Dear Commons Community,
Today’s New York Times editorial targets our government leaders who have turned away from any meaningful attempt to enact gun control at any level. Given the horror of Aurora last week, we would have expected some outcry from our elected and would-be officials but alas the response has been lame at best. With the exception of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a few other local politicians, there have be no significant charges against the governmental policies that allow individuals to buy 6,000 rounds of ammunition on mail order, SWAT helmets, chest protectors, and tear gas canisters.
The editorial particularly targets President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney:
“When he was campaigning for office in 2008, Barack Obama vowed to reinstate the assault weapons ban that had expired in 2004. That would have prohibited the AR-15 rifle used in the Colorado theater shooting on Friday, along with the large 100-round magazine attached to it. But as president, Mr. Obama has made no attempt to do so. Mitt Romney banned assault weapons as governor of Massachusetts and undoubtedly saved many lives, but now he opposes all gun control measures. He never repeats what he said in 2004 when he signed the ban:
“Deadly assault weapons have no place in Massachusetts,” he said. “They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people.”
Both men fear the power of gun ideologues, particularly in swing states like Pennsylvania, Nevada and North Carolina, where many voters have fallen under the spell of a gun lobby that considers any restriction an unthinkable assault on the Constitution. Senator Ron Johnson, the Tea Party favorite from Wisconsin, spoke for the Republican Party (and many Democrats) when he said that limiting high-capacity magazines would infringe on a basic right. “When you try and do it, you restrict our freedom,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”
It is one thing when pro-gun activists hide behind the U.S. Constitution to promote their beliefs, it is quite another when our government leaders live in fear of and sell out to the lobbyists.
To overcome their fear, they need only look at the faces of the victims in Aurora, Colorado, or Columbine or Tucson, Arizona.