“As a nation, we have to ask, when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?”
Fine, emotive words, writes Freddy Gray, “but just words.” The question, as sensible as it is, never gets answered, “least of all by politicians like Joe Biden.”
Who is the “we” there?
America? Or the White House? Or the Democratic Party?
He never quite specifies.
Democrats ask why an 18-year-old psychopath can get his hands on an assault weapon. They attack their political enemies for standing in the way of gun reform.
Republicans respond by accusing the Democrats of exploiting a tragedy for political gain.
Both parties are right, in a way, continues Mr. Gray.
But the politics gets in the way of any sensible discussion. The argument for gun control, especially in the wake of tragedy, suits the story that the Democrats like to tell themselves about themselves. They are the party of progress and sanity opposed by God-and-gun crazy Republicans. But, even when they have a majority in the House of Representatives, the Democrats struggle to push for stronger limitations on the right to bear arms.
Yesterday, Barack Obama tweeted: “We’re also angry for them. Nearly ten years after Sandy Hook — and ten days after Buffalo — our country is paralyzed, not by fear, but by a gun lobby and a political party that have shown no willingness to act in any way that might help prevent these tragedies.”
But Obama is the paralysis. He had a supermajority and never passed the laws he says are so obviously needed.
Biden can make more impassioned speeches. He might even enjoy a bounce in the polls, which a cynic might say is what drives him more than anything. But these murder sprees will keep happening.
Yesterday’s horror was in another school. It will be politicized. Not much will change.
Red Flag Laws
A red flag law could be helpful, but citizens and police need to be educated about its existence, offers David French.
Laws don’t enforce themselves. Tragically, it appears that New York’s red flag law could have stopped the Buffalo mass shooting.
David French includes a view from his friend Stephen Gutowski on the Buffalo shooting:
The alleged shooter expressed a general desire in a school assignment to kill himself and others in June 2021. As a result, he was taken by police for a psychological evaluation and spent a day and a half in a mental hospital, according to NPR.
However, he was released and no further action was taken.
If either the police, school administrators, or his parents had filed for an ERPO, the shooter likely would have been prohibited from buying the gun he used in his attack. The shooter’s clear willingness to break dozens of laws, including by illegally modifying his gun, implies he may have been willing to buy a gun illegally even if subject to an ERPO. But making his acquisition of a gun more difficult very well could have prevented the attack.
A red flag law may not have helped, continues Mr. French, “but this dreadful moment should remind us of all the dreadful moments that came before.”
It should remind us that there is a policy that can save lives.
Dear legislatures, pass red flag laws. Now. Give families and police a chance to remove guns from the people who tell us they’re dangerous.
Read more from Freddy Gray here.
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