Is This What It Takes?

We live in the NRA’s vision of utopia.

Yesterday a gunman stepped out of a car in front of a Texas outlet mall and started shooting. He left at least eight people dead, including a five-year old, before a local police officer shot him down. There it is. The NRA’s answer to everything. A good guy with a gun stopped a bad guy with a gun. The parents of that murdered five-year old must be so grateful to the NRA for their wisdom.

This was the 199th incident in which four or more people were killed or injured by a gunman in a year that, so far, has contained 124 days.

This may finally break the pattern. This routine has had four predictable phases. In the first phase innocent people are gunned down and there are calls for action against guns. During the second phase the NRA and other gun extremists lay low. They say nothing when they’re not offering up “thoughts and prayers.” In the third phase people who live normal lives and don’t obsess about guns move on to other issues. And in the final phase the extremists work to pass laws that further loosen any controls on guns at all.

But what this steady stream of gun horror has done is to interrupt phase three. Now, there is no let up. No time for that tiny minority of (let’s use the phrase that best applies) gun nuts to wait and then push in precisely the wrong direction. You get a feeling that the party of the gun will be under the gun in the next elections. What needs to happen is that Republicans need to lose some elections over guns and they need to lose them at the national, state and local levels. That’s the only thing that will get their attention. I have little hope that the GOP will do anything positive; I just want them to get out of the way.

As I almost always like to note when I write about guns, I own a couple of hunting rifles myself. I’m happy to submit to any regulations that might come. Personally, I think I should need to register my guns and hold a license to operate them, and I should have to pass a rigorous background check and go through training and testing at regular intervals in order to hold the license. Not unlike owning a car, although I think it should be much harder to get a gun license.

But even something as sensible as that is not in the cards anytime soon. The best we can hope for in the short-run is universal background checks, red flag laws and a ban on assault rifles.. and even those things will be an uphill battle until the Republicans pay the price at the polls.

For the foreseeable future we’re going to live (and die) in the NRA’s America where we can only hope that a good guy with a gun kills a bad guy with a gun before he murders more than eight people. You think that’s crazy? Put aside your differences with the other party (and God knows, I have some) and vote against a Republican at your next opportunity.

Published by dave cieslewicz

Madison/Upper Peninsula based writer. Mayor of Madison, WI from 2003 to 2011.

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