This will not be a long post. All I hope to accomplish is to persuade a person or two that today is the time to talk about gun control legislation. We can even tweet about gun control if that is the only way.
Let’s tweet about gun control, beginning with bump stocks
Prior to this week, I had never heard of a bump stock. As I understand it, a bump stock modifies a rifle by mounting itself between the shooter’s shoulder and the shoulder-mount of a semi-automatic rifle. It allows the shooter to hold his trigger finger in place, while the natural recoil of the gun causes it to oscillate back and forth, firing as many as nine bullets per second.
Guns scare me. I’m not just talking about the modified automatic-style weapons used in the Las Vegas terrorist attack. Those should scare everyone. I’m also talking about the regular pistols that people carry–legally or not–in their waistbands, hip-mounted gun clips, or any number of other device mean to conceal it. I have never owned a gun or fired fired anything more powerful than an air pistol or a potato gun. And I’m not sure the potato gun was even safe or legal, having been built by hand as I was a child watching in my dad’s garage. I am definitely out of touch on this issue, or at least, unable to speak to it with the same perspective as the approximately 35% of the population that does own guns. So, I recognize my own bias as I speak about this issue.
It’s time to tweet about gun control if we cannot at least discuss it.
But I can’t help but wonder: when is it time to talk about gun control? As I write this post, I am watching CNN interview Presidential Counselor Kellyanne Conway, who is defending the administration’s statement that now is not the time to talk about gun control. The President, a master tweeter, will not even send a single tweet about gun control. Here is what the administration has sad on gun control since the date of the Las Vegas Terrorist Attack:
On Wednesday, October 4, 2017, a reporter asked the President during his trip to Lss Vegas about gun control, to which the President responded “We’re not going to talk about that today . . . we won’t talk about that.” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders [who, as an aside, I believe is very good at her difficult job], teared up while discussing the attack, but stuck to the party line:
“‘There’s a time and place for a political debate, but now is the time to unite as a country,’ Sanders said. ‘There’s currently an open and ongoing law enforcement investigation, a motive is yet to be determined and it would be premature for us to discuss policy when we don’t fully know all the facts or what took place last night.'”
More silence on gun control.
Politico notes that the lobbying organization is following its traditional political playbook by remaining silent after a national tragedy. But that isn’t really accurate. The National Rifle Association is talking–very loudly–about gun control. They are just advocating the other side of the position. A Thursday morning screen screen capture of their lobbying arm, the Institute for Legisltaive Action, shows an organization silent about Las Vegas, but very vocal about pushing concealed carry laws on college campuses.
The Federalist recently wrote an excellent piece explaining the extent to which federal law already regulates the sale of automatic weapons in this country. However, the Las Vegas terrorist is not alleged (yet) to have broken any of those laws.
And therein lies the problem with the Las Vegas Terrorist Attack. Save for the attack itself, the attacker does not appear to have violated or shirked any state or federal gun control legislation. This is why it is so critical that we have the conversation. If we cannot have a civil discussion about it, we can tweet about gun control in 140 characters or less.
If we can tweet about Puerto Rico and #FakeNews, we can tweet about gun control.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 4, 2017
And, I do not buy for one second that it is inappropriate to “politicize” this tragedy. We are happy to talk about how we can improve disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Maria, going so far as to discuss Puerto Rico’s substandard infrastructure and methods to protect itself against future natural disasters. As of this writing, I count no fewer than 32 tweets or retweets by the President regarding Puerto Rico (most of them complaining about #FakeNews). However, I am unable to locate a single tweet about gun control wake of the Las Vegas Attack.