Image Credits: Gage Skidmore/Flickr.
I don’t need to tell you but people are getting gunned down at country fairs and movie theaters and shopping malls and Wal-Marts and outdoor concerts and night clubs and churches, mosques and synagogues and public school classrooms and universities and newsrooms and right down on main street on a Friday night. Massacres have taken place in recent weeks, months and years largely because it’s hard to stop a man armed with a military-style semiautomatic pistol or rifle from killing dozens of people in seconds, and for some reason we have a lot of men who want to demonstrate this for us.
Any sane person desperately wants this to stop. We may disagree over the most effective ways to go about trying to make it stop, but no one should be satisfied with the status quo. There may be things we could attempt that are not allowed under our constitution. I can accept that up to a point, but the constitution was written so it could be amended. I would not rule out amending it if it seems like the only way to effectively tackle this problem.
Before we even discuss an extreme measure like that, however, we ought to agree that the federal government should not just sit on its hands and act helpless. The people have the right to expect them to take action. Some things need to be tried to see if they will work.
So, if we can all agree that something ought to be attempted, then we can also probably agree that this isn’t a result of some preexisting desire by liberals and socialists to take away people’s guns. But that’s how Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway talks about the problem.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on Sunday defended President Trump’s apparent backtrack on strengthening background checks in the wake of a series of mass shootings in August, saying the shootings would not be used as an “excuse” for gun confiscation.
“We’re not going to allow bad actors who should not have firearms in the first place to be the excuse for a bunch of liberals and socialists to confiscate firearms from law-abiding citizens who have legally procured them,” Conway told “Fox News Sunday” guest host Bill Hemmer.
If we need to take this guns out of circulation, it’s not because it might fulfill some ideological goal but because it seems like the most likely way to prevent people from using them to murder innocent people. Conway is just politicizing the issue rather than taking it seriously. As proof of this, she followed up those initial remarks by making the following non-sequitir:
“I’m not going to allow people who are constantly maligning and deriding our law enforcement to be in charge of public safety [and] public policy,” Conway added, offering no specifics.
If some liberals and socialists have been harshly critical of law enforcement in recent years, that has to do with the police shooting and killing a lot of people who did not need to be shot and killed. It’s a problem that urgently needs to be addressed, but it’s distinct from the problem of regular civilians taking up military-grade arms against fellow citizens. It’s hard to see how the two things might have similar solutions. In general, members of law enforcement agree with liberals that semiautomatic weapons and large ammunition clips combined with lax background checks adds up to an unacceptable threat to public safety. They don’t like being outgunned by criminals either.
We could ban any further sale of these weapons and the ammunition they use and create a voluntary buyback program to slowly remove as many of the guns as possible off the streets. I don’t see why this wouldn’t be helpful, especially in the long run.
But we can’t even get the federal government to tighten up the background checks. Virtually no one outside of elected Republicans and the gun lobby agrees with this degree of inaction.
The fact that some liberals have wanted these guns banned for a long time and even before mass shootings became a common occurrence should not be used as an excuse to simply do nothing.
The truth of the matter is that the Republicans don’t want to upset anyone in their base because they can already see that Trump is losing the center and won’t win reelection if any part of his base is disenchanted and stays home. Most Republican voters would cheer expanded background checks, but most isn’t good enough for Trump’s political strategy.
So, Conway says she isn’t going to let the liberals and socialists get a political win, and that means nothing will be done at all. It’s a really small-minded way of thinking about this problem. It’s callous. I really hope that Trump and the Republican Party will get punished for this. If they’re not, then I don’t know what it says about this country.