Bender: Republicans are pro-life until their guns are involved
"The blood was still warm last week when Republicans sprinted to the podium to defend guns, despite the fact that 83% of Americans demand more regulation, including 72% of NRA members, according to a Public Policy Poll. That's the stranglehold the NRA has on timid Republicans."
Republicans are pro-abortion. It's impossible to argue. After all, Republican gun policies led to the late-term abortions of 21 individuals in Texas last week, mostly third- and fourth-graders.
Maybe a good third-grader with a gun would have made a difference against the 18-year-old whose legally purchased AR-15 gave him more firepower than the officers who initially responded, more firepower than the M-16 American soldiers carried in Vietnam. But at least they had grenades, which begs the question, when's the NRA going to get on that?
There are two distinctive philosophies when it comes to gun legislation.
- Republicans: The more guns and the more ammunition you can pack into them the merrier, and a massacre of school children every now and then is just the price of freedom, the acceptable cost of business. Restrictions are a slippery slope! (A bloody slope is especially slippery.)
- Democrats: Any arguable constitutional right to bear arms has limitations and we ought to revisit the passage that stipulates a “well-regulated militia.”
Here's the obligatory disclaimer where I waste precious ink to note that I'm a gun owner, a grade-school gopher hunter who learned gun safety from a cowboy grandfather, took NRA hunter safety courses back when they cared about safety and, more recently, a student in a concealed weapons class where the most important thing we learned was under what circumstance one might pull the trigger. The answer? Almost never. The last thing I shot was a coyote. The next thing will be the skunk that's burrowed under my garden shed.
We've devolved from the point when, as governor, Saint Ronald Reagan signed legislation banning open carry in California. Of course, that was because Black Panthers were doing it.
The blood was still warm last week when Republicans sprinted to the podium to defend — not the children — guns, despite the fact that 83% of Americans demand more regulation, including 72% of NRA members, according to a Public Policy Poll . That's the stranglehold the NRA has on timid Republicans.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared that it's a mental health issue. Indeed. Look in the mirror. He's loosened gun laws to the point that it's become an invitation to carnage. By the way, is it possible that active shooter drills adversely affect the mental health of America's schoolchildren? Today's lesson: You could be massacred any day.
Clearly, access is the biggest issue. It was easy for the killer to procure more firepower than the cops.
Republican paralysis seems driven by the thought that “we'll never stop all gun violence, so we shouldn't bother trying.” That's not their approach to the defense of the unborn at the moment of conception, though. Defending “babies” is only important when politically expedient.
Consider an old-fashioned Republican market-based measure that would make a difference. You must be tested and insured to drive a vehicle because 4,000 pounds of steel careening down the highway at 75 mph is potentially (if not intentionally) dangerous. We still have accidents, sure, but fewer of them with common-sense regulations.
Guns are designed to kill. Something. Someone. Implement universal background checks, raise the ownership age, require competency and mental health tests and insurance for gun owners. Then, let insurers decide just how much they trust Crazy Old Uncle Bob.
It's a thought. Screw the prayers. Do something, Republicans.
Tony Bender writes an exclusive weekly column for Forum News Service. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of this publication, nor Forum Communications ownership.