There was this rush of rhetoric from the right, in the shadow of what happened in Las Vegas Sunday night, about how anybody once again calling for gun sanity in this country not only had politicized the slaughter of a one-man army named Stephen Paddock, but also had disrespected the dead and the wounded.
It was as big a lie as the one about how the laws we have on the books in shooting-gallery America are somehow working.
But the ones who actually have politicized Las Vegas are the gun hustlers from the National Rifle Association, and so many of the tame congressmen who allow themselves to be ordered around by the NRA as if they are valets.
These are all the people who now act as if they would support a ban on the kind of bump stock Paddock used to essentially transform himself from a semi-automatic mass murderer into a fully automatic one, and expect suckers to believe this makes them noble.
They are not being noble.
This is an elaborate and cynical head fake, for you and me and everyone, as they attempt to kick this issue back to the Bureau of Alcohol Firearms Tobacco and Explosives.
They are providing cover for all the politicians scared silly of actually going on the record and having to vote on laws that might actually create a country where we don’t average a mass shooting a day. These people don’t want new laws. They want new “regulations” about a novelty item like a bump stock.
Anybody who believes that a ban on bump stocks, for all the happy hoo-haw we’re hearing about the NRA and about bipartisan support for this kind of ban, will provide meaningful change is being played here, and in broad daylight.
This isn’t about responsible gun owners, and has never been about responsible gun owners.
This is all about covering for these phonies, behind the bigger cover of the Second Amendment, which has been prostituted in modern world more than any other part of our Constitution. This is about enough slow thinkers in this country believing that if we ever do set about changing gun laws in a responsible way, by next Thursday the government will be coming for your guns with tanks.
Mass shooting at Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas
The NRA isn’t looking for change. It’s looking to act noble by throwing crumbs at the rest of us. Or maybe paper towels.
Listen to what Chuck Grassley, the Senate Judiciary chairman, told Politico.com the other day:
“If you get a gun bill on the floor, you’re going to have all the amendments on the left and all the amendments on the right.” In that moment, Grassley makes all of that sound somehow more dangerous than another gun, or arsenal of guns, with or without bump stocks, in the wrong hands.
Once John Feinblatt was one of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s top lieutenants in this city. Now he is the president of Everytown for Gun Safety, a splendid nonprofit organization that essentially came into existence in the shadow of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, another gun tragedy in this country after which Congress did nothing. It did nothing after 20 elementary school children were murdered in cold blood. It did nothing when the active shooter was shooting at congressmen on a baseball field and nearly killing Rep. Steve Scalise, the House majority whip. But now we’re expected to believe Las Vegas will be some kind of call to action.
“Anybody who thinks the NRA is giving an inch is being fooled,” John Feinblatt said on Saturday. “Rather than joining a bipartisan push to prohibit bump stocks, they are kicking the issue back to the very Agency (ATF) that declared them legal in the first place. And what’s more chilling is that in the same breath, they are telling the American public that the real answer to the largest mass shooting in American history is to weaken the nation’s gun laws by deregulating silencers and enacting concealed carry reciprocity. America has a gun problem. And the NRA’s dangerous agenda is fueling it.”
But the NRA now attempts to sell the lofty notion that it, too, wants to take action in the aftermath of 58 people being murdered and more than 500 being wounded, some of them critically, for the crime of being another soft target in America, at an outdoor concert in Vegas.
Only it doesn’t want to take action, and doesn’t want new laws.
This is an organization that constantly tells us that only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun. If that’s true, and with statistics telling us there are over 300 million guns in this country, how come we lead the world in gun deaths?
Now we are supposed to buy into a lousy con, buy in with both hands, that if we somehow unite against a gadget that is able to replicate a fully automatic trigger that we will have set about saving American lives.
Sure, we will.
Like Band-Aids would have saved the victims of gunshot wounds in Vegas Sunday night.