To the editor:
Doing nothing legislatively about mass murders and gun violence does not appear to be working. Waking up to the horror of shooting deaths and massacres, watching the aftermath and shaking our heads solemnly have not been effective deterrents.
The only commonality that we can discern to connect our most recent mass slaughters is that military-style, rapid-fire assault weapons have come in really handy for the murderers. We call the offices of Senator (Rob) Portman and Representative (Pat) Tiberi often to encourage them to drop their resistance to common-sense gun-control measures. I encourage you to do the same. Your input may not do any good, but it may make you feel less complicit.
We had a law banning assault weapons from 1994 to 2004 when the law expired. Three presidents (Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan) wrote a powerful letter in May 1993 to the Boston Globe, urging Congress to pass the ban.
President Reagan followed up by writing personal notes to key members of his own party and convinced them to vote for the bill. It barely passed, and having looked into the efficacy of the legislation, the ban, while not a panacea, appears to have done some good.
In this case, “some good” means a great deal more than “some good” for those who did not get murdered as a result of the ban.
Reagan, having been shot in 1981 by a nut with a gun, was also instrumental in getting the Brady Bill passed in 1993. The Brady Bill set up background checks for gun purchasers. The NRA fought furiously against both of these pieces of legislation; we can learn from this that the NRA is not omnipotent. President Reagan, incidentally, was a member of the NRA, but he was a thoughtful member and a stubborn one: stubborn enough to resist the power of the NRA and win. (However, gaping loopholes remain in that background check legislation.)
Since 2004, the NRA has been successful in thwarting all efforts to renew the ban on assault weapons. The organization has built up an aura of invincibility that has caused many of us to figure that any resistance to it is a waste of time. Maybe so … it is hard to know how thoroughly members of Congress have been bought by the NRA.
Here is something to consider: Ohio is an open carry state. But no guns are allowed inside at the Republican convention. We guess the people attending the convention would like to be relatively safe. So would the rest of us.
Dan and Mary Morrison