever could have imagined. You sent a message that was heard around our state and across the nation. A message that tells the NRA that their days of holding our country hostage are coming to an end. And their days of scaring Congress into submission on gun control are coming to a close.”
Kelly will face the winner of the Republican primary on April 9, but her victory is all but assured in the general election in this overwhelmingly Democratic district. (...) “This is an important victory for common sense leadership on gun violence, a problem that plagues the whole nation,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “And it's the latest sign that voters across the country are demanding change from their representatives in Washington—not business as usual. As Congress considers the President's gun package, voters in Illinois have sent a clear message: we need common sense gun legislation now. Now it's up to Washington to act."
Not only that, but ads are being run in other areas as well. Times are changing. Having an "A" rating from the NRA may now become a liability after the Sandy Hook school shooting. It's about time. It's time for a change and it's time for action. And just in time for action in Congress on gun bills moving forward, public opinion is cementing and increasing around the issue of gun violence prevention. A new majority of 61% of Americans now want stricter gun laws. That's up from 56% just one month ago. Rachel Maddow talked about how things are changing on her program last night: 


Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


And speaking of military brass in support of reasonable gun laws, you might like this new ad from Mayors Against Illegal Guns.



Support is growing. The "Connecticut effect" is not happening. From this article:
In the weeks since the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the call for more action in controlling military style guns and large capacity magazines has increased, but as of yet, nothing concrete has been done on the national level.  In fact, the NRA was recently quoted as suggesting that nothing will be done, once the country gets over the “Connecticut Effect”!  “The National Rifle Association will wait until the “Connecticut effect” has subsided to resume its push to weaken the nation’s gun laws, according to a top NRA lobbyist speaking at the NRA’s Wisconsin State Convention this weekend.” Think Progress 
I did not realize that anyone ever could “get over” the shameful massacre of 20 small children along with 6 staff members of the school they attended.  Is this kind of statement from the NRA just hubris or is it indicative of a disgusting level of ambivalence to the violence wrought upon citizens when semi-automatic guns and large capacity magazines are allowed and allowed in the wrong hands?  I know we have discussed the gun control issue many times here, but when I read statements like the one quoted above from a Wisconsin NRA official, my head explodes.
The Think Progress article linked above also discussed further statements made by Wisconsin Lobbyist, Bob Welch, that indicate that he has little or no concern over the violence of that sad day in Newtown, but rather is sad that there has been a delay in the progress of the NRA’s agenda since the Newtown shootings.  “Welch went on to bemoan the fact that the public’s focus on Newtown was preventing the NRA from pushing such bills through the legislature, but his remarks soon turned to braggadocio about the NRA’s legislative influence. He relayed an anecdote about how, following the Connecticut shooting, a pro-gun Democrat in the legislature had mentioned his desire to close the gun show loophole. “And I said [to him], ‘no, we’re not going to do that,” Welch boasted. “And so far, nothing’s happened on that.”
The NRA lobbyists must be scratching their heads and trying desperately to come up with what new fear tactic can be employed to keep the Newtown shooting from changing the hearts and minds of our elected leaders. It's not working out so well for the NRA lobbyists. Testimony at today's Judiciary Committee hearing about common sense gun laws is swaying the conversation, as well it should. One of the parents of a 6 year old victim of the Sandy Hook shooting testified tearfully:
Heslin broke down repeatedly, sobbing and pausing as he told the story of that fateful day on Dec. 14 when Jesse and 19 of his schoolmates died in Newtown, Conn. Heslin held a framed portrait of himself holding Jesse when he was a baby, as he pleaded with the Senate Judiciary Committee. People in the Senate hearing room dabbed at their eyes, others openly wept as Heslin spoke.
Heslin and Dr. William Begg, an EMS medical director who treated Sandy Hook victims, were featured witnesses at the panel's first hearing on a bill to ban assault weapons. Begg also wept openly, as he dismissed the idea that no action is needed because deaths by assault weapons are relatively small.
"Please don't tell that the people of Tucson, or Aurora, or Columbine, or Virginia Tech and don't tell that to the people of Newtown," he said. "This is a public health issue. Please make the right decision."
And Senator Lindsey Graham tried to argue with a Milwaukee Police Chief, at the hearing to state his support of reasonable gun laws. Watch it:



Who has more credibility here? A police chief who has seen a good number of mass shootings and every day shootings? A grieving parent who is just 2 months past the tragic and gruesome shooting of his son?  Or a Senator under the thumb of the NRA lobbyists? I know what my answer is. So does the public. Senator Graham, stop the NRA talking points and get behind laws that can save lives. Senator John McCain had a similar moment of lack of empathy for victims at a recent Town Hall meeting. The mother of a victim of the Aurora shooting asked him what he would do about Assault Weapons:
The mother of a young man killed in the Aurora, Colo. movie theater massacre told TPM on Thursday she was appalled at the way Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) handled her question about an assault weapons ban at a town hall event in Phoenix.
“I was very surprised that a senator, who has been in office for over 30 years, would address a grieving mother, who just lost her son exactly seven months prior — yesterday was the 20th, I lost my son on 7-20-2012 — to tell me that I needed ‘some straight talk,’” Caren Teves said by phone.
At Wednesday’s town hall, Teves told McCain that her son, Alex, was killed in the massacre, and she urged the senator to support a ban on assault weapons. McCain responded: “I can tell you right now you need some straight talk. That assault weapons ban will not pass the Congress of the United States.”
The crowd, many of whom appeared to be pro-gun, burst into cheers and applause at McCain’s comments. But Teves said she wasn’t fazed by that, and those cheers, as captured by a local TV news crew, were only part of the story.
“I wasn’t surprised,” Teves said. “It’s a large, divided issue. I did start my sentence with — and I believe this — ‘I am a supporter of the Second Amendment.’ What they did not show you in that clip was after I did say that the military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines don’t belong on our streets, there was also some huge support and applause that unfortunately was cut out of that clip.” (...) Teves said her husband recently wrote McCain a letter addressing the Aurora shooting, which took the lives of their son and 11 other people. But she said McCain’s office responded with a impersonal form letter that focused on an an entirely different massacre: the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn. Neither McCain nor his staff approached her after the town hall event, she added.
“I was surprised at that,” Teves said. “It takes a lot for me to just get out of bed every morning. I mean, this is still so new and so fresh, that my son was murdered. And I just expected a little more respect from someone who’s been in office over 30 years, and his staff. Between that and the form letter that we received, it’s just, it’s appalling.”
Caren and Tom Teves, who live in Phoenix, said they have supported McCain in the past, including his last campaign. “I have voted Republican my whole life,” Tom Teves told TPM. “I’ll never vote Republican again — ever.”
No, Senator McCain. You can't say that any more. We will not accept it and you will be held responsible for your insensitive answer to a question asked by the mother of a mass shooting victim. Watch it here:

                       

Here's some straight talk, Senator McCain. The public is fed up with pandering to the NRA lobbyists. The public wants straight talk about why elected leaders are against reasonable measures to save lives. The public didn't like it when 20 small children were massacred. The public does not fall in line with the NRA. Even NRA members don't fall in line with the leaders and lobbyists of the organization. Is the agenda of fear, paranoia and protection of rights and the gun industry more important than the lives of our children? The question has to be asked and answered. It has not been asked enough in public places in the past. No one wanted to talk about it publicly nor hold elected officials responsible for their viewpoints. But on 12/14, all of that changed. The public is way ahead of elected officials and the media. The public is saying "enough is enough". We are not accepting politicians pandering to the NRA lobbyists any more. We are better than this and we are demanding action. Stand up for the victims and what is right. Sit down if you have an "A" rating from the NRA. It doesn't mean anything any more. It's time for a change and it's time for action. The times are changing and answers to questions asked will make a difference in the next election.

UPDATE:

I would like to share this video of Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois challenging a testifier at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings today about the commonality of assault rifles with 100 round magazines in America. If these are common, said Durbin, then God save America. Amen to that. Watch:

1 comment:

  1. My rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are more important than the ability (not a right, by the way) for anyone to buy an assault rifle that can fire 45-100 rounds a minute.

    Like you, I can hardly keep up with the tsunami (yes, I will call it that!) of support for gun regulation since the Newtown shooting. People are awake to the issue, finally, and gun regulation bills are being submitted all over America and sponsored by a record number of lawmakers. Change is coming, and the pro-gun extremists are growing increasingly rabid in their attempts to keep the status quo.

    ReplyDelete