|How long will we as a nation tolerate the NRAs defense of the status quo?
The heinous murders in Orlando have thrown a pall of gloom over the nation as we struggle with our feelings of helplessness in the face of more gun violence. Despite dozens of legislative proposals to deal with gun violence, mental health, homophobia and racism we feel stymied as various interest groups, especially the NRA and the gun industry, do all they can to maintain the status quo in Congress and in state legislatures.
It’s hard to imagine that this log jam will soon give way. It has taken decades for the gun lobby to achieve their almost total dominance in our legislatures. They reached their highest goal in 2005 with the passage of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act signed into law by President George W Bush. It holds the entire gun industry harmless from any claims, except manufacturing defects, arising from the use of fire arms. This is something even the drug industry has never been able to achieve.
Our nation is bitterly divided by history, ideology, economics and race. The current wave of gun mass murders only highlights the absurd weakness of our gun laws, the helplessness of local police and FBI and the many fissures in our society. The NRA and its allies play upon these divisions in order to further their agenda, which is to vehemently oppose any legislation which might restrict the availability of fire arms.
My hope once was that the nation may be nearing a tipping point. Many thought this tipping point would have been The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children aged between 6 and 7 years old, as well as six adult staff members. Now with 49 dead in Orlando the questions about our priorities as a society are again on people’s minds.
I honestly do not expect any major breakthroughs, though several new gun control laws are being moved through the legislature in Sacramento.
My only question now is what obscene, pointless and revolting mass murder outrage will be next? And how long will we as a nation remain complacent with the NRAs defense of the status quo?
Steven L Silver, Rabbi Temple Menorah