Now that I’ve got your attention, let’s talk. As in not yell at one another, take sides, dig in our heels, or any of the other things that seem to happen every time this subject comes up. Let’s be frank. We have an epidemic of violence in this country, and guns play a big part. It is not acceptable, and something needs to be done about it.
I know the arguments against gun control—cities with strict gun laws actually have more crime, and anyway, the Second Amendment of the US Constitution gives us the “right to bear arms.” But again, what good are those arguments doing to move us toward a more peaceful country or, for that matter, world?
If you asked for my personal solution, I would answer, “Get rid of them completely.” But I’m also a realist. I understand that will not happen. There are too many exceptions— police, military, etc.—to make that a reality.
But surely we can do better than what we recently witnessed in Congress, when a minority of senators voted down two bipartisan bills that would have expanded background checks on firearm sales and banned some semiautomatic firearms modeled after military assault weapons. (Can someone please tell me why the average person in the community where my family lives—or any US community for that matter—would need a semiautomatic firearm modeled after a military assault weapon?)
We need to do something besides drawing our line in the sand and daring other people to cross it.
Two senators tried to make that happen. Senators Joe Manchin (DW. Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.)—both gun owners and defenders of Second Amendment rights—tried to cross those lines by proposing the amendments that were ultimately defeated. I commend them. But it didn’t work. The amendments required 60 votes to pass in the 100-member Senate. That meant that Democrats and independents in favor of the amendments, who hold 55 seats, needed support from some of their Republican counterparts to help the amendments pass. They didn’t get those five votes. Who knows why?
Tell me, members of Congress, what is so hard about working together to find a solution? Are you afraid of not getting reelected? Will you lose donations? Are you determined not to budge because something was proposed by someone outside your party? Tell me, are any of those things more important than the lives of those struck down by gun violence? Your inability to work together to find a solution certainly sends that message.