Email from the Senator-elect:
[W]hen I get to the Senate, I will sign onto Senator Feinstein’s bill to re-instate a ban on assault weapons and other commonsense gun control measures. …
Re-authorizing the assault weapons ban is a responsible first step that we can take now. Is that all we can do? Of course not. Is it a full solution that will stop all gun violence? No, but it is a start.
Senator Kerry has made the same commitment.
Good first steps, indeed, but our Senators should lead, not just follow Senator Feinstein and whoever else may happen to introduce “commonsense gun control measures.” What is the good of being one of the most prominent politicians in the country, or a stellar law professor, from the greatest state in the nation, if you can’t draft the best laws?
Military-grade technology like that used to massacre 20 six-year olds and their teachers should not be permitted in private hands. This technology is relatively new in our society, and its impact is now being felt. Anything less enables future atrocities, which will happen again without fundamental change.
No semi-automatic weapons, large capacity magazines, and blow-a-six-year-olds-head-off ammunition, no Newtown. Effective anti-massacre legislation in Australia and England is a powerful example. No fatalities in a Chinese madman’s knife attack on school children and their teacher last week underlines the point.
To start, we need a comprehensive national ban, free of loopholes, on the weapon of choice for massacres: the lightweight, semi-automatic assault rifle known as the AR-15. Ban the high capacity clips that feed them. Require background checks for all purchases, including at gun shows and in private transactions. Fund a national buyback.
The AR-15, however, is a symptom, not the disease. What needs to be banned is not any particular weapon but the military-grade technology used at Newtown: semi-automatic rifles and handguns, high-capacity magazines, and special ammunition.
A more constructive approach is the estimable Peter Porcupine’s suggestion on Red Mass Group for affirmative legalization of a limited number of weapons with everything else prohibited. Single shot rifles and shotguns, which are useful for hunting and effective for self-defense, are plenty. If that had been the law, there would likely be a lot of six year olds and their teachers at home with their families this Christmas instead of buried in tiny coffins.
Our fabulous national representatives should lead, not follow.