[Vision2020] A turning point in the campaign against gun violence?

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Thu Mar 1 04:20:28 PST 2018

Courtesy of today’s (March 1, 2018) Moscow-Pullman Daily News with thanks to Nick Gier.


His View: A turning point in the campaign against gun violence?

By Nick Gier

The combined voices of students, teachers, businesses and legislators may represent a turning point in the battle against gun violence.

Student organizers for "The March for Our Lives" on March 24 in Washington, D.C., have filed a permit for 500,000 people. There are plans for city marches all over the country.

Laura Ingram of Fox News has told the students to "shut up," and an editorial in conservative National Review contends that young people should not be policy makers.

What these condescending comments overlook is that students have a right to express their opinions, which, by and large, are as well argued as those of any adult in the debate. The students are certainly more mature than our own Idaho state Sen. Dan Foreman, who yelled at University of Idaho students visiting Boise to express concerns about restrictions on contraception.

Melania Trump praised the students: "I have been heartened to see children across this country using their voices to speak out and try to create change."

Parkland student Lauren Hogg urged Melania Trump to talk to her stepson, Donald Jr., who "liked a post about a false conspiracy theory which in turn put a target on my back."

In response to the Florida shooting, more than a dozen businesses have eliminated discounts for National Rifle Association members. The First National Bank of Omaha, the largest privately-owned credit card company in the country, and hedge fund Blackrock will no longer offer NRA credit cards.

But none of these actions will bear fruit unless there is serious gun control legislation. After the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre - except for the passage of universal background checks in eight states - many states passed pro-gun measures instead.

That has changed. Florida Gov. Rick Scott is calling for raising the age for buying rifles from 18 to 21, the minimum age for handgun sales in his state. Scott also favors legislation restricting those with mental health problems and those convicted of domestic violence and stalking from buying weapons.

In addition to universal background checks, Washington state just passed a bill outlawing bump stocks, which allowed the Las Vegas shooter to fire his AR-15 automatically. Just last week, Oregon passed a law that prohibits a person convicted of stalking and domestic violence, or under a restraining order, from purchasing a gun.

At the recent governor's conference, both Democratic and Republican chief executives spoke in favor of the measures mentioned above. Significantly, GOP Gov. John Kasich of Ohio has removed Second Amendment language from his website and in its place there is a call for a "common sense" approach to gun violence. He is also considering a ban on the sale of assault rifles such as the AR-15.

GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell has announced that he favors adding money for school safety, but Trump's proposed budget cuts $425 million for that purpose. Trump said that the Florida shooting wasn't "a guns situation (but) a mental health problem." His budget, however, calls for a $400 million reduction for mental health services.

Many legislators and police officers have joined teachers and parents in rejecting Trump's call for arming teachers. Randy Weingarten, my union's president, says: "No amount of training can prepare an armed teacher to go up against an AR-15."

With a standard 30-round magazine, the AR-15 fires bullets at a much higher velocity (three times faster) and causes much more damage than does the typical handgun that a security guard or teacher would carry.

I urge you to join this national campaign and contact your legislators about common sense gun control. Try to attend the "March For Our Lives" at 1 p.m. March 24, starting at Friendship Square in downtown Moscow and ending with a rally in East City Park.


Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares" (the most fun you can have with your pants on)
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho
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