The odometer turned today…over 1,000 murders by gun violence since Sandy Hook Elementary School 33 days ago. In the time it took for those 1,000 adults and children to die the country has begun a process of solving some of the causes of the deaths. It will be a long process.
We have, as a country done two very predictable things. First we separated into political corners…many proponents of both sides of the very hard discussion intractable in their views, unable to move forward, toward common ground in order to prevent at least some of the deaths. But this seems different. The energy and anger are coming from the very large middle of this country, those neither pro-gun nor pro-regulation, having little or no opinion on the 2nd Amendment or gun control. This shift in public opinion is fueled by the anger that in the past year our restaurants, workplaces, malls, churches, theaters, and schools are not as safe as they were…as they can be.
Second to that, we have seen a media frenzy take over much of the flow of information on gun violence, gun control and the 2nd Amendment. The good of it is that we have at our fingertips hundreds if not thousands of facts to present our case…the bad is that the frenzy has contributed to the division that will impede success in slowing down deaths. Politicians have, for the most part had to stand up and defend their long-held position…many funded with tens of millions of dollars spent by the lobbyists at the NRA or Gun Owners of America.
And yesterday, the last day of sub-1,000 murders President Obama released the results of VP Biden’s month long research group to look at options. And so, we look to the next step – Presidential Executive Actions designed to spur research, to define privacy within the Affordable Care Act to allow mental health considerations to be shared with those who now approve purchases of guns for buyers at gun shops across America, to streamline and strengthen the on-line NICS system that verifies buyers, to provide a mechanism to pay for security in schools that request them, to refocus law enforcement to enforce the myriad of laws that are currently on the books.
And further, submitting proposals for legislation to Congress so that they may consider new laws for returning the Assault Weapons Ban, regulating weapon magazine capacity, and closing of loopholes in the current way firearms buying and selling is administered.
One month, 1,000 murders, a plan…the journey down the long road to finding and executing a successful set of solutions to the national problem of gun violence has begun. In the next year America will either reach out a hand to help save some of those who will die from gun violence or they will simply turn away because it is against their beliefs. The 12,000 who will die and 250,000 injured in this next year are watching.
Everyone is watching.
Follow more observations by McAllister on his blog Shoot from the Left Hip