You are member of Congress. You are a Senator or a member of the House of Representatives. It doesn’t matter if you are a Democrat, Republican or an Independent. Unless you are living in a cave without television, newspapers or radio, you know that every national survey (except perhaps a survey conducted by the NRA) says almost 90 percent of Americans favor some sort of a gun sale approval process to weed out the crooks and those with dangerous mental problems.
The public doesn’t care if the records are shredded after the sale. They just want to prohibit the sale of guns to those that have a history of wrongdoing or a mental problem that could cause a tragedy.
The polling isn’t suggesting that Americans be prohibited from owning guns. They are not advocating ending the sale of guns. Fine, if every law-abiding American, those of good mental health, want to own a gun. All most Americans ask is that all future sales of guns require a background check to make sure the guns are not falling into the wrong hands.
So what happened when such a bill went to the floor of the Senate for a vote on Apr. 17? Flaunting the vast majority of Americans’ wishes the Senators failed to pass the proposed legislation. It would seem the financial support of the National Rifle Association (NRA) trumped the wishes of the public. Although a majority of Senators voted for the bill there were not enough to meet the 60 votes needed to prevent a filibuster.
Perhaps, more than the loss of financial support, many Senators fear that not supporting the wishes of the NRA would result in their facing a NRA supported opponent when they come up for reelection.
Now Mr. or Ms. Member of Congress, if 90 percent of Americans want some sort of sale clearance, why are you voting against it? Don’t you feel any need to support the demands of your constituents? Don’t you want to get reelected? Why are you being so intimidated by the fringe? You can’t win an election with 10 percent of the voting public supporting you.
I don’t think the NRA, has sufficient money to turn that 90 percent around. Why even the NRA, just a short time ago, supported background checks on gun buyers. I guess the NRA’s big money backers, the gun manufacturers, fear the loss of sales if criminals and those with mental health problems are prohibited from buying guns.
This was a bipartisan issue. The background check bill was drafted, and supported, by Joe Manchim, a Democrat from West Virginia, and Patrick Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania. They even exempted from background check sales between individuals in the hope of gaining support from those still on the fence. Senate Leader Harry Reid said “This compromise legislation shouldn’t be controversial.”
Shame on our Senate failing on America’s attempt to bring some common sense to gun ownership, flaunting America’s wishes, in order to protect their support from the NRA. What a spineless bunch of elected officials.
One last thought. A law enforcement officer friend once told me “owning a gun to protect your home is fine.” However, he said, “If you pull a gun on someone that just broke into your home you had better be ready to shoot. Because if you don’t and they see you have a gun they will shoot you. You are dead. They will shoot you the moment they see a gun in your hand. And, if you do shoot make sure it is a burglar, not your wife or kid up going to the bathroom in the middle of the night.”
What more can I say?
We appreciate your opinions on this column whether in agreement or disagreement. Please send your comments to (fax number) 305-662- 6980 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of this newspaper, its editors or publisher.