National Commentary

Gun Control Issues Seen in Shootings

President Barack Obama’s speech in Tuscon, after the Jan. 8 massacre leaving six dead and 13 wounded, has been widely heralded as brilliant and consoling for the country. However, something was missing. Where’s the beef? The prevalence of guns everywhere has put every American tragically in jeopardy. Doesn’t anyone care?

President Barack Obama’s speech in Tuscon, after the Jan. 8 massacre leaving six dead and 13 wounded, has been widely heralded as brilliant and consoling for the country. However, something was missing. Where’s the beef? The prevalence of guns everywhere has put every American tragically in jeopardy. Doesn’t anyone care?

It was easy for Obama to commiserate over the Tuscon massacre, but it would have taken courage to call it like it is. Courage he has rarely shown when the chips are down, and even more to expect when the 2012 elections loom, as he is seeking re-election. That is too much to ask even of a President who is so eloquent with words and reticent and self protective, when it comes to a political pitfall.

Presidential speeches may soothe the moment and comfort the bereaved, but they do not attempt to resolve the trend of mass shootings in our high schools, colleges and workplaces.

In his Jan. 12 address at the University of Arizona at Tuscon, Obama mourned for the fallen and named the wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Judge John Roll, 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, and others who were attending Giffords’ “Congress on Your Corner” rally.

The gun owners not only have the law and the Supreme Court on their side, the high court has ruled against state and local gun bans. The decision was a follow up to the courts’ 2008 ruling against the hand gun law in the District of Columbia.

In the aftermath, Obama has moved from that ruling. Obama, then a political candidate, said he always believed that “the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms, but I also identify with the need for crime-ravaged communities to save their children.” He added that any firearm regulation must protect the Second Amendment. Obama said he also believes the court’s opinion strengthens the protection of our bill of rights. I didn’t know that an individual could be called a “well-regulated militia,” but that is the way the Second Amendment is being interpreted.

Let’s think of the thousands who die each year from guns. My sister personally suffered the loss of two of her children, my beloved niece and nephew, in the prime of their lives, both murdered from gun shots. Let’s dwell on the assassinations in recent times of political leaders, with President John F. Kennedy, his brother, Bobby Kennedy, a candidate for the presidency in 1968, and the great civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

The attempt on President Ronald Reagan’s life in 1981 resonates in our history – as with other headliners who have taken a bullet. Where does it all end? Not with control, say gun lovers.

Former White House press secretary Jim Brady, who was shot in the head during the shooting rampage against Reagan outside the Washington Hilton Hotel, and his wife, Sarah, have been strong advocates of gun control – to no avail. I interviewed Reagan with the great Associated Press correspondent James Gerstenzang, while Reagan was still recovering from his bullet wound. While I was covering President-elect Reagan in New York City, John Lennon was shot to death Dec. 8, 1980. After this senseless, brutal murder, Reagan continued to maintain a strong stand against any gun control. Ironically, Reagan was still against gun control even after he himself was shot by John Hinckley.

It is interesting to learn of potential congressional moves to protect members of Congress and our judges who are vulnerable in a climate of hate and violence. Members of the Supreme Court are protected in their comings and goings by the FBI. They are entitled, but what about the protection of the average American and their families?

According to a poll by Rasmussen, only 29 percent of Americans believe that strong gun laws would prevent incidents like the Tucson shooting, and a new poll by John Zogby showed that only 35 percent of voters felt the shooting should lead to tougher gun laws.

So let’s face it: We can expect more national tragedies from guns in the hands of the deranged and haters. Despite NRA slogans claiming that guns do not kill, of course they do – in the hands of those determined to kill.

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