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A Year After Newtown, No New Federal Laws Despite Public Health Crisis

A Year After Newtown, No New Federal Laws Despite Public Health Crisis

Picture of Martha Rosenberg

The gun lobby loves the short memory of the American public and the news media.

Who remembers that Aaron Alexis killed 12 at Washington's Navy Yard just three months ago, legally buying a shotgun two days before the rampage? Who remembers that Paul Ciancia allegedly killed a TSA agent at the Los Angeles airport last month with a .223-caliber assault rifle police say was legally obtained? (Let's "enforce existing laws" as the NRA says!) Who remembers that a year earlier another TSA agent was killed at the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport? Murdered by an enraged husband whose "rights" to keep arms while an under order of protection the NRA protects?

No, time flies when there are sick and preventable shootings every day. And that's just fine with the NRA's toady politicians who enacted no legislation after 20 first-graders and six adults perished in Newtown, CT and one of their own, Rep. Gabby Giffords (R-AZ), was shot by a legal gun owner and concealed carrier. Hey, these things happen.

Historically, shocking massacres have almost never dislodged lawmakers from their eerie and lethal fealty to the gun lobby--and sometimes they have actually led to loosened laws! Weeks after Jeffrey Weise killed 11 on the Red Lake reservation and Terry Michael Ratzmann killed nine at a Wisconsin church service, Congress passed the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act granting immunity to gun manufacturers from all lawsuits. Thanks, Congress!

After the murders of two Oakland and three Pittsburgh police officers within two weeks of each other in 2009 (the latter by a legal gun owner) and several Miami police officers, the NRA maintained its opposition to laws banning armor-piercing "cop killer" bullets. They are a "sneaky" way to outlaw other weapons, said the lobby which is pledged to increase gun manufacturers' sales. In fact, in its acceptance of police murders and its hatred of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and federal “jack-booted thugs,” it’s hard to tell the NRA from the bad guy-criminals it hates.

During the spring of 2009 when gun rampages killed 13 in Binghamton, NY, 10 in Alabama (by a gun "collector"), 8 at a Carthage, NC nursing home, 6 in Santa Clara, 5 in Miami in addition to the 5 Oakland and Pittsburgh police officers, the NRA told lawmakers they shouldn't legislate “on the fresh graves of tragedy”--and they didn't! Lawmakers pretended the 47 people had died from ice storms or other unpreventable events.

The NRA's lackey politicians are glad the public's forgotten about the church, mall, school, airport, traffic and domestic violence shootings this year and last. That means they don't have to enact laws protecting public safety like they have with second-hand smoke, drunk driving, helmets, seat belts and even contaminated food. They can quietly continue to serve their real constituency--the gun manufacturers and the hired guns lobbying for them.

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