WOW – I sure got raked over the coals on my latest post titled “NRA vows to sabotage federal gun control proposals”. Fortunately I was able to extricate myself from the line of fire when my two key antagonists got into an extremely spirited battle with each other.
Returning briefly to the NRA, I applaud their pushing for measures to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, until the person desiring to purchase a gun is able to submit convincing evidence that he or she has been restored to an appropriate level of mental-emotional stability. I remain, however, staunchly opposed to the NRA’s posture of intimidation in going all-out to block reinstatement of the federal ban on assault weapons. As I stated in a recent post, the law banning assault weapons was passed in 1994 under the Clinton administration and expired in 2004 under the Bush administration, when supporters were unable to garner sufficient support to extend the ban.
OK now – what about my claim that the majority of Americans want strong gun controls? The Associated Press issued a release carried in this morning’s papers that contained a sidebar summarizing findings of a recent Pew Research Center survey to assess the level of support for various gun control proposals. The Pew Center is a highly credible opinion research organization and their report is based on findings of a poll of 1,502 adults conducted over January 9-13, 2013.
Findings of the Pew Center survey include:
- 85 percent of respondents support background checks for private and gun show sales. (According to the Brady Committee, a full 40 percent of all gun sales take place either at gun shows or via the internet, and are currently exempted from background check requirements.)
- 80 percent believe that people with mental illness should be barred from purchasing guns.
- 58 percent support a ban on semi-automatic weapons, and 55 percent support a ban on assault-style weapons.
- 54 percent support bans on high-capacity ammunition clips, and 53 percent support a ban on on-line sales of ammunition.
Significantly, while 64 percent support presence of armed security guards or police in more schools, only 40 percent responded that they would like to see more teachers and school officials with guns in schools. I suspect that many of these respondents might believe that serving as part-time guards may compromise the teacher’s primary role as an educator, and question whether teachers and school officials should be expected to put their lives on the line in the event of a threatened shooting.
It is evident from these findings that in the heels of the recent Newtown tragedy, the greater majority of American are now in favor of strong gun control measures. Members of both houses of Congress who may be timorous to buck the NRA on this issue should take heed to the desires of their constituents! While the NRA clearly supports placing armed guards or police in schools, I suspect that they will be staunchly opposed to the other reform measures requiring Congressional approval covered in the Pew Center survey. This obstructionist stance is clearly out of step with wishes the majority of Americans and, I suspect, a large proportion of the NRA’s own membership base.
I personally have mixed feeling regarding the NRA’s proposal to protect our children by placing armed guards or police in our schools. I am OK with this, as long as costs of stationing these guards on campus do not come out of education budgets and are covered by other sources, such police or sheriff’s department budgets. Lord know our country has fallen way behind many other industrialized nations concerning the quality of education in our public schools: we most definitely cannot afford any further teacher cutbacks!
The take-home here is that if we truly want our federal Representatives and Senators to support the strong gun control measures that our President unveiled earlier today, we must take very seriously the words of our President at this press conference: “I will put everything I’ve got into this and so will Joe [Biden], but I tell you the only way we can change is if the American people demand it!”