Why Can't the Federal Government Deal With Gun Violence?

Despite the President 's plea for a vote in Congress the smart money is on the NRA to block legislation to deal with gun violence.


The day after the Newtown massacre I passed an old Volvo wagon on the Merritt Parkway with a hand-lettered sign that said: "F--- the NRA." That pretty-much summed up my still raw reaction to the use of an AR-15 assault rifle to tear apart 26 children and teachers at the Sandy Hook School.

When I heard President Obama's impassioned plea for a vote on gun violence legislation in the State of the Union address this week I thought about that sign and the NRA's role in blocking every attempt to regulate access to guns since the 1994 assault weapons ban, that was allowed to expire in 2004. 

Fear is a powerful weapon and the NRA has fostered the belief that the assault weapons ban and the NRA's campaign against its proponents in the 1994 midterm election shifted the House from Democratic to Republican control. Politicians of both parties fear the NRA and have avoided meaningful gun regulation despite numerous gun deaths, including repeated massacres at Columbine, Virginia Tech and other places which ordinarily would focus some legislative response.

There is no good reason to permit public sale of assault rifles, extended magazines and "cop-killing" bullets or to inhibit backround checks or registration of those military-style weapons, magazines and ammunition that are out on the streets or sold in stores and gun shows. 

Yet when the President called for a vote in Congress the stony looks he received from the predominantly Republican Congressmen sitting on their hands while gun violence was addressed in the SOTU speech told the story that fear still stalks the halls of Congress. That fear may not be limited to Republicans; Harry Reid is said to be working against re-institution of the assault weapons ban. 

Public opinion is running strongly in favor of reasonable gun control, but the NRA is counting on the anti-gun fervor, derisively referred to as "the Connecticut Effect", to cool and for politicians to quietly kill any legislation to stem gun violence.

Well, I think the hand-lettered sign had it right about the NRA and we citizens should force Congress to address our national disgrace of gun violence.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Bernard Schneider February 15, 2013 at 12:33 AM
Ed, Time to get real. The problem is directly with your political friends in the Democratic Party of the State of Connecticut, who are beholden to the gun interests. ( The Republican Party of Connecticut is equally to blame.) The following quote is from the below-cited new York Times article: "Gun-control advocates in Hartford said the gun companies’ strategy was shrewd because it allowed Democratic lawmakers to oppose new regulations while proclaiming that they had not bowed to the National Rifle Association.". http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/24/nyregion/gun-makers-based-in-connecticut-form-a-potent-lobby.html?pagewanted=all I's as simple as that, politicians, money and lobbying. Now you know what to do, and who you should be really writing to, Bernard Schneider.
Ed Krumeich February 15, 2013 at 03:54 PM
Bernie: Did you read the piece? It was about the inability of the federal government to address gun violence. As far as state legislation goes, you are correct the Governor and the State Legislature, both controlled by Democrats, must address the issue of gun violence in this state. We will know after the current session whether they have succeeded.
Marc Ducret February 16, 2013 at 06:30 PM
We need to address gun violence by punishing criminals & enacting laws to treat the mentally ill. Crimes committed with a gun should add 10 years to a sentence. People lying on a background check should be prosecuted, once they are denied isn't their next step to buy a gun illegally? We need programs like stop & frisk in crime plagued areas. One of the main reasons gun violence has decreased in NYC yet the ACLU is fighting to end this program. People who have committed violent crimes should serve the full sentence, all too often violent criminals have a long rap sheet & should not be on the street, just ask William Petit of Cheshire. The toughest solution is how to address the mentally ill without violating their rights. Yet the mass shootings were all committed by people with an obvious mental illness. A classmate of the Virginia Tech shooter was so scared of him that she dropped the class. He was classified as mentally deficient but this was missing from his records on the instant background check & was able to buy a gun! Banning certain guns because of cosmetic "military style" features will not prevent crime. Does banning bayonet lugs or flash suppressors make us any safer? The only item that deserves a legitimate debate is the capacity of a magazine. My cousin is a teacher at Sandy Hook & I wish we could have prevented that horrible crime. Short of confiscating guns we need stiffer penalties for gun crimes & better treatment for the mentally ill.
Ed Krumeich February 16, 2013 at 08:43 PM
I agree that mental health and criminal penalties need to be addressed, but these arguments are used to distract from the issue of regulating the availability of military-style weapons, magazines and ammunition. The idea of regulating bayonet lugs and flash suppressors was a half-hearted effort to regulate assault weapons which manufacturers side-stepped by minor alterations. I remember looking at an AR-15 at Grannick's Police Supply Shop while the salesman explained to me how the semi-automatic could be made fully automatic with a few small alterations. We need to confront the supply problem directly to make it more difficult for these items to be available for the public.


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