Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Early Celebration Penalties

We hope our readers today will notice that we're not following the lead of some other media organizations who are focused solely on the Olympics - or blaming their problems delivering live video feeds of the Olympics on their viewers - or on Mitt Romney's continuing international gaffe tour.

We're focusing on something they still should be - and you probably should be too.

Yesterday, in a courtroom in a suburb of Denver, the man responsible for killing twelve people at a showing of the new Batman movie was officially charged with 141 felonies, including 116 counts of attempted murder, and 24 counts of murder. There have been further tragedies stemming from that horrible event, and sadly, further shootings in other places in the U.S..

There has even been a very small amount of change in public opinion - nearly negligible - towards supporting more sensible gun ownership laws.

What has not happened, however, is any significant and serious movement  towards sensible gun control laws - especially by Republicans.

In fact, in the wake of the Aurora shootings, background checks for people wanting to buy guns in Colorado actually jumped more than 41 percent.

Nationally, it seems that only a very small group of Democratic members of Congress are concerned enough about the mass shooting in Colorado to actually do anything. It does not surprise us at all that New York Rep. Carolyn McCarthy and New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg have been pushing forward new legislation to try and restrict - if nothing else - anonymous, unlimited online ammunition sales.

What did surprise us were the words that Supreme Court Justice Scalia spoke this past weekend on the subject of gun control.

Scalia has become known over the years for his leanings towards severe and sometimes extremist conservative views - like his opinion that 'handheld rocket launchers' could be Constitutional. In the midst of that extreme rhetoric, however, were some words that that should at least give those of us tired of hearing about gun massacres in the U.S. a bit of hope.

As the Christian Science Monitor noted on Monday, Scalia also made it clear that there is a legal opening for legislators to act and bring forward new gun control legislation - one that he appears to be willing to consider.

We know that this ray of hope may seem small and dim in light of the fact that too few legislators are willing to take on the massive lobby of the NRA - so we're certainly not celebrating, or saying that the issue of gun control is settled.

It is, however, a ray of hope that goes all the way through to the highest court in the land.

We hope that before this opportunity slips away - and before another massacre takes place - a majority of our lawmakers will take advantage of the moment and enact sensible gun control that even law-abiding gun owners support.

If our lawmakers don't use this opening properly, the penalties most likely won't fall on elected officials, but on the next group of innocents, who didn't need to be victims at all.

No comments:

Post a Comment