So how do the American people respond to mass shootings of innocents? How do they want their elected representatives to respond?
There are those that would argue that the tragic, and they were heartrendingly tragic, events in Newtown last month would be the last straw for the American people. They would finally lay down their arms, "and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. "
The American people do one thing that is incontrovertible as a result of mass shootings. They arm themselves.
We do have some data to refer to concerning gun sales. It's not all cloak and dagger and gun shows and back alleys. Yes, background checks have to be run on all individuals purchasing firearms from federally licensed retailers. I underwent this background check a decade ago when I purchased my firearm from a pawn shop/gun store.
Background checks are necessary for individuals buying firearms from federally licensed retailers. Actual gun sales figures are not easily trackable.Actual guns sales figures are not trackable, but this does make gun sales trendable. The number 40% has been bandied about by the Brady Campaign, our President and Mayor Bloomberg for the number of guns sold without a background check. About 1% of sales were denied in 2009 due to background checks. I think it is fair to say that the number of background checks in any given month is a reasonable reflection of a minimum number of new gun purchases. In November and December of 2012, 4,790,684 background checks were run.
Reuters examined the number of background checks in the month of and the month after 15 mass shootings since 1999. A mass shooting was defined as an incident where at least five people were killed and where the event received sustained media attention over a period of days.
The analysis found that background checks in the month of and the month after mass shootings were on average 19 percent higher than checks in other months. The pattern holds even after 2006, when gun sales broadly started to rise.
To put that in perspective, During fiscal year 2010, the Regular Army reported a strength of 561,979 soldiers; the Army National Guard (ARNG) reported 362,015 and the United States Army Reserve (USAR) reported 205,281 putting the combined component strength total at 1,129,275 soldier In two months, enough guns were purchased by the American people to give each soldier 3 or 4 new firearms.
This is just two months sales. And it's not like nobody was armed before November, 2012.
By the same year, 2009, theThe American people are keeping and bearing arms as hard and as fast as they can.
estimated total number of firearms available to civilians in the United States had increased to
approximately 310 million: 114 million handguns, 110 million rifles, and 86 million shotguns.
So what's Harry Reid going to do about it? "Is (a ban on assault weapons) something that can pass the Senate? Maybe," Reid said in an interview with a PBS television affiliate in Las Vegas. "Is it something that can pass the House? I doubt it."
Will he expose Senators up for re-election on a bill that won't pass the house? What are his constituents doing? Gun sales are booming.
Nevada's rules on assault weapon sales are so lax that some blame the Silver State for the flow of such firearms into California, where the guns have been banned in some form since 1989. With a reorganized NRA contingent, growing gun club memberships, and a slew of pro-firearm laws passed in the past five years, gun enthusiasts here said they are not concerned that their local lawmakers will join California's march toward an antigun culture.Then there is Senator Al Franken. We all heard about his waffle last week. Why would he do that?
Yet they do worry that federal authorities will try to force them.
Kay Hagen and Mark McIntyre in North Carolina have not made their positions "clear."
Why would they not take a stand? They are selling so many guns in North Carolina that the permit process is backlogged.
My Senator, Bill Nelson, did express support for the President's agenda. He also went snake hunting over the weekend, and made sure his constituents knew it! Interestingly, on his web site, there is a poll concerning re instituting the assault weapons ban. Right now, 88+% are opposed.
Look, realistically, and taking into account the apparent desire to keep and bear arms in this country - I don't think much is going to happen on gun control. The President did what he could in those matters, but the executive office does not legislate. He's asking Congress to consider a new Assault Weapons Ban and a ban on high capacity magazines - but he can't demand it. He is writing quite a few memo's to agencies within the executive branch urging people to do their jobs for God's sake. There is one letter mentioned in those proposals, and I bet that will be "strongly worded" when it gets written. The armed guards thing (and I don't care what anyone here says, that WAS a hat tip to the NRA) is probably the likeliest to see fruition - and that is already happening in the states. It makes sense to me if we can put armed guards in the courthouse and the sports arena, we should give our children the same protection.
Perhaps it is time to accept the things we cannot change - all of the above. And change the things we can - mental health care, eforcement of existing laws, expanded background checks, armed security for our children and teachers.
Thank you for your time and attention, if you managed to slog through it all!
A Florida Pragmatist