Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Gun Safety Will Not Happen In the US Until There Is a Tragedy Far More Powerful Than The NRA Fearmongering

This week, President Obama is trying to do what he can about reducing the horrifying number of gun deaths we have in this nation. But it won't be enough.

For all of Obama's efforts to use Executive Orders to tighten regulations on gun sales, it won't be enough.

There are still too many ways for angry, frustrated people (mostly men) to purchase firearms at will, too many ways for them to express that rage in the worst ways with guns in hand and souls long gone.

Minor tweaks in how those guns get into people's hands - force all licensed gun sellers to perform background checks on all purchasers (trying to close the "hobbyist" loophole), add more staff to the FBI and ATF to monitor gun sales and traffic (trying to reduce the black market practice of buying guns cheap in a loose-restriction state and shipping them to places like Chicago where sales are tightly restricted), and have states submit mental-health records to the background system (to reduce the risk of angered, unstable people from having guns) - will still carry enough wriggle room for gun nuts to slip through the net and proceed to their targets (families, ex-lovers, those they hate) with the lethal power to end lives.

It's been noted before, by too many others. After the Newtown Massacre, when we had a school devastated and classrooms wiped out by a single gunman, when it seemed most likely the nation was poised to enact stronger regulations like they do in every other First World nation... we did nothing.

The NRA set their Fear Machine in motion and scared Congress into doing nothing. The NRA set their worshipers in motion to buy up even more guns and start strutting in public to intimidate entire communities into silence.

The results have been the increasing awareness that the United States suffers from a wave of mass shootings that happen on a daily basis... and an increasing despair that this is the New Normal, that the body count is The Price We Pay For Our Freedoms The NRA's Profit Margin.

That power of the NRA extends to the gun manufacturers themselves, to the point the two groups are intertwined now. As pointed out by Adam L over on Balloon Juice:

Your idea will not happen. Not because its not a good idea, but because the gun manufacturers have been punished for previous baby steps. Bill Ruger, the eponymous head of Ruger firearms, made some overtures about banning high capacity magazines. Twelve years after his death and there are commenters all over the firearms websites that won’t buy a Ruger - one of the few companies where all of their guns are made in the US - because of this betrayal...
...Smith and Wesson leadership was briefly aligned with the Clinton Administration on gun control and safety measures. The backlash almost put them out of business. They had badly misread what the response would be. Those in support of the Clinton Administration’s efforts and Smith and Wesson’s willingness to go along don’t buy guns. Those that do almost drove the company into bankruptcy by boycotting their products...
No one is going to risk their business. They know they’ll be punished...

As long as the NRA gets their money, they will feed that Fear. That Fear Machine will trump every law, every form of common sense and common decency in our nation. We've allowed that fear to excuse away shooting politicians, and churches, and movie theaters, and shopping malls, and schools. All our schools.

This form of absolutism in the real world is unsustainable. The pressure by the pro-gun crowd to keep buying more, keep exposing more people to the risks of gun violence, is going to build because no one will put the brakes on it lest the NRA throw a conniption. The odds of another Newtown, another Virginia Tech, another San Bernardino (where the threat of Islamic terrorism got trumped by the NRA Fear Machine, for God's sake) keeps going up with the likelihood of ever greater body counts occurring.

Until the undeniable happens, a tragedy so large that the blood spilled from it drowns us in horror. But by then it will be too late for those killed, for those who have been killed the last 10 20 40 years we've let the gun nuts reign over all.

We are not safe at all.

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