James Brady, former press secretary to President Ronald Reagan died this past week. As many reflect on his life, one cannot forget the contribution Mr. Brady had on the gun control debate. After being shot in the head by President Reagan’s would-be assassin, Brady went on to be an advocate for stronger gun laws.
Brady would live the rest of his life in a wheelchair and have various health conditions throughout his life as a result of the injuries from that 1981 day. His family enjoyed more than 3 more decades with him before he died in what is being called a homicide, that was initiated by the bullet that hit him 33 years ago.
Brady’s death and the flashback to 1981 brings us to the issue we’ve been witnessing over the past 10-15 years, probably longer. Not only do we have large scale mass shootings on schools and college campuses, shopping malls, and movie theaters, but many of our young, youth of color are being murdered on the streets of their neighborhoods. In addition, we also saw the shooting of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and other people at that event.
This is a large complicated issue that can be alleviated by using a little bit of common sense. Common sense gun control is a necessity, but people such as those who sympathize with the National Rifle Association often prevent this country from making such laws and thus make this country less safe.
Now, the Real Talk…
As a family member of someone who was murdered by someone with a gun, I am extremely sensitive to this issue and am sickened that tragedies involving guns continue to happen when all it takes is some common sense. In 2012, I wrote to President Obama about the murder and what my family was going through. I urged him to take a stand and take action. One week later, 20 first graders were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary in December 2012.
I just new that if it wasn’t mass shootings on college campuses, high schools, movie theaters, and that the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford, surely it would have been the slaughter of 20 six-year old in a first grade class that would finally bring Congress to their senses. Some did, as we say at least an attempt at some sort of gun control from democratic senator, Joe Manchin and republican senator, Pat Toomey. Sadly, that bill was rejected by the Senate and and the House never considered it. Nothing has even been considered ever since.
Unfortunately, the gun lobby is a powerful and influential one. Organizations such as the National Rifle Association continue to support and fund the campaigns of Republicans who are essentially paid to be ardent supporters of the right to bear arms. The problem with this is, too many people have died senselessly to gun violence. Even if you go with the argument that many of those people who do the shootings have mental issues and thats what we need to turn our attention to, it still doesn’t negate the fact that we need to find ways to prevent those people from getting guns. We need stronger gun control measures to do this.
People represented by organizations such as the National Rifle Association always misinterpret the constitution when that cite the second amendment as having the right for anyone to bear arms. It irks me every time someone brings that up, because it is clear that some people either don’t, can’t, or refuse to read the constitution. The second amendment clearly states “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” It is clearly referring to the legality of a militia, not of individuals walking around randomly with weapons. Therefore, there should not be laws that make it easy for a common person to get a gun. At the very least make it a hard process so that less people will go through the trouble.
Ultimately, I’m not denying that other things needs to be addressed. For example, mental health is a huge part of this particular process and we need to put more attention towards this. The Affordable Care Act does that in many was, but more can be done. However, just because individual solutions such as background checks and waiting periods won’t solve the problem completely, that doesn’t mean you don’t do anything at all.
One of the NRA’s main arguments that the only way to neutralize a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. President Reagan and Mr. Brady were shot even with several “good” guys with guns protecting them. If the secret service couldn’t prevent four people from getting shot by a deranged man with a gun, then I think it’s safe to say that controlling who has access to a gun should have been settled 30+ years ago. Congress represents the people, and the majority of the people support at least some measure of gun control. Now is the time for common sense to kick in and protect the innocent people who become victims to gun violence.
Of course, I plan on addressing this issue in the future.