There has been no other single issue that has engendered more posts on Caffeinated Politics than that of gun violence and the need to enact gun control legislation. There have been 478 posts about gun control over the past 14 years. My desire for stressing the issue started in high school when I wrote my first Letter to the Editor of the Waushara Argus, my country newspaper, about the need for a better understanding of the intent of the Second Amendment. In other words, I have been at this task for over 4 decades.
As I write again about guns I do so with very mixed emotions. While I am heartened with the actions taken by President Biden with his executive actions, I am saddened over two more mass shootings in the news.
By now most of my readers will have heard the reports that a person opened fire, killing one person and critically injuring four other people, in a shooting near an industrial park in Bryan, Texas. Earlier in the day, we learned of former NFL player Phillip Adams committing suicide in South Carolina after he shot and killed five people, including a prominent doctor, his wife, and their two grandchildren.
The shootings, such as reported today, are what too many Americans have come to expect to hear on any given newscast. The mass shootings and obituaries from gun violence are now part of the fabric of daily life in this country. But for many years there has also been a growing demand that someone take leadership that starts to roll the absurdity backward.
Enter President Joe Biden.
While I would like very much to have an enlightened and credible opposition party in congress that works in concert with needed gun control measures, that does not appear to be the case. Therefore, since Congressional Republicans don’t care about tangible government outcomes, instead desiring only saying NO, and offering cultural war issues as a platform, it becomes incumbent on the president to act.
I will be the first to admit the action today was only a portion of what needs to be done. But at the same time, I am pleased that steps are being made and that someone again sits in the Oval Office who does appreciate the gravity of gun violence in this nation.
We learned today that the Justice Department will issue a proposed rule to curb the proliferation of so-called ghost guns, which are those insidious kits that allow a deadly weapon to be assembled from pieces–and more to the point with no serial numbers. The absolute necessity for this rule is obvious as it would require that the components in the kits have serial numbers that would allow them to be traced. I am also very pleased to know that these guns will be legally classified as firearms. And still more important is that these buyers will be subjected to background checks. Such checks are very favorable with the public.
Our President also alerted us today that there will be a requirement that when a device marketed as a stabilizing brace transforms a pistol into a short-barrel rifle, that weapon is subject to the requirements of the National Firearms Act. Anything that enhances the killing power of a gun must be curtailed.
I call upon Congress to act with common sense and pass national red flag legislation. While Biden said the Justice Department would also publish model red flag legislation for states, to make it have teeth will require those elected to safeguard the nation with congressional action. The reason such passage is essential is that this law would allow police officers and family members to petition a court to temporarily remove firearms from people who may present a danger to themselves or others.
The gun topics that Biden presented today are termed 80/20 issues, in that the vast majority of the nation has supported, time and again, these matters in polling data. Even with the NRA in a much-weakened state, it still holds a master’s control over Congressional Republicans. That means the will of the people will be undermined if the needed and popular gun control measures are not enacted.
But more needs to be done than what was talked about today. I strongly supported and advocated Biden’s campaign promise to ban the importation of assault weapons, along with a voluntary gun buyback program. I also want to see the NRA’s desire not to have full data collection and documentation of gun crimes compiled tossed into the trash bin. We simply must demand and then fund both the Justice Department and FBI so they can enforce the nation’s current gun laws, track firearms, and keep complete statistical data.
Gun violence is so out of control that no one law change, or even a slew of them, will stop all the deaths and injuries. We all know that. But the efforts made today, and those urged for the near future are meant to chip away at the segments of gun violence where it is possible to make a real impact. We must at least try.
And so it goes.