I have said this before, but it probably needs to be said again: Strict gun control laws1 are not going to stop mass shootings in the United States – for at least two reasons. First, regardless of how obvious such laws may seem to some people, the Constitution prohibits them (at least until either a constitutional amendment is adopted [the estimated effective date of that being f-o-r-e-v-e-r] or the composition of the Supreme Court changes). Also, lots of people oppose them.
But even if strict gun control laws were passed, that wouldn’t solve the problem of the tens of millions of guns already in the United States – unless you are going to conduct a house-to-house search for illegal guns. Some people say we should have never allowed all those guns to be here. But they are here now – and we have to deal with the situation as it is, not as how we wish it were.
- “Require background checks for every gun purchase, including those at gun shows and transactions between private parties.”
- “Limit the capacity of magazine clips to, say, ten rounds. That would force an assailant to frequently reload or switch weapons, buying time for victims to escape, good Samaritans to overtake him and law enforcement to arrive.”
- “Ban ‘bump stock’ devices that convert semi-automatic rifles into machine gun-like weapons.”
These ideas are not going to prevent gun massacres, and supporters of strict gun control laws will say these ideas are not enough. That may be true, but they are something, and they may help a little.
I don’t know if all three of these ideas can be passed. The third shouldn’t be a problem, as long as it is properly worded, and strict gun control supporters do not try to sneak extra restrictions in.
Which is part of the problem. Proponents of strict gun control see their opponents, not as “opponents,” but as gun-toting hicks who don’t care about little children dying. Senator Chris Murphy (D) of Connecticut summed up their attitude with this tweet after the south Texas shooting:
“Can you sleep tonight, colleagues, when the price of gun lobby goodwill is this - blood soaked church and school floors, city streets?”
I understand Senator Murphy is frustrated, but is the best way to accomplish what he wants?
As I said, I don’t know if all three of the Tribune’s ideas can be passed. The key is to pass whatever can be passed. If won’t be enough for the proponents of strict gun control, but can’t they agree to just start? Get what you can now, even if it is too little, and try for more later. It won’t stop the shootings (but then strict gun control won’t either – see above), but it might reduce them some. And it’s hard to see why something, even if too little, isn’t better than nothing.
1 I am not sure what the definition of “strict gun control” is, but I think we can agree it is way more than the three ideas in the Tribune.