|and more guns... December 14, 2012 01 (Photo credit: Patrick Feller)|
It was 20 years ago this style of mass killing in public places like schools began in Columbine, Colorado. Just this year there was a mass shooting at a movie theater and again at a shopping mall. Now a mass shooting at an elementary school. All in America.
When will the horror stop? When will the nation's politicians quit thinking only of themselves and their careers, living in fear of the powerful gun lobby like the NRA and other Republican groups, and get serious about doing the right thing? Yet the number of guns sold in America without background checks continues to soar. To date there are over 200 million guns owned in America.
3 video clips: Sen. Diane Feinstein, Sen. Joe Manchin, former Rep. Joe Scarborough
Newtown, Connecticut - AP photo/David Goldman
Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and House Minority Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) are introducing a bill to deal with the sale of these assault rifles. It was Feinstein that brought the first assault rifle ban bill that has since expired. Why is there a time limit on a bill like this? It's past due time to place a permanent ban on these military rifles that no one really needs to protect themselves or as a sportsman for hunting.
The first assault weapons ban was signed into law in 1994 under President Bill Clinton. However, it had a time limit and expired in 2004. Democrats tried many times to renew the ban and were voted down by the Republicans who were fronting for the powerful lobbies of gun manufacturers. Big Business and profit. Is that all this nation has become?
It was Sen. Feinstein who again called for another assault weapons ban this summer when a mass shooting occurred in Aurora, Colorado movie theater. Twelve people were killed and another 58 injured. She was denied. Media and politicians who raised their voices to begin the gun control conversation were shouted down by the Tea Party and Republicans. Isn't it time for those with sense to finally grow the courage to bring the country back from the brink of destruction?
From Sen. Feinstein on her website: "Who needs these military-style assault weapons? Who needs an ammunition feeding device capable of holding 100 rounds? These weapons are not for hunting deer; they’re for hunting people."
Sen. Feinstein says the bill stops short of dealing with anything retroactively. "It will ban the sale, the transfer, the importation and the possession, not retroactively, but prospectively," and ban the sale of clips of more than ten bullets. The purpose of this bill is to get... weapons of war off the streets."
But the wise thing to do is for Congress to re-think this not quite complete position. How about a national buy-back program to get these guns off the street and out of our homes? American taxpayers would heartily support funds to support such a program. It should be illegal at all - not just going forward - to own these assault rifles and large extended magazine clips. And who needs full body armor unless they are military, police or criminals intending to do harm? It's time to corral the internet sales as well.
Sen. Diane Feinstein on Meet The Press:
Since this massacre of 20 children where are those 31 pro-gun national politicians to be found? Too scared to step forward and push their agenda it seems. They all refused to be interviewed on "Meet The Press" with David Gregory. Even the once powerful gun lobby, the National Rifle Association (NRA), grew silent and took down its facebook page.
Well, one pro-gun Democratic Senator has come forward to demand a national conversation about gun control and restrictions. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va), a darling of the NRA with an "A" rating from them and an avid hunter who had just returned from deer hunting with his family, was interviewed on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and said it's finally time to ban assault weapons.
This turn around attitude comes from a politician that has always opposed the assault weapons ban in the past. Manchin says it's the Newtown tragedy that has changed the political landscape - and shocked him into changing his position just as it has the conservative Republican host, Joe Scarborough, of "Morning Joe."
"It's time to move beyond rhetoric. We need to sit down and have a common-sense discussion and move in a reasonable way. ... Everything has to be on the table. I don't know anyone who in the hunting or sporting arena that goes out with an assault rifle. I don't know anybody that needs 30 rounds in the clip to go hunting. I mean, these are things that need to be talked about."
Sen. Manchin went on to add: "What's happened is that it's always been to the point when once you open it up, pretty soon you'll give up your whole Second Amendment rights, taking guns away and people not allowed to have guns. That's not what this should be about."
"Millions and millions of people are proud gun owners, and they do it responsibly and by the law. So I think opening up and seeing the massacre of so many innocent children, it's changed. It's changed America. We've never seen this happen."
Manchin also thinks the NRA should have a seat at the table for the gun control debate. This does not seem smart. Why? The NRA is the very reason these assault weapons are on the streets and rapidly multiplying even as we debate getting rid of them.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WVA), gun owner, NRA member, calls for gun control:
This Sunday morning I tuned in to "Morning Joe" to find a contrite Joe Scarborough apologizing for his reckless conservative Republican position on gun control. It appears that the mass killing of innocent children finally pierced the brainwashing. It's sad it took something this horrific to finally convince the most conservative among our politicians and commentators to finally wake up and decide to change.
To his credit, Scarborough gave a most passionate and convincing speech, looking directly into the camera as if to pierce the souls of others who think like him. It's clear he feels strongly about this situation and is demanding change. Let's hope he can get through to others in the conservative sphere. He monologue was riveting in its heartfelt passion as it was wide-ranging in scope to suggest ways to begin to deal with such excessive violence in America. It's worth the watch.
Excerpts from his comments as he discussed how these killings had forced him to rethink his long-held belief about gun rights: "From this day forward, nothing can ever be the same again... Let this be our true landmark ... politicians can no longer be allowed to defend the status quo."
Scarborough was obviously shaken by this massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. He said his children's ages were close to those of the victims. He too has a child that has Asberger's.
Joe Scarborough served as a Congressman in 1994. He is a conservative Republican who was practically joined at the hip with the NRA while in Congress. He says his views were Libertarian on the Second Amendment. But in the blink of an eye on Friday when this mass murder occurred, all his ideological views went out the window because the reality came crashing in and "changed everything."
"By now the pros and cons of the gun issue are well known, but here is the question that must be asked: Is what happened Friday the new normal? Of course, there are legitimate reasons - for both pleasure and protection - to own guns.
"But if the slaughter of innocent children is not bad enough to make us rethink what we can do to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, what is bad enough? To what depths of horror must we sink before we say this cannot be tolerated? Are we willing to settle for a culture in which kindergarten children are no longer safe in the classroom, and a visit to the mall or a movie is a life-threatening experience?
"In recent years there has been no serious effort to address this problem. No piece of gun legislation was seriously considered during this session of Congress. It is the subject no one wants to talk about for fear of offending the powerful gun lobby.
"Perhaps it is time to remember what Ed Murrow told us, that 'we are not descended from fearful people.' Our forefathers had the courage to tell the most powerful country of their day, 'You have gone too far, we can tolerate this no more,' and upon their courage America was built.
"Have we - their descendants - become so afraid of the possible political consequences that we are unwilling to explore ways to make a safer world for our children? I can't believe we have. I think we are better than that."