If ever there were an issue that both defines and energizes the political left versus right, gun control would have to be in the top three. As a result of the tragic shootings in Newtown, Conn., the Obama administration and state legislatures all over the country are crafting new legislation to at least make it look like something is being done about the use of guns in the commission of crimes.
I guess in a representative democracy like ours this is to be expected. This is a very human, albeit emotional reaction to a terrible event. In the midst of all of the Sturm und Drang I think it would be useful to keep a few things in mind.
A recent headline from "Gateway Pundit" pretty much speaks for itself: Honest Americans Bought Enough Guns in November and December to Outfit the Entire Chinese and Indian Armies.
You may like this or you may not. It doesn't change the facts.
Another sentence from the same article notes that in the four years since Barack Obama was first elected president in November 2008, an estimated 67 million firearms have been purchased in the United States. And these are just the legal gun purchases as documented by background checks.
If it is the goal of the Obama administration to keep guns out of the hands of anyone, then maybe they should take a hard look at their strategy. The U.S. population (both law-abiding and law-breaking) is far better armed in 2013 than it has ever been.
Of course, it is always easy to believe that politicians are stupid. The anecdotal evidence to support this is certainly voluminous. However, for all of their liberal beliefs and other failings, neither President Obama nor Gov. Martin O'Malley is dumb. They both know a ripe political issue when they see one, and I doubt either cares very much that he is spending a lot of time on passing legislation that will be ineffective. They both understand that the important thing here is that somebody do something, not that it works.
At the same time, you really have to question the strategy of the NRA. They deserve respect for advocating for the Second Amendment, but maybe they should realize that gun control legislation is about as effective as the War on Drugs. Maybe they could make their point, back off, and let this one slide. A high-profile fight will only serve to place the NRA in the position of being incorrectly characterized as not caring about the safety of children.
So, let's just pass this new batch of laws and be done with it. There are budget issues to deal with. Or maybe our elected officials would rather we not focus on that.
Gary Harkness, BaltimoreCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun