Politicians Work Toward Gun Control, While Staying Quiet

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

guns (barjack/flickr)

In the wake of the Newtown shootings, legislative leaders are having intense discussions about the direction of gun control, but few of them or their aides are willing to speak on the record, or even return calls.

WNYC's attempts to reach Democratic and Republican officials across New York state was met largely with silence. This included calls to pro-gun control electeds such as Rep. Carolyn McCarthy and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. We also heard nothing from traditional NRA allies like Rep. Bill Owens, Rep. Richard Hanna and Rep. Chris Gibson, each of whom have received contributions from the NRA.

On background, one Congressional aide said there are "a million conversations going on" in Congress about reforming America's gun laws. While it's unlikely anything will advance in the immediate future, the aide felt Congress was likely to consider an assault weapons ban drafted by Rep. McCarthy after the New Year. 

Although public officials are largely staying silent, advocates were more forthcoming.

"I feel encouraged," said Jackie Hilly, the executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. "Because I think the emotional component of what has happened in the last week, I really think it’s a turning point. It's reminiscent of the four girls being bombed at the church in Birmingham. There are certain episodes in our history that the tides just change, because the victims are so innocent."

Hilly said one of the most promising bits of legislation would require background checks on all gun sales. Currently, private and online sales, which make up a reported 40 percent of all gun sales, are exempt from background checks. 

While earlier shooting tragedies have similarly raised the hopes of gun control advocates, Hilly felt that in recent days, "the ranks have started to break" among staunch gun rights politicians, and that an increasing number are "not willing to say 'business as usual.'"


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Comments [1]

Victor Guarnera from Metuchen

We need to differentiate between legal gun owners and those who have control of the ‘offending” gun out-side the legal ownership rules. The largest portion of the handgun crimes are comitted with un-registered weapons that are in the hands of non-legal owners.
We must focus on action expanding the punishment for the person committing the crime, the person supplying the firearm, and other person(s) in the chain of events that put weapons in the perps’ hands.
The clichés of “One size fits all” or “Punish the whole class because you are unable to identify the actual guilty party” (Dreyfus) syndrome are not applicable to this issue, and should not be applied –the “Kill them all and let God sort them out” mentality is inappropriate – PERIOD.
Now for a history lesson.
The renegades, rowdies and ruffians (subjects) who wrested control of the government of the American Colonies from the legitimate rulers did so for what we consider to be very noble reasons. Our Patriotic Founders saw the potential for the new democracy to fall into the ways which all other prior governments had fallen. And the reason for the 10 Amendments (the Bill of Rights) was added was to assure that the ways and means of preventing such a fall from taking place in this more modern form of government. AND, if that should take place, the general population, the citizens, would be able to counter the use of government armed force by means equal to those of those forces. The object of maintaining ownership of firearms was to be able to mobilize the citizen (militia) to prevent subjugation. To do that, the arms the citizen soldier would have would be the equal of those in the hands of the armed forces.
Time has made that impossible, because horses and small caliber cannon will no longer be adequate to meet/combat tanks, armored cars, aircraft, etc. In the 17 & early 18 hundreds they would have been able to hold their own.
It is a natural, human trait to want to protect what you have gained. The problem today, is that we are no longer a representative government. Our “representatives” appear to be more inclined to consider this to be their profession, and in typical ruling class actions have generated many benefits for themselves that at unmatched by the benefits which are available for the citizens – senior level corporate management excepted.
That is why there are many e-mails touting the 28th Amendment, and in more extreme venues – “AR II”. It seems the swell of disaffection and dis-satisfaction is growing.
As old as I am, I have become disillusioned in being able to change the present way of doing business (government) from within. Washington seems to quickly corrupt the new representatives into the business as usual mode of operation. Our debt is our biggest problem, and everybody with the responsibility to stop the bleeding refuses to take positive action. “Kick the can” is not a responsible way to correct this issue.
Thanks the opportunity to blow some steam.

Jan. 03 2013 11:49 AM

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