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Politicizing a tragedy is a low thing to do, however after tragedies occur; new legislations are usually immediately introduced. We’ve heard promises of gun reform, though its been astoundingly vague, and seen backtracks of previous pro-gun legislative pieces.
As we start to figure out not just why this unspeakable tragedy happened but how we can prevent them in the future, faces are springing up to the forefront. No, I’m not suggesting these politicians are trying to capitalize off the events at Sandy Hook Elementary at all. However, it does appear that politicians are now willing to do something about an issue that should not go away.
But now we aren’t looking at what we need to do, we are now looking at the who’s. We are looking at those with probable national ambitions and how they are trying to be force against gun control.
Martin O’Malley – Maryland
It’s been long suggested that Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) has his eyes on 2016. O’Malley is setting himself up to be, if Massachusetts Sen.-Elect Elizabeth Warren declines a run, the top progressive candidate for the the Democratic base as well. O’Malley continued that march by commenting that new gun restrictions were needed for the state of Maryland especially when dealing with weapons such as AR-15s.
“It’s hard to conclude that these guns should be in the hands of anyone who isn’t a soldier on a battlefield or a law enforcement officer sent into a tactical situation,” O’Malley said of guns like the AR-15.
Note however that O’Malley offered no specifics for his own plan but four Democratic state senators from Maryland are proposing a bill that “would prohibit the sale of assault long guns and pistols and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.”
Maryland has tried a similar proposal before but failed in committee in 2010.
Andrew Cuomo – New York
Just like O’Malley, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been spoken of as a future national candidate. Cuomo immediately stated that he’s looking for new state gun laws to close the loopholes on semi-automatic weapons.
Mark Warner – Virginia
Mark Warner is the top of guy that earns rave reviews from the punditry for being a “centrist” type figure. He was wildly popular as a Governor and now as the junior (and soon to be senior) Democratic senator from Virginia; his national profile seems to be emerging.
Warner isn’t going to be loved by the DailyKos or PolliticsToday segment of the liberal base, but he has hit the news shows appealing for more stringent gun control while touting that he had an A+ rating from the NRA.
I’m a strong Second Amendment rights supporter. I own firearms. On my farm, I have actually got shooting range.
But Friday afternoon, my daughters, who had all come home from college, said, dad, you know, how did this happen? And what are you going to do about it?
And just as a father, the horror of what happened in Connecticut coming on the heels of tragedies at Virginia Tech years before, the tragedy in Colorado, and it seems like about every six or nine months, one of these incidents happening in America, makes me say, you know, enough is enough. There’s got to be a rational way to sort through this.
I’m not saying I have got a perfect piece of legislation. I don’t think there is a single perfect piece of legislation. But in a country where we have got 30,000 gun deaths a year, there’s got to be a way that we can do a bit more. And I hope that responsible gun owners around America will join in this conversation as well.
I think we have got to recognize that it is about rational, appropriate gun rules, but also about mental health issues. And my hope is our country takes a deep breath and doesn’t just simply get exercised by this for a few moments and then push this horrible tragedy back into the background and forget about it.
Warner represents a state that might be inching blue but the fact that a “centrist” senator with possible national ambitions feels safe to make a strong statement like that speaks loud. But if you think Warner is shocking….
Joe Manchin – West Virginia
…then this one will floor you. Joe Manchin, the Democratic senator of West Virginia who famously touted a rifle to show off his opposition to cap and trade, is now speaking out against guns. Manchin is the consummate ConservaDem in the Senate and while he just won two straight elections in a state that’s outright sprinting to the right, his comments are still the most prevalent to me.
In case you missed it Manchin had this to say on guns.
“I don’t know anyone in the sporting or hunting arena that goes out with an assault rifle,” Manchin told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” ”I don’t know anyone that needs 30 rounds in a clip to go hunting. I mean, these are things that need to be talked about.”
Twenty children and six adults were killed Friday by a man firing a military-style semiautomatic weapon. The massacre, Manchin said, “changed the dialogue, and it should move beyond dialogue. We need action.”
“Never before have we seen our babies slaughtered,” the senator said. “Anybody that’s a proud gun owner, anybody that’s a proud member of the NRA, we’re also proud parents. We’re also proud grandparents.
President Barack Obama actually called Manchin today to discuss guns and it looks like Manchin might actually be one of the most powerful voices in the gun reform debate. Mark Warner feeling comfortable talking about this is one thing, but Joe Manchin? It has to show you what this heinous tragedy means to our society. It took one of the worst tragedies in modern-day American history to make people think that gun laws needed to be reformed.
In itself, it is ridiculous that it took all this time for the public sentiment in both the country and it’s legislative powers to be for the end of selling semi-automatic weapons that can hold large clips at a time.
Maybe we should steer the conversation away from guns. Of course there are millions of responsible gun owners who use rifles for sport or has family heirlooms that may be an old bayonet. There are even responsible gun owners that have handguns locked in a chest underneath their beds.
But should we really call this “gun control”. Is a Bushmaster really something that you use for self-protection, sport or as a memento? We aren’t talking about infringing on your 2nd Amendment rights but shouldn’t we just simply call this what it is and that’s “weapon control”.
For too long America has been under the spell of the National Rifle Association. A bunch of powerfully connected lobbyists has capitalized on the fear of many Americans and given cover for those who possess such unnecessary weapons. The fear that your property would be stolen from you by faceless government bureaucrats has instilled a paranoia of epic proportions amongst the NRA.
This is the type of lobbying that leads to perversion of legislation. America is not on the cusp of a huge, dramatic, sweeping change that will affect life as we know it. All it will be doing, if responsible gun reform is brought up, is installing safety in its citizens.