The power to end the mass shooting epidemic has always been in the hands of the American people. As if we needed another reminder that Republicans are too cowardly to oppose their faithful campaign contributors in the NRA, yesterday the Senate blocked an emergency effort by Senate Democrats to keep guns out of the hands of known dangerous people.
In one of a series of near-party-line procedural votes, the Senate by 54 to 45 blocked a proposal by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that would have stopped people on the government’s anti-terrorist “no-fly” list from buying guns. Republican opponents said that the no-fly list includes too many errors to be used for preventing gun sales.
Why on Earth would any legislator block an effort to keep people on a terrorist “no fly” list from getting guns? To give you a better idea of what that list is:
There are 700,000 people on the terrorist watch list, and when these people tried to legally purchase guns, they had a success rate of 91%.
The San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook owned his guns legally, and it is starting to come out that he may have been radicalized by an international terrorist organization:
Farook was [sic] apparently was radicalized and in touch with people being investigated by the FBI for international terrorism, law enforcement officials said Thursday.
At least some of the domestic terrorism tragedies could be averted–not just this one. The most common element in these tragedies is easy gun access, but another is that both foreign and domestic terrorism are using the Internet for recruitment, radicalization, and planning. The FBI is starting to get wiser about monitoring domestic terrorism activity online, because they arrested three men last month in Oklahoma for attempting to obtain guns and explosives to start a “race war” against black churches and Jewish synagogues. Any terrorist “no fly” list should include domestic terrorists too.
We know what the problem is, but Senate Republicans have blocked yet again one more tool to prevent weapons from getting in the hands of dangerous people. Weapons to do what semi-automatic and automatic weapons are designed to do–kill a massive amount of people. Republican obstructionism on this is entirely predictable too, as they are too cowardly to stand up to their NRA donors and protect the American people.
What was the NRA’s reasoning for opposing common sense legislation other than fear of losing guns which they prioritize over American lives?
In objecting to versions of the bill, the NRA used the same worn-out rhetoric they’ve been using for decades; namely, passing such a law won’t stop criminals from illegally acquiring guns.
It’s the same tired canard that always seems to explain something, but is actually empty, self-serving propaganda. The same pathetic excuses that prevent even the most common-sense measures like keeping guns away from identified terrorists. The reason why Americans can’t enjoy life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness free from the threat of being shot and killed going about their everyday lives.
What has the GOP done instead of a bipartisan effort at effective gun legislation? They’re offering prayers, while blocking action to block easy access to guns, and taking no meaningful action to prevent mass shootings. All of this is enough to make many Americans turn away in disgust from the political process that has given them no recourse on the issue of gun violence. However that creates another problem, because you can’t leave the foxes in charge of the henhouse.
Which brings me to the power Americans have had all along to end obstructionism to progress on sensible gun legislation–the power to vote. This is where apathetic progressive voters share some of the blame for inaction on gun violence solutions. Every time I point this out, I hear the same rash of excuses.
My biggest pet peeve is the false equivocating canard which I am not finished writing about: “Both Parties are the Same!” If that is so, why is it that Democrats back sensible gun legislation and Republicans universally block it, as yesterday’s vote shows? The other is that voting doesn’t matter. Even in Red Texas, the GOP Governor here won with a pathetic 30 percent of the votes. Strong progressive turnout could have won the day.
Rather than resign ourselves to gun violence for whatever inane reason, we should resolve ourselves to vote for the candidates that actually will do something about it. Vote and write your representative and ask what they plan to do about gun violence. Here is a way to look at your Senator’s vote on gun legislation with contact info. If they tell you to pray and do nothing else, or worse block sensible gun legislation, that let’s you know where to cast your vote. Here’s a hint: it shouldn’t be any of these cowardly politicians owned by the NRA.
Image Fair Use / Parody