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Friday, December 4, 2015

so-called "freedom'' run amok...the Gipper would be disgusted by these cowboys

"The almost blanket opposition to greater gun controls – even in the wake of the bloodiest mass shooting since Newtown – underlined the hardline position that the Republican party has come to adopt over the second amendment.[...] It was not always like that. Ronald Reagan, a figure of worship for many modern conservatives, was far more amenable to the idea of intervention to reduce the carnage. The late president, also a former governor of California, was profoundly influenced in his thinking on firearms by the assassination attempt on his life in 1981 that injured him and left his press secretary Jim Brady paralyzed. Brady went on to found the leading gun control advocacy group in the country, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Reagan himself, on leaving office in 1989, added his considerable political weight to key pieces of gun control legislation. In 1991 he wrote an article for the New York Times titled “Why I’m for the Brady bill” in which he explained why he supported a new provision – named after Jim Brady – that forced gun buyers to wait seven days before acquiring a firearm, giving time for background checks by local police. “Every year an average of 9,200 Americans are murdered by handguns,” Reagan said. “This level of violence must be stopped. If the passage of the Brady bill were to result in a reduction of only 10-15% of those numbers (and it could be a good deal greater), it would be well worth making it the law of the land.” [..]

Over the past 20 years the NRA and the Republican party have moved in concert towards increasingly rigid policies opposing any gun controls. Their combined strength has seen the rolling back of even the meagre regulations that were in place, including the lapsing in 2004 of the assault weapons ban that Reagan had supported. The NRA and its GOP allies in Congress have similarly consistently blocked any attempt to end the situation in which individuals on the terror watchlist are allowed to buy guns. As a result, as the Washington Post has pointed out, in the 10 years up to 2014 suspected terrorists attempted to buy firearms in the US at least 2,233 times."