As a comedian, I look to the absurdities of life as a primary source of material.
And there is nothing more tragically absurd than the resistance by mostly Republicans and some Democrats in Congress to any kind of gun control legislation. And not only do they reject common sense reforms supported by almost 90% of Americans, they are about to vote on a bill that would expand the use of silencers on guns. Their reaction to yet another mass slaughter of Americans by a man with weapons of mass destruction, is to expand, not restrict gun rights. Because to them, the problem with guns is not that they kill tens of thousands of Americans each year, but that they’re too loud. These representatives are only representing the interests of the NRA, which pours millions of dollars into their campaign war chest. And it is a war chest, because the virtually unrestricted access to almost any kind of gun has turned America into a daily war zone with no end in sight.
As morally bankrupt as they are, the NRA is not solely to blame. And at least their sick, twisted, un-American and murderous policies have an explanation. Their only concern is helping gun manufacturers sell as many guns as possible, despite the deadly consequences. But how can any decent and feeling human being reject even the most basic of safeguards? What’s their excuse? Their most common response is, “Why should we punish decent, law abiding Americans and take away their guns?” First of all, despite eight years of pundits whining on Fox News that “President Obama wants to take your guns away” and later warning that Hillary Clinton would do the same, NONE of the laws being proposed today, or ever, say anything about taking away the handguns and rifles of law abiding and mentally fit Americans.
But no decent, law abiding American needs an assault weapon like the AR-15 that would still be banned if the law wasn’t allowed to lapse in 2004. Instead, millions of AR-15’s have been sold, and in addition to being used in Las Vegas on Sunday, the AR-15 was the weapon of choice in the Orlando, Newtown, Aurora and San Bernardino mass killings. The assault weapons ban, which includes banning high capacity ammunition, must be reinstated and strengthened. Universal background checks, including private gun sales and at gun shows, must be instituted. And about 90% of Americans agree. But the only Americans those opposed to these bills care about are the deep pocketed leaders and donors of the NRA, not the American people.
What possible reason could anyone have to support the availability of assault weapons and their high capacity magazines, which are designed to inflict mass carnage on the battlefield, not on our streets and in our schools and at concerts? And why would anyone oppose having background checks at a gun show or through private sales, especially if one is rightly concerned about terrorists and those with mental health issues, among others, getting a hold of these weapons?
Another common dishonest refrain, as Paul Ryan said once again today, is “The problem isn’t guns, it’s mental health.” And then Republicans like Ryan proceed to do nothing about mental health and guns. Although I shouldn’t say nothing. President Trump did reverse a regulation that President Obama instituted after Newtown, that required the Social Security Administration to disclose information quarterly to the national gun background check system about certain people with mental illness. So the truth is they don’t really care about mental health either.
And finally there is the bump stock which is a legal and inexpensive device, sold for about $99, that the Las Vegas shooter attached to two semi automatic rifles that turned it into an automatic weapon that fired hundreds of rounds a minute. Senator Diane Feinstein proposed a ban on bump stocks in 2013, and not surprisingly Congress never acted on her proposal. Once again, how could any decent law abiding human being be opposed to banning that device?
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who said that now is not the time to talk about gun control, or those on Facebook who attack their friends for “politicizing” the issue, are wrong. Now is the time to fight for the sensible, humane gun control legislation that failed to pass even after 20 elementary school children were murdered, along with six adults, in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012. It’s time to fight to save the lives of countless Americans. And this time, we can’t stop fighting until we win.