by Jeremy Leaming
So the path to new gun control measures must wend through far-right states, such as West Virginia, according to a front-page article in The New York Times. In other words, there’s unlikely to be a ban on military-style weapons coming out of the 113th Congress, thanks largely to the overblown and paranoid concerns of gun enthusiasts in a handful of states that the federal government is bent on trampling Second Amendment rights.
That discouraging news, however, did not stop U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein from introducing sweeping legislation aimed at banning the “sale, transfer, importation and manufacture of 157 military-style assault weapon,” and “high-capacity ammunition magazines.”
As noted here before the Second Amendment, like many constitutional rights, is not absolute. The U.S. Supreme Court in D.C. v. Heller pointed that out. But the gun lobby and gun enthusiasts are adept at stirring fear – one measure to curb violence will lead to others, and so on.
Feinstein is aware of the difficulty she faces. “Getting this bill signed into law,” she said, “will be an uphill battle, and I recognize that – but it’s worth waging. We must balance the desire of a few to own military-style weapons with the growing threat to lives across America. If 20 dead children in Newtown wasn’t a wakeup call that these weapons of war don’t belong on the streets, I don’t know what is.”
Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) were also co-sponsors of the bill, The Hill reports.
The measure, The Hill continued, “would also ban semi-automatic rifles and handguns that have fixed magazines capable of carrying more than 10 rounds and all semi-automatic shotguns that have folding or detachable stocks, pistol grips, forward grips, or fixed magazines with room for more than five rounds.”
The NRA and pro-gun senators went ballistic, The New York Times reported. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) declared that the “Second Amendment wasn’t written so you can go hunting, it was to create a force to balance a tyrannical force here.”
That’s the take of many gun enthusiasts. They loathe the federal government and toss words like tyrannical around to rile others up.
As President Obama and N.Y. Governor Andrew Cuomo have said time and again, measures to curb gun violence are not a government overreach and do not undermine the Second Amendment. But sensible words and legislation will hardly persuade many gun enthusiasts. Sen. Feinstein, however, is proving that it is nonetheless time for supporters of common sense measures to curb gun violence to speak up and take action, regardless of the political firestorm awaiting them.