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David Gaul
Shelby County Democratic Party Co-Chair


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David Gaul
Donna Clothier
Kathleen Cue

THE REACH FOR SANITY

The issue of gun control is particularly baffling.  I've never been a fan of guns.  I think the 2nd Amendment is obsolete and should be repealed.  It's the thing underlying and bolstering all gun-right advocacy.  It's been perverted and subverted to the detriment of our society.  Unfortunately it's probably not going away in my lifetime.  Short of it repeal, however, there are things that must be done.

On Wednesday, January 16th, the President made history by unveiling his proposals on gun control as crafted by Vice President Biden's task force assigned to study this matter in the aftermath of Newtown.  Some of them can be implemented through executive action.  Others, like the assault weapons ban, ammunition clip restrictions and universal background checks, will have to go through Congress...

Where they will die.  House Republicans will never pass meaningful gun control measures, which is the definition of crazy. Recently on MSNBC broadcast, Karen Finney made the astute point that it's harder to get pseudoephedrine, commonly known as Sudafed, from your local pharmacist than it is to get a gun or quantities of ammunition from Walmart.  Seriously.   In March of 2006, President Bush signed the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act.  It created a national database in which all purchasers of Sudafed, i.e. pseudoephedrine, had to show a valid ID and register with a signature when buying it at a drugstore.  Furthermore, it imposed strict limits on the amount that could be purchased within any 30-day time period whether buying it at a drugstore or through mail order.  As I recall, the law passed with relatively little controversy because most people saw it as an effective means of slowing down a growing epidemic of methamphetamine drug use. 

Alas, the gun lobby rejects the same argument when it comes to guns and bullets, as do most Republicans.  Well, they do so at their own peril.  I suspect that the President's proposals will be passed by the Senate even after much fuming and frothing by wingnuts like Rand Paul.   John Boehner's House of Representatives, however, will serve as the NRA's firewall.  Boehner will not bring any of the substantive matters to an up-or-down vote on the House floor.  If he did, they would pass with overwhelming Democratic support and a smattering of Republican votes.  But the Speaker is not obligated to bring any measures to the floor for a vote if he doesn't want to.  We saw that last year with the farm bill.  Had he brought that measure to the floor it would have passed, and we would have a new farm bill in place today. 

The same will happen with a new assault-weapons bill.  Under intense pressure from the NRA enforcers, Boehner's House and the extreme tea party Republicans it shelters will not take up any meaningful gun control measures.  The effort to bring sanity to the gun situation in this country will stall.

So be it.  Win or lose, this is an effort that's long overdue.  The President, at long last, has decided that there will be no more blood on his hands as a result of his inaction.  The President knows that the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary is not the last such event.  There will be more--maybe today, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week or maybe next month.  Maybe it will happen at a school or a shopping mall or a church or a theater or a restaurant, but it will happen.  It's a sure bet.  When it does happen again, there will be a reckoning for any Republican who this time around opposes gun control efforts.  People will turn to John Boehner and ask, "Speaker Boehner, why didn't you do something when you had the chance?"  Republicans who fight on the side of the NRA in the coming weeks deserve the dismal and deserved fate that will eventually befall them. 

Maybe now we have finally come to an epiphany on guns.  Maybe this is our Come-to-Jesus moment on guns.  Maybe we are finally waking up.  Given the politics of the tea party, the inevitable may be delayed for a time, but it will be a short time.  The extremists will pushed aside by the sweeping tide of Americans who finally are no longer afraid to say, "Enough is enough!"




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