I’ve got several items I want to blog about. I’ve started a couple times and stopped. . . The shootings are still on my mind.
Being Americans, we want to “do something” about problems. We want to fix things. It’s not easy for us to take the stoic, philosophical route, to say that the world has always been plagued by inexplicable evil and, as far as we can imagine, it always will be. Even if we consider ourselves religious and believe that there is an overarching purpose behind all the suffering, we’d still like to come up with some kind of program that would make such horrors impossible while we await eternal bliss.
It’s tempting to just dump it back on Washington and call for more gun control. Blame the usual suspects like the NRA. But, setting aside the question of whether there should be more gun control, it’s not worth getting excited over because it’s not politically possible. I was astonished when the Brady Bill and the assault-weapon ban passed, and I think that probably represents the outer limits of gun control in America.
I’ll be very surprised if any major piece of gun legislation comes to a vote as a result of this massacre, or the next massacre, which could be a copycat job in the next few weeks. Tell the truth, I’ll be surprised if any major gun control bill passes the Congress during my lifetime. With bloody rhetorical warfare and years of huffing and puffing, they might pass a bill regulating sales at flea markets and gun shows, and might add an assault weapon or two, but the political price would be enormous and I seriously doubt it will happen.
And it’s certainly not going to happen under this Congress. Here’s why:
They’d need every single Democrat and several Republicans to pass it over Bush’s inevitable veto. And on this inflammatory subject, I would be surprised if the Dems even wanted one of those symbolic, noble-cause votes on the subject.
Here’s what the Dems are thinking: Bush is destroying himself and his party with the war. The ‘Pubs will have to launch a major social-issues battle to avoid a wipeout in ’08. Why should we Dems hand the GOP a third “G” weapon so they can hit us with God, Guns and Gays in ’08? Let’s lie low on this issue. Then, if we roll up gigantic margins next time around, we’ll see about some of these hot-button issues. But not now.
By the way, I think even a hugely Democrat Congress in ’08, perhaps with a President Clinton and VP Obama, would not try a total ban on handguns. That’s not ever going to fly. Maybe the reforms I mentioned above–but probably not even that.
Besides, assume you banned all gun sales tomorrow, which I would not support. You’d still have millions of guns out there. And, gosh, if such a ban was ever passed, do you think anyone might smuggle in black-market guns? Not with our airtight borders. You just try crossing that border illegally and see what happens, amigo!