Finally, we have a president willing to stand up to the weapons industry and its mouthpiece, the National Rifle Association.
President Barack Obama’s broad initiative to push back on gun violence based on
Vice President Biden’s recommendations is a solid and progressive move
forward—the best by a U.S. President in a generation.
It appears that Americans may be fed up enough with the excuses for inaction that we may see many of the President’s proposals become reality. Huge majorities, including many law-abiding hunters and people with legitimate reason to carry weapons of self-defense, have had enough. They’ve had enough of the proliferation of weapons of war and stockpiles of ammo everywhere producing the leading kill rates in the civilized world.
But, wait. We still have to deal with that increasingly dysfunctional U.S. Congress. Its members appear ready to do what they do best, serve as an obstacle to the public interest. Clear majorities of them respond to special interests, especially those with the big bucks, not the public interest.
Democrat In Name Only, Sen. Mark Warner is a classic example. Shortly after the massacre of little school children and their brave teachers at Sandy Hook elementary in Connecticut, I wrote to Sen. Warner to ask for his support for some no-brainer legislative action to reduce the bloodshed in America, i.e., to strictly ban assault weapons, to ban high capacity magazines, and to close the gun show loophole. That is, do the obvious to reduce the efficiency of the killing.
A few days before President Obama’s announcement of positive action, I got my response from Sen. Warner. Here is what he had to say. After a passing mention of the “tragic shootings” in Connecticut, he reminded me that “I own firearms and I have an ‘A’ rating from the National Rifle Association.” Yes, it was clear that I was hearing directly from the NRA’s Senator in Washington.
He did not so much as mention any of the three policies I specifically asked him to support. He did say “…we need to have a serious discussion on how to best avoid these kinds of mass shootings in the future.” [frequent small group and individual murders and suicides daily are OK, I guess.].
The only two actions he proposed were 1) “…improving the existing criminal background check system..”, and 2) passing a bill he had introduced to “establish a national center for campus public safety within the Department of Justice…” that would help develop campus safety plans. This is the kind of stuff that comes right out of talking points prepared by two organizations that I know of: the NRA and the Republican Party.
Warner is so compromised on the issue of guns - as well as others such as climate change, the social safety net, and workers’ rights - to name just a few, that writing to him or calling him may seem to be a waste of time. Still, it is good to let him know what thoughtful constituents have on their minds and to let him know we’re beginning the search for his replacement in Washington!