Virginia Tech was an eye-opener. And Aurora. But so too was Tuscon.
Unfortunately, as the mass shootings continued, with consequent surges on the public opinion dial, lawmakers and policy advocates responded only with politically necessary comments of concern. Always, after a week or two, policymakers regularly re-trenched into the regular camps. An ongoing détente between the all-powerful NRA and the usual-suspects gun control proponents would simply continue. Between the “now is not the time” hand-wringing and the simple-minded vote-counting of NRA-controlled legislatures, the debate quickly and reliably settled into the depressing equilibrium of our 2nd Amendment status quo. The gun control debate had become so moribund, so futile, so frustrating, that the main movement on guns was the fighting over increasingly silly gun rights battles in the states.
But Sandy Hook was different. Twenty little kids, apparently, is our societal limit to gun carnage.
So props to Gabrielle Giffords and husband Mark Kelly for the wisdom in forming the new Americans for Responsible Solutions. It’s the one thing that gives me hope about the potential for meaningful gun control. Maybe it started with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s free lancing in the last election cycle, but the electorate, at least, is ready to make changes. It isn’t easy — it takes leadership, organization, fundraising and political savvy. But it seems that Americans for Responsible Solutions is serious.
Bless the hearts of the folks at the Brady Campaign (the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence before that) who have been fighting the fight for a long long time, but sometimes a disruption is needed to boost a movement. The Giffords/Kelly effort could be a major disruption to the bloody status quo, and I wish them success.