Contrary to the views of too many pundits, now is exactly the time to talk about gun control. We’ve awakened to the worst mass shooting in American history. At this point we don’t know much about the shooter except that he’s a dead white guy who opened fire on a crowd of concert goers from a perch in a high-rise hotel room.
We do know about the NRA, though. They are currently pushing a bill to loosen restrictions on silencers. It should be called the Murderers’ Accommodation Act since reducing the sound of gun fire will make shooting people inconspicuously much easier. Another bill would force states to recognize concealed carry permits obtained in other states. So much for federalism.
The NRA has pushed a false narrative that any gun control will lead to banning all guns. They assured gun owners that Obama and every other Democrat was coming for their guns, driving up gun and ammunition sales. After eight years of Obama, we have fewer gun restrictions, not more. However, we also have far more mass shootings. More guns don’t make us safer and a good guy with a gun rarely stops a bad guy with one.
Over the last 70 years, six of the ten most deadly mass shootings have occurred since 2007. Instead of taking any action to address these types of tragedies, Congress and state legislatures, especially here in North Carolina, have taken action to loosen gun laws. The mass murderer in Las Vegas had ten guns and, apparently, multiple high-capacity clips. They were probably all legal.
While Congress refuses to take up a real debate about curbing gun violence, the NRA pours money into propaganda meant to intimidate anyone who opposes their agenda and to mislead people who support them. Last fall, I had a conversation with a good friend and NRA member who owns multiple guns. He was voting for Trump because Hillary was going to take his guns away. I argued that she just wanted universal background checks and limits on high capacity clips. He agreed with both measures but assured me that she would appoint a Supreme Court Justice who would vote to scrap the 2nd Amendment. NRA misinformation campaigns have been devastatingly successful.
I doubt anything will happen. Congress will send its thoughts and prayers. Donald Trump will express his sorrow and outrage. Maybe Congress will postpone the debate over the bill on silencers, but it certainly won’t die. Gun sales will surge, as if anybody with a gun could have prevented the carnage in Vegas. Gun manufacturers will make millions off the tragedy. The NRA will keep spending to misinform the public and keep its supporters worried about ending the 2nd Amendment. The rest of us will just wait until the next horrific tragedy that outdoes this one.
I hope I’m wrong.