Tag Archives: gun lobby

‘Representative democracy,’ yes?

When the founders created this great nation, they established a “representative democracy” in which those we elect to public office are charged with representing the majority view of those who send them to office.

Why, then, does the Texas Legislature — to cite just one example — continue to resist the will of the people who appear to support increasing the minimum age for those wishing to purchase firearms?

That’s what is going on here, according to a new poll published by the University of Texas.

The Texas Tribune reports: Released Wednesday, the survey from the University of Texas at Austin found 76% of voters support “raising the legal age to purchase any firearm from 18 years of age to 21 years of age.” Twenty percent of voters oppose the idea. Republicans back the proposal 64% to 31%.

Poll finds Texans support raising age to buy guns from 18 to 21 | The Texas Tribune

What is just as staggering as the overall support for such a measure is the significant majority of Texans who call themselves Republicans who also support increasing the minimum age.

Indeed, the GOP that controls the Legislature along with every single statewide office in Texas ought to listen to the will of the people for whom they work instead of the gun lobby that keeps funneling money to their campaigns.

I am not suggesting that increasing the age limit is the end-all to the spate of gun violence that plagues our society. It merely adds one more reasonable requirement for those wishing to purchase a firearm. While we’re at it, why not also include universal background checks to ensure that the gun purchaser isn’t a threat to those around him.

I doubt seriously the nation’s founders would approve of the way this political climate has shaken out 200-plus years after they created this representative democracy.


Monument to mass shooting victims? Yes!

Joe Moody has an idea that he hopes his fellow Texas legislators will move into final passage and ultimately into law.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear likely that the El Paso Democrat’s idea will see a fruitful end. He wants the state to erect a monument to all the victims of mass shootings in Texas. He wants the monument to be erected on the Capitol grounds to remind visitors — and legislators — of the crisis we are enduring with the spate of gun violence that continues to plague our society.

According to KERA-TV: “There are too many victims now, and there’s bound to be more in the future,” Moody said. “I remember when I was younger, and Columbine happened. It was unthinkable at the time. But in the years since, mass shootings have become almost commonplace.”

Moody’s community has felt the pain of mass shootings. He also served on a three-member legislative committee that examined the recent Uvalde massacre at Robb Elementary School.

As KERA reported: The text of the resolution lists mass shootings in Texas that date back to 1966, when a lone gunman killed 15 people from the clock tower at the University of Texas at Austin. The text continues by mentioning the 19 children and two teachers killed at Robb Elementary School in May 2022 and the back-to-back shootings in 2019. In early August of that year a gunman killed 23 people at an El Paso Walmart, and another shooter killed seven in late August in the Midland-Odessa area.

Texas Democrat urges Legislature to approve a monument honoring victims of mass shootings (ketr.org)

I fear the bill won’t go anywhere in a Legislature dominated by Republicans, who themselves are dominated by those who are reluctant to enact any meaningful anti-gun violence legislation. Yes, I refer to the gun lobby.

If only we could remove the stubborn resistance to significant gun reforms from the minds of our state legislators.


Will this tragedy move Congress?

The question is being asked all across the country: Will the Michigan State University slaughter of three students and the wounding of five others produce meaningful legislation that will curb gun violence?

I believe I have the answer.

It is no. It won’t. Too many members of Congress are too beholden to the gun lobby to enact any sort of semi-aggressive legislation that would stem the epidemic of gun violence.

The latest shooting in East Lansing, Mich., is the 67th such “mass shooting” in 2023. Yes. That is correct. The number of shootings so far have outstripped the number of days in the year.

This latest goon was a 43-year-old moron with no apparent ties to the school. All of the victims were — and are — students. One individual, a young female, happened to live through her second mass shooting in a decade. She was one of the children who survived the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn. Think about that for a moment, about any individual who can live to talk about two such national tragedies, having seen them both up close.

Congress is too full of political cowards for the body to enact legislation that could keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have any access to such weaponry.

Shameful … simply shameful.


Stop the demagoguery on guns!

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I am on the verge of pulling my hair out!

The hysteria mounted by those who oppose legislative solutions to the national gun violence epidemic is driving me to the edge of insanity.

The gun lobby keeps yammering about how those of us who want to make it even more difficult for nut jobs to obtain firearms are actually intent on “taking guns away from law-abiding citizens.”

I can think of fewer contemporary discussion topics that are farther from the truth than that one. I know what the Second Amendment says about the right to “keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” I also know that it would be political folly for any reasonable politician to suggest that the amendment be stricken from the U.S. Constitution.

To say, though, that our intent is to disarm Americans is flat out wrong. It is frightening. It also is dangerous.

The danger comes in the form of those who believe such bullsh** and who react by storming government buildings, fully armed, threatening to do bodily harm to elected officials who are trying their level best to make us safer from the nut jobs among us.

We have witnessed such incidents in Oregon, Michigan, Texas (where my family and I live) and throughout the nation. The gun lobby has latched onto people’s fears and is exploiting it to the maximum degree. The whole lot of them are being led by the immediate past POTUS who foments the nonsense by declaring that “Democrats want to destroy the Second Amendment.”

I will not tolerate such utter trash. I remain committed to the notion that there remains a sensible legislative answer to the gun violence plague that retains the integrity of the Second Amendment. Anyone who suggests it’s all an effort to “disarm law-abiding citizens” is flat-out crazy.

What? Lt. Gov. Patrick and NRA locked in a feud?

Hell must have frozen over during the night. Or … the sun rose in the west. Or …  something else totally out of the ordinary occurred.

I see that Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and the National Rifle Association are supposedly feuding because Patrick has planted himself in favor of background checks on firearms transactions conducted between strangers.

That isn’t exactly a revolutionary notion. However, it marks at least a slight crack in the Texas Republican Party’s snuggly relationship with the NRA.

The nation’s premier gun owner lobby calls Lt. Gov. Patrick’s idea a “political gambit.” It says he seeks to “resurrect the same broken” policies pushed by the Obama administration.

The Texas Tribune reports: “In Texas, person-to-person sales of firearms do not require background checks, but after two mass shootings in Texas in less than a month — in El Paso and Midland-Odessa — the lieutenant governor has openly supported closing the supposed loophole. President Donald Trump also has endorsed the idea.” 

I need someone to explain to me why this is a bad idea. It isn’t, as far as I am concerned. It’s a small step. However, it might help prevent some idiot/moron/madman in the future from delivering the kind of misery that the two shooters delivered in El Paso and the Permian Basin. Not to mention what has happened over many decades in countless other communities across this nation.

Will the lieutenant governor stand firm? Will he be able to persuade Gov. Greg Abbott to join him in his feud? Or how about the GOP-controlled Texas Legislature, which sadly contains too many pro-NRA fanatics who are digging in against any measures to toughen gun purchases in the state?

Hold your ground, Lt. Gov. Patrick.

‘Godless … hearts’ are a part of the gun violence ‘problem’

It didn’t take long for Texas state Rep. Matt Schaefer to weigh in on what he said should not occur in the wake of the Odessa slaughter of seven people at the hands of a shooter.

The Tyler Republican said the state should not enact red flag rules, or ban high-capacity magazines or the sale or possession of AR-15 or AK-47 rifles, weapons of war designed to kill a maximum number of people in as little time as possible.

Oh, brother.

Schaefer is entitled to his opinion. I am entitled to mine as well.

I believe he is dead wrong. I also believe there are legislative remedies available to state legislatures and to Congress that can place additional restrictions on the purchase of these weapons without infringing on the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.

The shooter opened fire when a police officer pulled him over on a traffic stop. He then went on a rampage through Odessa before police killed him in a fire fight after stopping him outside of a movie theater.

Schaefer launched a Twitter thread that has gotten a good bit of resistance from Texas and around the nation. One of his entries included this: I say NO to “red flag” pre-crime laws. NO to universal background checks. NO to bans on AR-15s, or high capacity magazines. NO to mandatory gun buybacks.

Well, we know where he stands.

He added this item on the thread: YES to supporting our public schools. YES to giving every law-abiding single mom the right to carry a handgun to protect her and her kids without permission from the state, and the same for all other law-abiding Texans of age.

Texas already has lax gun restrictions. We allow residents to carry concealed weapons; they can carry them in the open. They can carry them on college campuses, in church sanctuaries.

This is the second mass slaughter in Texas in the past few weeks. I do not feel one bit safer now knowing that Texans can pack heat, giving them the opportunity to “prevent” this kind of madness.

Rep. Schaefer, we need to do something. Yes, “Godless hearts” are a problem, as Schaefer said. However, they are only part of the crisis that is enveloping the country.

When does the ‘American carnage’ stop, Mr. President?

It’s not too much to ask you, Mr. President, when you intend to deliver on that bold inaugural speech pledge you made.

You said “This American carnage stops right here, right now.” Do you remember that? Of course you do! You told us you have the “best brain” in human history.

That gunman went berserk in Odessa, Texas, today, Mr. President. He died apparently in a fire fight with police. Five more innocent victims are dead; 21 more are injured. I don’t know how many of the injured are suffering life-threatening wounds.

I also must bring up yet another declaration you made. You said at the Republican Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, that “I, alone” can cure what ails the nation. I also am sure you remember that, too.

Well, gun violence is a serious national ailment, Mr. President … even though you decline to address the issue directly whenever these massacres occur. And, yes, I consider five fatalities to be a “massacre.”

We had 22 recently in El Paso; nine more died in Dayton, Ohio. Dozens more have died in cities and towns all across the nation. Those deaths have occurred since you took the oath as president and made the “American carnage” declaration from the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building.

I am not going to blame you directly for the deaths, Mr. President. I do, however, want you to use the immense power of your office’s bully pulpit to persuade Congress to act. I want you to state categorically that you will not tolerate gun violence. I want you to speak directly to the national crisis you said you could cure all by yourself.

I am in shock, right along with the rest of the country over what has just happened — yet again! — in West Texas.

The shootings never end

The Midland-Odessa area of West Texas has joined the growing roster of communities plagued by random, insane gun violence.

As I write this brief post, CNN reports that five people are dead. Two shooters opened fire randomly throughout the adjoining cities. One of them reportedly is dead, although the Midland Police Department says there are no “active shooters” on the loose.

Oh, this insanity has gotten way out of hand. It did so long, long ago.

Here is my question of the moment: Given that Texas is supposed to be a haven for law-abiding, gun-toting citizens with state-approved licenses to carry firearms under their jackets and in the open, why didn’t someone open fire on the shooter and stop the individual before all that mayhem occurred?

This is the argument we keep hearing from the gun lobby and others who contend that more guns “in the hands of good guys” make us safer. They’re supposed to protect us against these random monsters who keep slithering out from under the rocks to start shooting innocent victims.

Well, I guess we can have that discussion another time.

At this moment I am wondering yet again what in the world is happening to us, to our nation, to our civilization.

The nation is in shock … yet again.

Astonishing lethality in Dayton massacre!

If it’s true — and I believe it is — that Dayton, Ohio, police officers shot a gunman to death just 30 seconds after the first shots rang out in the city’s entertainment district, then we need to ponder a serious question.

How in the world did the shooter act with such lethal efficiency to kill nine people and injure many others in such a short amount of time?

More to the point, what kind of firepower was this moron packing before the cops “neutralized” in a hail of gunfire?

We’re talking about two horrific massacres in the span of hours this past weekend. A Wal-Mart shopping center in El Paso, Texas, was the scene of the slaughter of 22 people. Then came the Dayton tragedy later that evening.

The police were able to respond rapidly to the Dayton tragedy. They deserve the highest praise imaginable for acting as quickly and decisively as they did, gunning down a shooter who was dressed in body armor.

But still …

He was able to kill all those people in a mere blink of time!

To think, therefore, that many within the gun lobby resist efforts to legislate restrictions on the purchase and ownership of such weapons of mass destruction. What’s more, our political leaders knuckle under to their demands to keep their hands off inadequate existing laws.


Is history about to repeat itself?

The comedian Bill Murray is old enough to remember the Vietnam War and the extreme tumult it created at home.

He writes that today’s uprising among young Americans reminds him of that earlier time, when young Americans marched in protest against a war that had become the classic quagmire.

According to CNN.com: “It was the students who made all the news, and that noise started, and then the movement wouldn’t stop,” he said. “I think, maybe, this noise that those students in Florida are making — here, today — will do something of the same nature.”

“Those students in Florida” have lit a spark among young people from coast to coast and all the areas in the middle of the country. A gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day in Parkland, Fla. He killed 17 people, most of them students. Young Americans across the land are frightened about the prospect of gun violence erupting again and again.

They are going on a collective march Saturday. They’re calling it the “March For Our Lives.” It will be sweep across the nation. Amarillo will be one of the locations where young Americans will speak their mind, they will honor the victims who have fallen not just in Parkland, but in other venues for too long.

The Amarillo event will begin at noon Saturday at Ellwood Park and will wind its way to the Potter County Courthouse grounds. Students will call — they will demand — for action to be taken in Congress and in state legislatures. They want laws enacted that could deter future slaughters from occurring.

Prior mass murders — Columbine, Sandy Hook, Sutherland Springs, Las Vegas, Orlando, Aurora — brought forth anger and misery. Presidents wept in public at the tragedy. Legislators introduced bills to be considered. But nothing happened.

Parkland appears to have been a more effective catalyst, or so it seems. It has produced a number of eloquent spokesmen and women, who happen to be among the younger generation of Americans. They are coming of age. Many of them already are eligible to vote and are pledging to use that power to bring the kind of change they seek in the halls of power.

Does that sound familiar? Sure it does. Bill Murray remembers how it was back in The Day, when young people marched along streets, demanding change in U.S. policy. That change came about largely because of those young Americans’ persistence.

The “March For Our Lives” can bring equally dramatic results. It will require an equal amount of persistence among those young people. It also will require that the rest of us pay attention.