Friday, March 16, 2018

639 ways America has failed its children - again

Yesterday the Associated Press reported on their survey of state legislatures with respect to gun-related activity. What the AP found was depressing although not surprising given America’s preference for unlimited access to firearms over the lives of American children. Widespread action on gun control in the states unlikely (reprinted in the Daily Star, Mar. 16).

The campaign for tighter gun laws that inspired unprecedented student walkouts across the country faces an uphill climb in a majority of states, an Associated Press review of gun legislation found.

The AP survey of bill activity in state legislatures before and after the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, provides a reality check on the ambitions of the “Enough is Enough” movement. It suggests votes like the one in Florida, where Republican lawmakers defied the National Rifle Association to pass new gun regulations, are unlikely to be repeated in many other states, at least not this year.

The student-led activism might yet lead to reforms in the future. But for now, the gun debate among most lawmakers still falls along predictable and largely partisan lines, with few exceptions, according to the analysis.

Because Congress shows no sign of acting, state legislatures dominate the national debate over guns. And major changes won’t be easy to achieve in statehouses that are mostly controlled by the gun-friendly GOP.

Republicans have sponsored more than 80 percent of bills that would expand gun rights, while Democrats have introduced more than 90 percent of bills to limit them. The total number of gun-rights and gun-control bills identified by AP statehouse reporters is roughly equal — about 300 in each category.

Many of the Democratic gun-control bills have been introduced in legislatures dominated by Republicans, meaning they have little or no chance of passing.

Republicans have sponsored more than 80 percent of bills that would expand gun rights, while Democrats have introduced more than 90 percent of bills to limit them. The total number of gun-rights and gun-control bills identified by AP statehouse reporters is roughly equal — about 300 in each category.

Take Iowa for example.

Iowa’s GOP-controlled Legislature, which last year approved a historic expansion of gun rights, has not held hearings on Democratic proposals to ban assault-style weapons, prohibit high-capacity magazines or expand background checks. Instead, lawmakers have considered more pro-gun initiatives, including a bill to allow residents to carry handguns without obtaining permits and a resolution to enshrine the right to bear arms in the Iowa Constitution.

Iowa Gun Owners, a “no-compromise gun lobby,” has mobilized its members to pressure Republican lawmakers to hold firm.

“We’re not going to back off any advocacy of expanding gun rights,” Executive Director Aaron Dorr said.

Scriber’s usually unreliable sources say that the Iowa legislature is considering a bill that would provide a handgun to every student in every school. (END SATIRE) But I do wonder if Iowa would favor such a draconian “solution” to mass shootings..

Suppose that, back in the early 1900s, the American Automobile Association (AAA) took a political bounce similar to what the National Rifle Association (NRA) did. Suppose that the AAA vehemently opposed any attempts to regulate, register, and license automobiles and their drivers. What would America look like? The following letter to the editor was published in the _Daily Star_: If the NRA was about cars instead of guns…. I’ve edited it to conform to my AAA scenario.

If the AAA dealt with cars just as the NRA deals with firearms …

… there would be no requirement to have a driver’s license to operate a car; no requirement for cars to be registered; no requirement to have (or use) seat belts or car seats for children; no requirement for brake lights; there would be no speed limits; no laws about drinking and driving. Automobile deaths have been reduced by over 80 percent since the 1960, while homicides have increase by 10 percent since 1960. As a nation we are deluding ourselves if we think we are “civilized.” When it comes to guns, we are in the dark ages.

Dennis Widman (LTE Daily Star, March 14th, 2018)

639
Oh, yes. What’s with that 639? That would be 538 members of Congress, 50 state legislatures, 50 governors, and one president.

Certainly in Iowa, but in the United States generally, the de facto firearms policy is that children shot in schools is an acceptable cost of unlimited access to assault weapons.

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