I am not going to pretend that there are any easy federal legislative fixes that can stop mass shootings. I think we should consider looking at what Australia did when they had a mass shooting in the 1990’s because they seem to have succeeded in greatly reducing gun-induced mass casualty events. But we are not Australia and we have a lot more guns floating around in our country than they ever did. We also have the Second Amendment, a gun-loving conservative Supreme Court, a Republican-led Congress, and the National Rifle Association. So, I can kind of understand a headline that says that Washington DC has no answer for the tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina.
But there are people in our nation’s capital and in our Congress who have ideas. They can’t get a hearing.
Let’s put it in the simplest terms. The Republicans control Congress and our highest court. They don’t want to do anything to restrict gun ownership and generally want to expand gun ownership and relax the rules at every level of government that govern the ownership of guns.
They have more than sufficient power to block any ideas from even getting a vote, let alone becoming law. They don’t even need gun-friendly Democrats to help them with this. And there are plenty of gun-friendly Democrats, whether because they agree with conservatives on the issue or they’re afraid that their constituents do.
So, there’s nothing that can be done at this moment in time on the federal level, at least legislatively, to try to stop the next mass casualty event. Despite the president’s protests, this is the “new normal.”
If that’s acceptable to you, I guess you’re satisfied that you live in a country where these things happen on an almost routine basis and you prefer it this way to having a government that can interfere with the commerce of firearms.
If this is not acceptable to you, however, I won’t blame you for feeling impotent and filled with frustrated rage. Even with a willing Congress and a sensible Supreme Court, we would struggle to find the right policies to stop bad people from getting guns in this country. But we could try some things out and see how they work.
All I ask is that you direct your frustration and your rage at the people who really deserve it, because there are plenty of politicians who are willing to experiment if only they had the power to do so.