Column - The Perrennial Futile Debate continues, againOnce again, the nation is embarked upon what I call the “Perennial Futile Debate” — the issue of gun control.
By: Dennis Dalman, Alexandria Echo Press
Once again, the nation is embarked upon what I call the “Perennial Futile Debate” — the issue of gun control.
After the rampage in that Colorado movie theater, talking heads on TV are popping up like cave mushrooms to debate gun control. All this “sound and fury, signifying nothing” will end in about a week or two, then it will quickly fade to nothing. And the subject won’t rear its head again until right after the next horrific killing spree.
The last time gun control became the national topic of the day was right after that viciously insane gunman killed and wounded people at a rally in Phoenix for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
It took so many years for gun control to make any headway at all in this nation. Finally, in 1993, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act.
The Brady Act requires federal background checks on firearms purchasers. It took years of struggle to get that bill passed, mainly because of relentless pressure against it by the National Rifle Association.
Just the other day, a friend, Clara Moyle of Eagle Bend, visited me to show me her new springer spaniel pups. As we sat on the lawn, observing the wondrous pups, the conversation somehow meandered into the subject of gun control.
“My husband always used to say it’s not guns that kill people,” Clara said. “People do. They should enforce the laws already on the books. That would help. The trouble is, if crazy people want guns, they find illegal ways to get their hands on them.”
I mostly agreed and partly disagreed.
“But you must admit, Clara, this country is gun-crazy,” I said. “Too many guns everywhere. Just think of the movies — guns, guns, guns, shoot ‘em-ups in movies and on TV. And people — especially demented idiots — get the idea that guns and other forms of violence can solve their problems.”
We more or less agreed. The next day, to my horror, the movie-theater rampage happened.
The right to bear arms is, of course, protected by the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment. But I can’t help wondering if the Founding Fathers could have known how gun-obsessed American culture would become, they might have had second thoughts about the Second Amendment. Back then, 225 years ago, “arms” meant rather primitive one-shot flintlocks — a far cry from the grim proliferating variety of today’s arms.
In the past 30 years, there have been a few advances — but too many setbacks — in the cause of gun control. The subject is political poison that can make instant cowards out of most politicians, especially Democrats. The NRA donates the lion’s share of its money to Republicans because the NRA well knows that a prime rallying cry for most Republicans is “No more gun control!” It helps them win elections. Well-meaning people will often spout that nonsensical warning: “Don’t vote for him! He’ll take our huntin’ guns away.”
I agree people have the right to own firearms. Some enjoy collecting guns, a perfectly respectable hobby. Then again, others “stockpile” guns the way misers hoard gold, thinking the guns will save them from Evil Big Government.
I’m in favor of firearms, within reasonable limits, but I firmly believe something has to be done about this gun-crazy culture, and if that means banning more of these automatic assault weapons and further strengthening current gun laws, you’ve got my vote. However, I’m not holding my breath because I know the Perennial Futile Debate will continue, and it will lead to nothing, once again.