This is one of those commentaries that won’t go over well in some of our households.
It’s about guns.
I know how emotional people get when they talk about their rights to own them. And how the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution protects them. I know that some people worry about government unchecked – that the citizenry needs to have a way to fight tyranny should it be thrust upon it without warning.
I know there are many people out there who firmly believe that no amount of gun control will protect us from the nutcases who would massacre innocents.
And maybe they’re right.
But count me on the side of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who believes that it’s overdue time for a national discussion on limiting access to certain firearms by certain individuals. He says we don’t need more laws. We need enforcement of the laws on the books.
And he wants President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to begin the discussion. I’ll add that I’d like to hear their thoughts on all important issues rather than watching them attack each other in TV commercials.
Let’s have a discussion that matters and let’s start with guns.
Bloomberg is a longtime advocate of strict gun law enforcement. And he made that point again on last week’s CBS News’ “Face the Nation” in the wake of the Colorado theater shootings.
Host Bob Schieffer wondered whether the strength of the National Rifle Association had silenced the presidential candidates on the issue.
“Well, you know, they have to explain themselves as to why, and I shouldn't be putting words in their mouths,” Bloomberg said.
“I don't know what their motives are. The NRA is an organization that is adamant about no controls on weapons in spite of the fact that we have federal laws that say you cannot sell guns to minors, to people with psychiatric problems, or drug problems or convicted felons. And yet they pressure Congress and the White House -- and they've been doing it for decades -- to not fund enforcement of those laws.
“We don't need more laws. We need a couple of fixes. There's a loophole where you can sell guns without a background check at a gun show – 40 percent of guns are sold that way, same thing on the Internet.
“We need to fix the fact that states are supposed to send records into the central database of who has psychiatric problems and who is convicted because when somebody sells a gun, they've got to check the database, and if there's no data in it, it wouldn't do any good.
“The NRA has opposed anything. And if you do a survey it’s interesting … 80 percent of the NRA members say, for example, that the federal laws on guns should be enforced and that we should stop all this closing our eyes and -- and letting people go and buy guns, you know, there are -- there are guns that are advertised on the Internet -- .50-caliber rifle, and it says, ‘able to bring down a commercial jetliner at a mile and a half’ or ‘armor-piercing bullets.’ Last time I saw a deer wearing a bulletproof vest was a long time ago.”
So, in the matter of a couple of months, a disturbed James Eagan Holmes, 24, was able to amass an arsenal of death without anyone questioning his motives, or alerting law enforcement that perhaps this young man has a problem. The sad fact is there’s probably another James Eagan Holmes in the works who will wreak havoc on other innocents in some other place.
Bloomberg is right. Obama and Romney owe us -- at the very least -- a discussion.
The mother of James Eagan Holmes seemed to know immediately that her son was the perpetrator of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history (based on number of casualties).
“You have the right person,” she said to news media upon learning of the situation. “I need to call the police. I need to fly out to Colorado.”
As of this writing, Holmes’ parents were not talking to police.
If you suspected that your son or daughter or friend or relative was capable of committing a heinous crime based on his or her current behavior, would you inform law enforcement authorities?
Perhaps that’s a discussion that ought to start in our homes.
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