What More Does it Take?

A national killing spree now takes the lives of children. What more does it take for the NRA to be shoved aside for a rational debate about gun control?

Though a majority of Americans believe in a broad right to own guns, they also support universal background checks, permit requirements, and measures to keep guns out of the hands of potentially dangerous people. But there is a myth among the political class, perpetuated by the NRA, that backing such measures loses elections.

Already we hear the usual gun horror show routine. First, while we grieve we are told now is not the time for a gun control debate. Then, after the tragedy fades there never is a time.

If not now, when? Perhaps there is nothing we can do. But we can’t know if we can’t even have a reasonable, fact-based discussion about the possibilities.

One thing it is time for: the National Rifle Association should calm down, get out of the way or be put out of the way.

Some thoughts from ThinkProgress about the NRA’s exaggerated power while we absorb this latest tragedy:

56 thoughts on “What More Does it Take?”

  1. The events in Connecticut are sickening…

    Coupled with the events earlier in the week here in Oregon, we all need to do some soul-searching…

    I worry very much about the kinds of anxieties these events bring to our children…

  2. Jay Carney said that it was not the time to discuss gun control legislation, the Washington Post reports.

    “I’m sure there will be rather a day for discussion of the usual Washington policy debates, but I don’t think today is that day.”

    Yep, “rather a day” is all it usually gets. Same old pattern. When the nation is outraged we’re told “now is not the time” — but then there never is a time.

  3. Craig… Bravo for this column. I’m one of those that believes in the rights for Americans to own guns… yet support all the measures you mentioned in your second paragraph. Christ sakes… what will it take for us to start a conversation on this topic indeed.

    I mourn for all those that are dead and their families. I understand AnonP that you’re saddened and angry… but violence only begets more violence… I say no more.

  4. I think this is the day to discuss gun issues. People are talking about security issues in schools and what could be done to prevent something like this…
    isn’t not allowing people to have automatic weapons a good start?

  5. On the gun issues there are compromises that common sense people can support.
    Science fiction writer David Brin wrote an essay 20 years ago on a compromise that can alleviate the fears of the gun control crowd and the 2nd amendment crowd.
    Lets meet in the middle on this one we need a solution for something that is obviously out of control

  6. I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent. – Gandhi

  7. KGC

    In re: to the term “automatic”

    When you use it you end up with a big misdirecting debate over the term. To avoid that the State of Missouri in their hunter regulations uses the term “self loading” as opposed to a bolt action rifle which is “manual loading” It also lets you put both fully automatic and semi automatic in the same category. It, also, circumvents all of those prewritten rants from the NRA types.
    Just a thought.

    Mo hunting regs limit the clip to 10 rounds, if you are out in the feild with a clip larger than that you get a ticket, even if you only have 2 shells in it.

  8. AnonP…
    I don’t care how angry you are… the advocating of killing innocent children because you object to a political stance taken by their parents is disgusting. IMO, there is absolutely nothing Christian (or any other religion) about that… and there is absolutely no justification for that kind of posting.

    You have a right to free speech and you are a member of this community…. but I will not be associated with those words.

  9. Let’s hear from the NRA or one of the chickenshit,corrupt politicians that are taking money from them to influence their vote instead of doing what they were elected to do.

  10. 10 bullets in the clip, one in the chamber; more clips in the pockets, and a trunkful in the car.

  11. Moronic Oxymoron Alert
    Sanctimonious Santorum : From before the revolution itself, the governorship of Virginia has been held by some of the greatest defenders of America’s foundational principles, and I am excited to support Ken’s candidacy to help him continue this tradition as Virginia’s next governor.

  12. Craig,

    I hope your right. We as a society used to be able to marginalize these radical bastards. Now the margins won’t hold them all.

  13. Obama’s remarks about the shooting. surprisingly eloquent considering the difficulty he had reading the speech. With tears in his eyes he almost lost it at one point.


  14. From ann coulter to the huckster to rush limbag, rightwingbatshitcrazy celebrities are cheering their right to murder children.

    Spread the word.

  15. xrep

    Huckabee et al are very good at shooting themselves in the foot, I doubt that they need your help. The need isn’t to convert the crazies but to move the doubtful moderates.

    The problem with getting down in the mud is everybody looks alike.


  16. Jack,

    Great advice. I wish I could react more like you, more intellectually.

    Mine is a more visceral, less reasoned reaction, perhaps from my experience of helping families clean the guts of their loved ones off the kitchen counters, and the brains off of the living room walls. Maybe I feel this anger because, once again, there is carnage – wet, sticky, and foul smelling – and inexpressible agony, and I am still helpless to do a fucking thing about it.

    However, I would like to process it in a rationally clinically cool manner.

  17. Liberals and reasonable moderates need to get used to the fact that we are winning the culture war. I know it’s tough to believe after decades of abuse. But it really is happening. God, guns and gays no longer win the day for right wingers. Rational debate is no longer an oxymoron. At long last, the morons are finally losing. Be afraid no more.

  18. Mates, murder of children at any time draws out intense emotions. I can see them flowing through the posts. But anger is pointless if it is partisan, as much of the commentary here is today. No parent who happens to support the GOP would advocate for the slaughter of children. Huckerbee is so lost in his own personal grief he is reaching out to make sense of the senseless – as inappropriate as it might sound. Scoring political points of anger against the GOP trivialises the victims of this tragedy. As hard as it might sound, many Dems are also gunnuts with the NRA. This is a group thing without political markings. The solution is a group thing.

    Gun control is a difficult issue. It is difficult in Oz – we are still trying to get that balance right and not doing it particularly well. Yet we live in a gun control environment with very tight restrictions.

    When we had the Port Arthur Massacre, there was a national debate over gun control and a very bi-partisan solution. Until there is the national dialogue with bi-partisan support looking for a sane solution, this will be brushed off as yet another massacre and we will await the next one which will come as sure as night follows day.

    Mates, it is up to you folks to re-engage as a nation in a dialogue of matters that affect everyone collectively. Gun control is just one on a long list that needs attention. At the moment we on the outside see the American federation as broken and fragmenting badly. The lack of common approach on key and fundamental policies is the articulation of this broken federation.

    Talk to each other peeps.

  19. What a difference a gun makes.

    from China

    “Twenty-two elementary school students were stabbed, so was an adult villager” but none of the victims died, the official, who declined to give his name, told AFP.

  20. Greetings from the desert. Tragedy abounds in the land. Yes, Craig, I, too, think progressives are winning the cultural wars in very slow and methodical ways. At the same time, I’m very pessimistic about a reduction in violence and especially gun related tragedies. Here in AZ in recent years, the Republican controlled legislature has made it possible to take guns to church, bars, and only narrowly defeated guns to campuses. The other day close to my town a car was stopped and the owner had 4,500 rounds of ammunition on board. Hunter? I doubt it! SCOTUS needs to revisit the 2nd amendment decision of two years ago and make it clear that unlimited gun ownership isn’t constitutional. If that hurdle can be cleared, then there is some hope. Just my two cents worth.

  21. “At long last, the morons are finally losing.”

    Then why the Hell aren’t they retreating?

  22. California has strict gun laws and the lowest incidences of gun violence

    The laws work.

  23. Yes it is about the guns.

    Several years ago Texas published the arrest # for people with conceal carry permits. This lets you do an apples to apples comparison to FBI general population stats.
    Texas removed that stat and now only carry those convicted while still possesing a CC permit. a useless stat.

    I played with the numbers one night when I was carrying on a long gun control arguement. Un fortunately they are all on a long dead computers hard drive and google groups didn’t keep good archives of the usenet archives. So I am working from 10yr old memory.
    What I found was cc permit holders were arrested at rate 5 or 6 times greater than the general population after removing those that kept there permits assuming that they were self defense and accounting for the fact that 1/2 of all murders are never solved by assuming that all cc permit holders turned themselves in. I still found that permit holders were more likely to be arrested for murder.
    Remember this is a select group over 21, criminal background check, training, a group that should have come in under the general population but they didn’t.
    Now their assault rates weren’t elevated so they weren’t anymore violent than the average population.
    They were just better at killing.

    Jack, a gun owner for 47 years this coming Christmas

  24. Craig,

    I’m sure your right.
    It just seem as though the up and coming crop of wing nuts has convinced themselves that their only problem is how to sugar coat their vile tasting message.

  25. Say what you will, 27 families are bereft of their loved ones, and all the rightwingbatshitcrazies do is extol the weapons that tore the victims apart. It is obscene.

  26. Now is the time to take this issue on.
    We can find sanity out of this insanity.
    We start immediately.

    Retribution accomplishes nothing. An eye for an eye ends up making both parties blind, and never being able to find the light that leads us out of this darkness.

    Moderates, Progressives…Now is the Time. Speak Up, Speak Out. Make our elected officials stand up and be counted. Our citizens are slaughtering our citizens. And they’re using guns. “Guns don’t kill People, People kill People”. Well, all those people being killed by people died because they were shot. By a gun.
    Talking about Rights, what about my Right and your Right not to be killed by a troubled loner, a domestic situation turned sour, a freaked out druggie? I can speak from personal experience:I have had a shotgun pointed directly at me, inches from my face. Been there. Don’t Second Amendment me, Thank You.
    This tragedy is as low as you can go. Shooting 5-10 year olds, in school, reaches the depths of depravity. Seriously, we hit bottom as a Society. Dry our tears, scream out our anger, and do something about it. Don’t just bitch the next time this happens. Because it will, if we don’t. I believe, and will always believe, people are more important than guns. Period. We are better than this.

  27. Whoa…It was hard to watch my fave newscast, NBC, but Anne Thompson and Brian did as well as possible on this sunny black day.
    This one was different for many, including me. It was harder to compartmentalize . Twenty little kids murdered … it’s as bad as trying to make sense out of the stories Richard Engel has been dispatching from Aleppo. It’s grim. Usually I can move along with my daily life after a monumental event like this one in Newtown, but not today. This one hit me like 9-11-01. I was moving around like a numbed robot as I walked and fed the dogs and took care of the cat. I am sure most of you feel the same way. I don’t feel like praying or watching anymore TV tonight. Drinking isn’t an option for me, and I find myself wanting to exchange a few emails with my old sobriety buddy Lee Carmichael from Fort Worth, but of course he’s gone now too. The world is a gloomy place tonight…there’s hope with a new day I suppose so let this day just end.

  28. “If not now, when?” Craig, You’re right to raise the question here, but I think Jay Carney and the President struck the right tone today for the national stage. America’s first concern is for the victims and their families.

    As Jamie’s link to Mother Jones showed us, the crazies on the right seized the opportunity to go on offense today, and their only accomplishment was to be offensive.

    I’m sure there was no perfect way to prevent what happened this morning, but that doesn’t excuse those in authority from their responsibility to try. While I understand Anon’s and other’s frustation, the wild-west approach is wrong no matter which side uses it.

  29. My heart goes out to you, Dex. Hang in there, friend.

    Like all of you, I am sad and sick and angry over today’s murders. It’s time…time for all of us to demand legislative action that restores sane gun control measures.

    Thanks for your perspective, Bill. You make a lot of sense.

  30. Yep EdVB, I am fine with appropriate postponement of a meaningful gun debate (today, but not next week), so long as it doesn’t become the usual excuse to do nothing ever at all.

    And yes, I’ve asked Anon to revise his remarks, not gonna wait much longer.

  31. Twenty little kids got killed and ann coulter gave her condolences to the gun makers.

    She’s obscene.

  32. Bill, I appreciate your “talk to each other peeps” sentiment but I’m afraid it’s not that simple. There are reasonable folks in both parties who can talk about this issue, but we’ve got to get past the unreasonable gun lobby (NRA et al) to do it. And that’s gonna take some tough talk, or we can’t even have a rational discussion. No this doesn’t have to be partisan. But until Republicans break their dependency on right wing fringe lunatics our broken system cannot be fixed. Their party has been hijacked by nuts on this and many other issues. Their leaders know it. The country will be so much better off when they do something about it, or we’ll never get back to the pragmatic governing that makes our system work.

  33. “…I am fine with appropriate postponement of a meaningful gun debate (today, but not next week), so long as it doesn’t become the usual excuse to do nothing ever at all.” – CC@10:22pm

    I’m behind you, Boss.

  34. Craig

    I think this time is different. As in the last election the right wing is not going to recognise this and shoot themselves in the foot. What everybody needs to do is have a reasonable plan in place. Which is why I put up a link to Brins Jefferson rifle essay. I think it could work.


  35. If you remove the second amendment from the debate and hunting then you are able to force the NRA to defend the need for large capacity firearms. Then they sound like the nuts they are.

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