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Congress Has a Finger on the Trigger


Republicans are partially right on guns, and that’s what makes them so wrong:

Republicans and the right wing want everyone to believe that limiting guns is not the answer to gun violence, even when it’s mass murder with a military assault weapon. Trapped by the NRA, the GOP will point to terrorism from abroad or mental health issues, any thing and everything but the weapon itself. And all the while they will hide behind the 2nd Amendment by misinterpreting its actual meaning.

But what happened recently when the Senate Republicans voted down four different bills to change the law around the availability of guns — from terrorists to people with serious mental issues — show they are right; it’s not just the firearm that causes murder and mayhem. It’s policy.

Right now the right wing in this country with its influence on members of the House and Senate have made a commitment to the NRA that there will be no gun safety issues passed in either chamber, period.

The only way lawmakers can promulgate change in this country is by passing bills. In our history, bills that made significant change range from social security and Medicare to civil rights and more recently the Affordable Care Act.

Those bills were driven by policy, which is a course of action to fix and or eliminate a problem. Congress did that with social security and Medicare to help many seniors who did not have the wherewithal to meet their financial needs after they stopped working. Policy helped give equality to persons of color, in particular African Americans in the 1960s. And legislation provided many who could not afford health care receive insurance in 2010.

There is no mystery. Policy can and will save and protect lives. And when Republicans turn to their own self interest, resist policy change that is so vital to protect Americans, then the weapon or the shooter is not the prime mover for a mass killing. Rather it is those who choose to reject policy that can and would make a difference.

So on June 12, 2016, just as so many other days and nights when other mass shootings have occurred, it was not just the shooter who had his finger on the trigger. It was every member of Congress last Monday and in the past who rejected good policy, policy that would better the lives of the many and not just the special-interest few. They had their finger on the trigger as well.

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