Friday, May 07, 2010

The gun lobby's long shadow

This sounds kind of familiar:
While the rest of the nation comes to grips with fresh concerns about terrorism, domestic and foreign, Congress is wrapped up in the peculiar obsessions of the gun lobby — most of which are certain to make Americans less safe in their homes and on the streets.

Congress, for example, is cowering before the gun lobby insistence that even terrorist suspects who are placed on the “no-fly list” must not be denied the right to buy and bear arms. Suspects on that list purchased more than 1,100 weapons in the last six years, but Congress has never summoned the gumption to stop this trade in the name of public safety and political sanity.

Legislation to close this glaring threat continues to languish with little promise of enactment because a bipartisan mass of lawmakers fear retribution by the gun lobby’s campaign machine. Firsthand pleas this week from New York City’s mayor and police commissioner — testifying after the attempted Times Square bombing attributed to a suspect who was also carrying a legally obtained gun — showed no sign of budging a timorous Congress.

It is a sign of the gun lobby’s growing confidence that if feels free to keep up the pressure, public and private, after the near-disaster in New York. Normally, the lobby goes quiet for a decent interval after a particularly heinous crime occurs.

To the contrary, Senator John McCain and other members of the gun lobby’s cohort are pressing for legislation to strip local taxpayers in Washington of such basic gun controls as owner registration and a ban on semiautomatic battlefield rifles — laws already upheld by the courts. The gun lobby cued Congress to take another run at scuttling the city’s gun controls after previously using the issue to stymie the district’s hopes to at last have a full-fledged voting representative in the House. (emphasis added)
We have a chance to say no, while we have a minority government, to push back against gun lobby pressure that the Harper Conservatives are enabling. I hope that is what happens to the very concerted, well-financed and government sponsored effort going on in Canada to strike down the gun registry. Over to you, Jack.