December 19, 2012 at 3:42 pm EDT | by Peter Rosenstein
Tears of mourning are not enough

Mr. President, we join you in mourning the children and teachers who lost their lives in the senseless shooting in Connecticut. We joined you in mourning after Denver and after Tucson as well. But now you must do more than mourn and shed a tear, you must act.

The time is now to begin the process of getting guns off our streets and it should start with reinstating the Brady Bill and banning assault weapons. One such weapon is the Bushmaster 223, which was used in mowing down the teachers and those 6- and 7-year-old children at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It is unconscionable that the gunman’s mother legally had this weapon in her home along with other semi-automatic and automatic weapons. There is absolutely no reason for any private citizen to have such firearms. Whether it is the mall shooting in Washington State, or the other senseless acts of gun violence we see every day, it is clear the time for action is long overdue.

As president you must do more than say you are calling for action, you must act. You must tell the Congress exactly what you want them to do. You can order government agencies to enforce existing laws more aggressively and prosecute people who lie on gun applications. You can insist that the database that is used for background checks is kept up to date. You can ask for legislation to close the gun show loophole on background checks.

Even if you don’t get all the legislation you want, you must remind the American people that your requests are not disrespectful of the Second Amendment to the Constitution but that Congress can act legally to start keeping certain weapons out of the public’s hands. The Supreme Court has said there are reasonable restrictions allowed under the Second Amendment and it is time for those reasonable restrictions to become law. It is past time to stand up to the National Rifle Association. They had as their goal in the last election to defeat you. They lost and thankfully you won, it is now time to see that they lose again if they oppose these reasonable actions.

Calling for this legislation and taking executive action are only the first steps. Congress can craft other legislation to get guns off our streets and out of our homes. The majority of Americans appear to be ready to join with you and say ENOUGH of this senseless killing. As we continue to shed tears over the loss of these precious children and their teachers our monument to them must be action to get these guns off our streets.

We must also look at dealing with mental illness and helping families with members who are ill. We need to make these services more readily available in schools and communities and take the stigma of using them away.

We all recognize that no legislation will stop every tragedy from happening. People who oppose gun control bring up the horrific case in Norway where 77 people were killed in a country with strict gun control. But that is no reason to not have reasonable gun control here. The number of killings in the United States from accidents when a gun is in the home and the easy access for mentally ill people like the Connecticut shooter are more than enough reasons to act.

We are a generous and caring nation and “One nation under God.” But there is a certain obscenity when someone like former Gov. Mike Huckabee speaks out after this latest incident and says it is caused by us taking God out of our schools. What I think of that comment is not printable here. My God is everywhere and it isn’t his job to stop that young man from taking his mother’s gun and mowing down 26 people — it is ours. Mike Huckabee and those with sentiments like his will share responsibility for future deaths if they prevent legislative action now.

Mr. President, we can do this now if you lead the fight. We will join you in pressuring Congress to act. We can each make a difference if we truly believe that at least weapons of war must be immediately taken off our streets and then move to take other weapons off the streets. The passage of the assault weapons ban is only a start but it will make clear to the NRA that they will not control this debate, we the people will.

  • Skeeter Sanders

    The right to bear arms is guaranteed by the Second Amendment, but — contrary to the assertions of the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights advocates — it is NOT absolute.

    Indeed, the gun-rights lobby has chosen to ignore history — specifically, the passage by Congress in 1934 of the National Firearms Act, which banned the sale of fully automatic machine guns to the general public.

    That law — passed in response to mounting public outrage over the infamous “St. Valentines Day Massacre” of 1929 in Chicago, in which members of “Bugs” Moran’s North Side Gang were lined up against the wall of a warehouse and machine-gunned to death by members of the Al Capone mob disguised as police officers — was challenged and upheld in a unanimous 1939 Supreme Court decision.

    In its ruling, the justices agreed with Congress in declaring that fully automatic machine guns — known as “tommy guns,” the weapons of choice of Prohibition-era gangsters — posed a clear and present danger to public safety that outweighed the Second Amendment right of Americans to own them.

    The Newtown Massacre — which in my opinion is far worse than the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in that its victims were predominantly little kindergarten-age children — should prompt Congress to once and for all ban semi-automatic “assault” weapons, such as the AR-15 rifle used by the gunman, Adam Lanza.

    The semi-automatic AR-15 is the civilian version of the military’s fully automatic M-16 rifle. And why in God’s name do we need to have AK-47s? The Kalashnikovs were created for use by the Soviet Army during World War II!

    These military-grade weapons were designed specifically for use as weapons of war — and that in the wrong hands pose as clear a threat to public safety as the “tommy guns” of the Prohibition era. In fact, they pose a far greater threat, for today’s semi-automatics are much more powerful and deadlier than anything Al Capone could have imagined.

    You can’t eat meat from deer that’s been poisoned by dozens, if not hundreds, of bullets fired from an AR-15 or AK-47. No hunter in his or her right mind is going to pump that much lead into the animal.

    I categorically reject the NRA’s absolutist position that the Second Amendment right to bear arms includes the right to possess weapons of war designed to inflict maximum death and destruction. It’s time to include these weapons in the 1934 National Firearms Act.

  • True Live

    It becomes a sick and idiotic issue for the President to have the job and pressure of attacking gun mandates controlled by the NRA and other supporting enities.The people don’t pressure the NRA and other gun lobbist as they have pressured and sued the tobacco companies. The president didn’t ask you to buy or stockpile weapons to kill innocent people, …that choice was yours alone. Its the mindset of the individuals who possess these instruments of death whether sane or insane and use them to fulfill their thirst to feel powerful, feel in total controll. Local and state governments also have a vested interest in making changes to protect all humans of those territories. Lets not put the monkey squarely on the Presidents shoulders. Get the message out to the mayors and governors and other state elected official to stop brickering and do what the people require them to do for the safety of everyone. I see the topic of your rights to bare arms esculating out of control that serves no real purpose,…but more deaths.

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