Reality Check w/ John Tracy: Is it finally time to ban assault weapons?
Every time there’s a mass shooting in this country, the shock is a little less, the fallout a little shorter, and the reaction from politicians and the media is all too predictable.
The president will condemn the shooting and offer thoughts and prayers, and the pundits on both sides of the political spectrum will retreat to their familiar talking points. There will be increased public support of an assault weapons ban, which the National Rifle Association will weather.
And a few weeks from now, maybe even just days from now, we’ll all be talking about something else.
We’ve been inoculated to the violence.
Semi-automatic rifles have become the weapon of choice for mass murderers. Used in the Orlando massacre that left 49 people dead and more than 50 wounded. Killed 26 victims, including 20 children in less than 5 minutes in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary.
After Sandy Hook, there was an effort to re-instate the assault weapons ban that had expired in 2004. It failed by a vote of 40-60 in the Senate, with Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Democrat Sen. Mark Begich voting against it.
There’s no reason to think such a ban would fare any better today.
The Orlando gunman purchased his weapon legally, in spite of being investigated twice by the FBI for potential ties to terrorism and landing on the terrorist watch list during those investigations. He worked as a security guard, had a concealed weapons permit, and a clean record — nothing that would have raised a red flag in a background check.
Besides, he could have legally purchased the semi-automatic from a private dealer without a background check.
And what if he had remained on the watch list?
Well, in December, the Senate voted down an amendment that would have kept even suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms. Predictably, Hillary Clinton is using the Orlando shooting to once again promote an assault weapons ban.
To be fair, she has always supported it. So did Donald Trump, before he became a Presidential candidate. And predictably, instead of using the shooting to call for a ban on assault weapons, Trump is using it to resurrect his proposed ban on Muslim immigrants, ignoring the fact that the gunman was born and raised in America.
In reality, trying to ban assault weapons now is like trying to get the toothpaste back in the tube. There are millions of assault rifles in the hands of American gun owners today.
And for terrorists — even home grown terrorists like the Orlando gunman — getting a semi-automatic would be easier than any of us would like to believe.
Like most Alaskans, I support the right to own a firearm. I also support reasonable restrictions on things like background checks and magazine capacity.
But what good is reason in a gun fight, when neither side can hear anything over the sound of their own voice? And where there is no compromise, things become… predictable.
And besides, the Orlando massacre was almost a week ago.
Not like it’s likely to happen again.
John’s opinions are his own, and not necessarily those of Denali Media or its employees.
The post Reality Check w/ John Tracy: Is it finally time to ban assault weapons? appeared first on KTVA 11.