I’ve been on the road lately, and everywhere I go, I hear huge determination to curb gun violence and real excitement about a simple, really important first step we can take: closing the so-called gun show loophole and instituting one simple system for background checks.
But then I read the newspaper or watch TV, and I hear other voices — specifically, the leadership of the National Rifle Association — describing this proposed legislation in terms that are misleading at best. They’re calling on legislators to make it easier, instead of harder, for criminals and the dangerously mentally ill to get guns.
You read that right. Not harder, easier. Which isn’t what the more than 74 percent of NRA members in this country who are law-abiding citizens and responsible gun owners, as Gabby and I are, and who support expanding background checks, believe.
Making the system of background checks fair and consistent isn’t hard to understand. If you don’t think there should be two different sets of rules, leveling the playing field and expanding the effective National Instant Criminal Background Check System is the way to go. For the same reasons we don’t make getting screened for bombs or weapons at the airport optional, or registering your car something you only have to do if you want to, having a giant loophole in the background check system just doesn’t make sense.
I have said it before, but it bears repeating, that the single biggest threat to the NRA's ability to wait out the outcry for new gun laws after Newtown is Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly.
Gabby is a living reminder of the devastation done in this country due to ineffective gun legislation, and with Mark by her side they are a force that NO amount of NRA money will be able to minimize or defend against.
And they are not alone. This from NBC News:
In the latest poll, 86 percent of African Americans, 82 percent of Democrats, 72 percent of Hispanics, and 71 percent of urban respondents said they were in favor of stricter gun laws, all up double-digits from 2011.
Urban: 71% (Feb. 2013) - 55% (Jan. 2011). Net change: +16
African Americans: 86% (Feb. 2013) - 71% (Jan. 2011) Net change: +15
Republicans: 37% (Feb. 2013) - 24% (Jan. 2011). Net change: +13
Hispanics: 72% (Feb. 2013) - 60% (Jan. 2011). Net change: +12
Democrats: 82% (Feb. 2013) - 71% (Jan. 2011). Net change: +11
Men: 51% (Feb. 2013) - 42% (Jan. 2011). Net change: +9
Women: 69% (Feb. 2013) - 61% (Jan. 2011). Net change: +8
Suburban: 59% (Feb. 2013) - 51% (Jan. 2011). Net change: +8
Whites: 55% (Feb. 2013) - 48% (Jan. 2011). Net change: +7
Rural: 48% (Feb. 2013) - 41% (Jan. 2011). Net change: +7
Independents: 49% (Feb. 2013) - 48% (Jan. 2011). Net change: +1
SOURCE: NBC/WSJ poll
You know we all said that this time it was different after the Sandy Hook shooting occurred and at the time I for one was saying that more hopefully than assuredly.
But do you know what? This time it IS different.
And those that do not see that are doomed to lose politically, personally, and morally.