After the Virginia Tech massacre, my daughter asked me, “Daddy, why do we let the criminally insane buy assault weapons in America?”* I didn’t have an answer.
Just as shocking to me as the massacre itself was the stunning lack of intelligent debate about gun control in the weeks after the attack. There was a lot of talk about guns, but it was mostly NRA-funded politicians arguing for more guns or TV commentators declaring that gruesome violence is the price we pay for our Second Amendment rights.
Why no grey? Where’s all the damn grey in America today? It’s all extremes with us: Darwin or God, O’Reilly or Colbert, chicken or nuggets.
Gun control is always painted by the NRA — and, with revolting frequency by the mainstream media — as an either/or proposition. Either we remain awash in gun violence or we restrict Clem’s constitutional right to rustle up some squirrel pâté. Either we continue to suffer thousands of needless deaths or we prevent little old ladies from defending themselves.
The truth is, there is a LOT of grey when it comes to gun law. And here it is. Congress should:
• ban military-style assault weapons that serve no sporting purpose
• pass the National Instant Check Improvement Act
• require background checks for all gun sales
• impose a waiting period to allow a background check
• reinstate the ban on ammunition magazines larger than 10 rounds
• require semi-automatic “microstamping” to help police capture murderers
See? Grey. Would any of that impinge upon your freedom? Those are the common-sense recommendations of the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence, an outfit the NRA would have you believe is a group of commies hell-bent on banning your right to bear arms. Wrong. The Brady Campaign is named after Jim Brady, President Reagan’s press secretary who was shot by John Hinckley, who was trying to assassinate Reagan to impress Jodie Foster because he watched Robert De Niro play Travis Bickle in “Taxi Driver” too many times.
That’s the type of person whose rights the NRA is protecting.
Remember, Brady worked for Reagan, a man who approved the illegal sale of arms to Iran to fund right-wing terrorists in Nicaragua. In the United States, there is more than enough crazy to go around.
Thirty-two people died at Virginia Tech and scores more were wounded. Coincidentally, 32 people are murdered with guns every day in this country. The tally skyrockets to 80 when you include suicides and accidents. And guns were used in 11,344 murders in 2004, compared to 73 in England and 184 in Canada.
Would the Brady recommendations stop all murders? No. Would they have stopped Virginia Tech? Yes. Would they stop thousands of murders nationwide? Yes. Please visit bradycampaign.org to learn more.
So, Shooter McPowpow, if you don’t like Brady’s recommendations for compromise, what do you suggest? The NRA’s way isn’t working.
*I’m paraphrasing. Her exact words were, “Dad, can I go to the movies with Rachel?”
Visit Jim Welp’s blog, “Oh, For God’s Sake!,” at jimwelp.blogspot.com. Contact him at