A new Rasmussen Reports survey released Monday found that less than half of American adults (41%) “think stricter gun control laws will do the most to reduce the number of mass murders like the one in Florida.”
At the same time, 40 percent “still think more action to treat mental health issues will make the biggest difference, while 13% think limits on violent movies and video games will do the most to reduce shootings,” Rasmussen said.
Last week’s tragedy at a high school in Parkland, Florida in which 17 students and staff died, allegedly at the hands of a 19-year-old who had reportedly been reported to the FBI but “fell through the cracks.”
And now, the National Rifle Association — and in a broader sense, all gun owners and Second Amendment activists — are being blamed for the attack, reportedly to the point of using violence on the organization’s members.
On Saturday, Seattle P-I.com columnist Joel Connelly wrote about the tragedy and about gun control legislation in Washington State that failed to meet a deadline last Wednesday, so it has died in committee. That column mentioned 8th Congressional District candidate Dino Rossi, who was supported by the NRA in his 2010 challenge to anti-gun U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat.
At a “town hall” meeting held in North Bend, a growing community 30 miles east of Seattle, three state lawmakers were asked about gun control. At least two members of the audience were audibly in favor of gun bans.
Connelly alluded to wealthy Seattle anti-gunner Nick Hanauer, backer of two Evergreen State gun control initiatives over the past four years, as a “prominent firearms safety advocate.” Hanauer is a gun control activist with deep pockets. But “firearm safety” is a camouflage term, same as “gun reform” or “gun responsibility,” that substitutes for “gun control” and even “gun prohibition” in news columns.
“The gun lobby,” Connelly wrote, “is not resting on its laurels, using reaction to the Parkland massacre to call for contributions.”
He singled out nationally known Second Amendment advocate Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, for alerting members and supporters of an effort by the gun control lobby to raise its own funds from the tragedy.
Connelly pointed to language in Gottlieb’s alert: “The Gun Grabbers are using the horrific shooting tragedy at the high school in Florida to push their prohibition agenda. Today alone they have raised over $2 million to attack your Second Amendment rights.”
While it is not clear where Gottlieb got the figure, proof of his allegation was found in a weekend email blast from Hanauer’s Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility in which the group stated, “Barack Obama is completely correct: In the wake of yet another mass shooting in yet another school, it’s on each and every one of us to channel our outrage into action.
“So before we go on,” the message continued, “here’s the easiest way to do so: Click here to donate $5 or more now – every contribution matters – to help the Alliance stand up to the gun lobby and advocate for legislation that could prevent massacres like the one that just happened in Florida from ever taking place.”
Perhaps nobody in the gun control effort thought Gottlieb or some other gun rights advocate was not going to react.
It is becoming increasingly evident that the accused shooter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School had serious problems. Hindsight says he should not have had a firearm, but does that mean that the tens of millions of law-abiding citizens who own firearms should be penalized? As a popular social media meme observes, “Do you punish drunk drivers by taking cars away from people who drive sober?” There are between 85 and 100 million gun owners in America, depending upon various estimates. They haven’t hurt anybody.
By some estimates, there may be as many as 12 million semi-auto modern sporting rifles in private hands. One woman at the North Bend meeting wanted them all banned (confiscated?). A man there suggested after the meeting broke up that nobody should have guns. Both seemed oblivious to provisions in the state and federal constitutions that protect the fundamental individual right to keep and bear arms.
If there is to be a solution to tragedies such as happened last week in Florida, it’s not going to come from just one side of the political spectrum. There are all manner of gun control laws already in place, including background checks and gun-free school zones, and clearly none of them prevented the Florida attack. Meanwhile, anti-gunners should explain how one more law will make a difference.