There Ought To Be A LawWritten by Tim Higgins | | firstname.lastname@example.org
In the aftermath of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school, a hue and cry went up across the nation that these mass murders must finally stop. Once and for all should a law be passed that could prevent such a tragedy from happening again. The Vice President, after speaking not only to various victims representatives, special interest groups on both sides, and perhaps even children; gave his group’s recommendations to the Commander-in-Chief. In response to the combined pleas of concerned people on both sides of the issue all across the nation, the president in turn weighed in Wednesday with what is being called a comprehensive proposal of twenty-three executive orders and a handful of legislative proposals to tighten gun control for that express purpose. Don’t count on it.
Now don’t get me wrong here. I not only don’t own an Assault rifle, I don’t own a gun of any type. Aside from the ‘squirt’, ‘cap’, and ‘BB’ varieties, I can say in all honesty that I’ve never even fired a gun. I literally don’t have a dog in this hunt, though I have nothing against guns one way or the other. I am however, rather funny about the pesky little document known as the Constitution and the ‘rule of law’ that defines it.
Speaking of laws, there appear to be some 20,000 laws in this nation dealing with gun control, and none of them seem to be worded in such a way so as to have prevented any of the recent ‘multiple murders’ that have recently occurred; nor would any of those that are listed among those the President’s recommendation do so, though he seemed to skip that in his speech on Wednesday. (Some of you might have noticed that I didn’t use the term ‘mass murder’. Sorry, but I refuse to use a term that should only be used to describe the level of killing normally perpetrated by a government on its previously disarmed civilian population.) Even the laws of the ten year-long ‘Assault Weapons Ban’ (AWB) of the 1990′s would appear to be unable to have prevented such dastardly actions.
Now considering the self-serving nature of our national legislature and having read previous efforts of mine, you would probably assume two things:
- Prior unsuccessful efforts (even some 20,000 of them) to prevent a behavior through legislative means is no reason not to attempt further legislation.
- Legislators in such circumstances are likely to offer more sizzle than substance, since lawmakers will largely be reacting to the emotional nature of the problem rather than the substantive nature of it.
However, according to the Federal government, through studies done be the Justice Department, the number of mass shootings before, during, and after the Assault Weapons Ban has remained largely unchanged. If we look closer, we can see that while much of the attention in past and current legislation falls on these assault weapons, far more murders are committed with hand guns than for those that the ban is being sought. Additionally, murder rates in cities with the largest number and most restrictive of gun laws (like Chicago) are far greater than those in many of their more lenient counter parts.
Added to the complex nature of the legislative process involved in this case is that there is a well-organized opposition to any restrictions of gun ownership as defined in the Second Amendment of the Constitution. The National Rifle Association (NRA), perhaps the most influential of these groups, has a current membership of over 4.25 million, with that membership being of a largely bi-partisan nature. This means that Democrats as well as Republicans will have to seek the votes of NRA members for re-election bids after falling on one side or the other of this issue.
As Congress now takes up its part of the task on the subject, past failures in this area make it seem hardly worth the effort; especially in a languishing economy and by an Administration whose primary goal was going to be jobs. Perhaps in a perfect world, we might ask if ‘there ought to be a law’; but in the real world we live in, perhaps Congress instead simply ‘ought to leave the whole thing alone’.