Another masked gunman opened fire randomly into crowds. Isn’t this becoming all too routine? 22-year-old Jacob Roberts walked into a typical holiday season crowded Oregon Mall, and walked through unleashing the fury of a semi-automatic AR-15 on shoppers. 2 people were killed and a 15-year-old girl was seriously wounded. Averting further tragedy, the gun luckily jammed. When he had regained the ability to fire, Roberts took his own life.
Is it time to start talking about gun regulation yet? Whenever I bring this topic up around Republicans, I’m often met with them wrapping themselves in the constitution and making some outlandish comparison between us and the Patriots who fought during the Revolution. How they make that comparison is beyond me, considering a trained British soldier during the Revolutionary War could fire roughly 3 shots a minute. In addition to the time it took to load, when the trigger was pulled, no one could be sure where your musket would actually fire.
Now, an American has the ability to easily purchase semi-automatic assault rifles and large capacity magazines. A semi-automatic AR-15, the gun used in the recent Oregon mall shooting, has the capability to fire about as fast as your finger can pull.
So, how do they make this comparison? I am for responsible gun-ownership and respect that right, but I can’t see what’s wrong with implementing legislation for commonsense solutions to a very serious and prevalent problems. How many more tragedies will it take to loosen the choke the National Rifle Association lobbyists have on our state and federal government? During my time as a staffer in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, I watched disgusted as GOP members halted legislation that aimed to decrease the ability of straw purchasing. (Straw purchasing is when someone buys then sells or gives a gun to someone who is barred from owning one, such as convicted felon or under 21 years old) This legislation was considered to be “common-sense,” a sure and easy way to alleviate a problem to a small degree.
Yet, any type of regulation is viewed as some liberal agenda to strip the right to bear arms from the American people. The NRA has 4.3 million members, and lobby Republican legislators to oppose any and all gun regulation.
This is a different 1%. These aren’t the ones that blow their noses in hundred dollar bills, this 1% spent almost $18 million (Ranking in the top 20 of outside spenders) in 2012 on outside spending during the campaign season to obstruct any legislator that might stand for the 99% of Americans who aren’t due paying NRA members. For some clarification, this doesn’t include “issue” advertisements that don’t have to be disclosed. The overwhelming majority of their contributions (89%) go to Republican candidates.
They oppose virtually any gun control from restrictions on assault weapons to background checks for gun owners.
Let’s not even look at the large amount of people shot and killed each year on a total basis, because this post would never end. Instead, let’s look at the public tragedies that have taken place since the infamous rampage at Virginia Tech.
April 2007 – student Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 people and wounded 15 others at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, before shooting himself, making it the deadliest mass shooting in the United States after 2000.
August 2007 – Three Delaware State University students were shot and killed in “execution style” by a 28-year-old and two 15-year-old boys. A fourth student was shot and stabbed.
September 2007 – A freshman student at Delaware State University shot and wounded two other students at a campus dining hall.
December 2007 – a 20-year-old man killed nine people and injured five others in a shopping center in Omaha, Nebraska.
December 2007 – a woman and her boyfriend shot dead six members of her family on Christmas Eve in Carnation, Washington.
February 2008 – a shooter who is still at large tied up and shot six women at a suburban clothing store in Chicago, leaving five of them dead and the remaining one injured.
February 2008 – a man opened fire in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, killing five students and wounding 16 others before laying down his weapon and surrendering.
July 2008 – A former student shot three people in a computer lab at South Mountain Community College, Phoenix, Arizona.
September 2008 – a mentally ill man who was released from jail one month earlier shot eight people in Alger, Washington, leaving six of them dead and the rest two wounded.
October 2008 – Several men in a car drove up to a dormitory at the University of Central Arkansas and opened fire, killing two students and injuring a third person.
December 2008 – a man dressed in a Santa Claus suit opened fire at a family Christmas party in Covina, California, then set fire on the house and killed himself. Police later found nine people dead in the debris of the house.
March 2009 – a 28-year-old laid-off worker opened fire while driving a car through several towns in Alabama, killing 10 people.
March 2009 – a heavily-armed gunman shot dead eight people, many of them elderly and sick people, in a private-owned nursing home in North Carolina.
March 2009 – six people were shot dead in a high-grade apartment building in Santa Clara, California.
April 2009 – An 18-year-old former student followed a pizza deliveryman into his old dormitory, and shot the deliveryman, a dorm monitor, and himself at Hampton University, Virginia.
April 2009 – a man shot dead 13 people at a civic center in Binghamton, New York.
July 2009 – Six people, including one student, were shot in a drive-by shooting at a community rally on the campus of Texas Southern University, Houston.
November 2009 – U.S. army psychologist Major Nidal Hasan opened fire at a military base in Fort Hood, Texas, leaving 13 dead and 42 others wounded.
February 2010 – A professor opened fire 50 minutes into at a Biological Sciences Department faculty meeting at the University of Alabama, killing three colleagues and wounding three others
January 2011 – a gunman opened fire at a public gathering outside a grocery in Tuscon, Arizona, killing six people including a nine-year-old girl and wounding at least 12 others. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was severely injured with a gunshot to the head.
July 2012 – Masked gunman opens fire at midnight cinema screen of new Batman film The Dark Knight Rises, killing 12 and injuring 58. Suspect James Holmes is arrested by police and awaiting trial.
August 2012 – Gunman kills six people at Sikh temple in Wisconsin before being shot dead by police. Suspect is named as white supremacists Wade Michael Page.
So I’ll ask again, how many more tragedies does it take?
Now let’s look at some legislation the NRA lobbied in Washington in just 2012 (To do all legislation not only in 2012 but since the Virginia Tech tragedy would be overwhelming) For a rule of thumb, anything increasing regulation they opposed, anything decreasing they supported. :
S.570 – A bill to prohibit the Department of Justice from tracking and cataloguing the purchases of multiple rifles and shotguns.
H.R.645 -Second Amendment Enforcement Act
H.R.308 -Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act
H.R.591-To require criminal background checks on all firearms transactions occurring at gun shows.
S.35 -Gun Show Background Check Act of 2011
House Resolution -Expressing no confidence in the Attorney General of the United States.
S.1707-A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to clarify the conditions under which certain persons may be treated as adjudicated mentally incompetent for certain purposes.
The whole slippery slope argument is absurd and ridiculous; steps to increasing safety aren’t restricting freedom. A group that represents 1% of the American population controls and dictates what legislation is acceptable and which isn’t. It’s time the rest of America woke up and realized something can be done about the senseless violence everyone sees when your local news comes on. The Oregon Mall shooting could have been much more deadly, if it wasn’t for the quick response time and training of the officers and the shooter’s gun jamming. As we see time and time again, that’s not always the case. It’s time the NRA is held accountable and seen for what they really do: block anything that hinders their “divine” right to own any type of firearm, even if it’s in the majority of Americans’ best interests.