July 21, 2012 by David K. Sutton
Movie theater shooting: Why can’t we have tougher gun control laws?
No matter what the National Rifle Association (NRA) and it’s supporters say, it is not off limits to talk about tougher gun control laws. It’s not disrespectful to the victims to have an adult conversation about restricting the sales of assault weapons and extended clips, things that are not needed to protect yourself or your family.
The Second Amendment does not specifically spell out what kind of gun you can legally own. The constitution is intentionally vague, and nowhere is that more apparent than the text of the Second Amendment: “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”
What does that even mean? It certainly doesn’t say anything about the type of “arms” that can be kept. Because it is not clearly defined, it is up to us as a society to define our laws to fit our values and morals. We should not relegate our lawmaking to those who insist on taking absolutist positions like the gun lobby and the NRA. We can have a Second Amendment at the same time we have restrictions on the extreme versions of “arms” that are available in 2012.
Gun control advocates sputter at their own impotence. The National Rifle Association is politically ascendant. And Barack Obama’s White House pledges to safeguard the Second Amendment in its first official response to the deaths of at least 12 people in a mass shooting at a new Batman movie screening in suburban Denver.
Once, every highly publicized outbreak of gun violence produced strong calls from Democrats and a few Republicans for tougher controls on firearms.
Now those pleas are muted, a political paradox that’s grown more pronounced in an era scarred by Columbine, Virginia Tech, the wounding of a congresswoman and now the shooting in a suburban movie theater where carnage is expected on-screen only.
“We don’t want sympathy. We want action,” Dan Gross, president of the Brady campaign said Friday as President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney mourned the dead.
Ed Rendell, the former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania, was more emphatic than many in the early hours after the shooting. “Everyone is scared of the NRA,” he said on MSNBC. “Number one, there are some things worth losing for in politics and to be able to prevent carnage like this is worth losing for.”
Yet it’s been more than a decade since gun control advocates had a realistic hope of getting the type of legislation they seek, despite predictions that each shocking outburst of violence would lead to action.