It has been over a week since the last spate of bullet-spattered massacres in America ended and Donald Trump has already declared there is no political appetite for removing guns from America’s mean streets. Apparently mollified, the Republican-controlled do nothing Senate is already getting back to the new normal in the land of the free and home of the bullet riddled dead.
Instead of trying to limit the sale of military-style weapons, the Democrat’s conundrum, the Republicans are trying out a catchy new mantra: “Gun control is about taking all guns away from a few people, and not a few guns away from all people.”
Its a lie of course. There are no provisions currently available to seize anyone’s guns unless they own and/or use them unlawfully. Obama fronted a bill to identify mentally disturbed people on Social Security before they bought guns, but Trump gutted it with a stroke of his life-sucking Sharpie shortly after taking office in 2017.
Obama’s initiative added people to the national background check database receiving Social Security checks for mental illnesses and those deemed unfit to handle their own financial affairs. More than 75,000 dubious gun owners were identified by the law.
Thanks to Trump, those unfortunates can now buy what they want. With more than 300 million registered firearms in the USA, and millions more in the shadows, it isn’t hard to do.
Public interest in last week’s slaughters hadn’t yet waned when the new week started with four gruesome stabbings, followed by several minor shoot’em ups with only a handful of dead in each rampage. Except for routine gang violence, and numerous reports of cops, robbers, husbands, wives and lovers shooting each other, the corpse count stayed low. The national sigh of relief was almost palpable.
Last year “routine” shootings cost 40,000 Americans their lives. For perspective, the Vietnam War lasted 19 years, 180 days, costing American families more than 58,000 dead. Whoever doesn’t think there is class warfare on the streets needs to pay closer attention.
But without new mounds of corpses to focus on, the public’s fickle interest in America’s endless slaughter will soon wane until the next time and the time after that.
Trump made the situation about himself instead of offering any solutions with teeth, like banning the sale and ownership of military-style assault rifles, restricting unlimited purchases of ammunition, and admitting large capacity magazines are never needed for home protection.
Trump says he must take into consideration the views of the NRA, which has a reported membership of 5.5 million. That leaves about 322.5 million Americans with other points of view.
“They (NRA) think you approve one thing and that leads to a lot of bad things. I don’t agree with that,” Trump obfuscated. “I think we can do meaningful, very meaningful background checks. I want to see it happen.”
The people in El Paso and Dayton begged Trump to do something meaningful when he came to their cities to promote his agenda. Never without a cynical ruse, the Master of Disaster obliged using his commodious pie hole, dithering about a litany of pointless NRA-approved gun control measures that inexplicably leave guns completely out of the equation.
The so-called “red flag” laws promoted by Trump are intended to identify questionable buyers at the point of sale, he says. While the politicians debate the pros and cons of poking into peoples lives, more shooters will acquire killing machines and more victims will die. At least in the immediate future the red flag concept is a fairy tale.
The House Democrats passed a more ambitious bill last February that required background checks for all gun purchasers, including those sold on the internet or at gun shows, as well as extending waiting limits for would-be gun buyers flagged by a still to-be-announced instant check system.
It is dependent on information that can point to potential lawbreakers that doesn’t yet exist. Moscow Mitch is meanwhile sitting on it.
The Dems’ diluted law does nothing to reduce the number of military style assault rifles for sale, or prohibit the sale of after-market devices that turn “military style” rifles into high-speed killing machines. That part of the Dems’ effort, stymied by Republican resistance, never made it out of committee.
Trump, never a man to miss an opportunity to further muddy the waters, is claiming he wants to do something to stop the mindless slaughter. His initial plan involves asking lunatic gun buyers intent on violence if they are mentally unsound and intent on gun violence.
What can possibly go wrong?
In addition, the Liar-In-Chief is going asked his favorite new toady and imperiled Senate majority leader if he will allow the Senate to vote on a background check bill after they get back from resting next month. He will. Mitch is cozying up to Trump like he is Putin.
Trump says Moscow Mitch will do it for him, almost certainly allowing the Senate to vote on at least one of the several homogenized bi-partisan bills McConnell has been lording over. Their fate is predicated by the ultimate victor of the NRA civil war underway between moderates and extremists over the expansive spending of chairman and chief anti-gun control demagogue Wayne LaPierre.
During the Trump campaign, the NRA ‘s unprecedented generosity was aimed primarily at delivering Trump the White House and helping prominent Republicans hold on in both houses of Congress.
There wasn’t enough money left to buy all of Congress in 2018 and the Democrats regained control of the House. Now with his own situation in doubt back home, McConnell is apparently waiting to see which side his toast will be buttered on before he pokes out his head. He knows being patient has its rewards.
The NRA’s overall political spending was more than $100 million in 2016, surpassing all previous NRA annual totals, according to an audit obtained by the Center for Responsive Politics. Trump received $30 million and Mitch a paltry $1.3 million.
It was scarcely a tidbit compared to the $7.74 million given to the late Republican Sen. John McCain, the $6.99 million for Sen. Richard Burr, $4.55 million for Sen. Roy Blunt, $4.42 million for Sen. Thom Tillis, and $3.88 million for Sen. Cory Gardner, all Republicans.
In exchange, Trump and his bought cronies remain prepared to reject any meaningful gun control reformation beyond limited background checks.
The NRA is well aware that Trump’s background check idea is flawed on its face. Years of mass shooting have already demonstrated that computer checks don’t stop reasonably intelligent people spurned at gun counters from going somewhere else to buy their Rambo fantasy firearms. There are thousands of undeclared ARs and many times more high-capacity magazines immediately available for the right price.
“Oh my, that’s illegal,” you say. Well, wake up!
Bump stocks are illegal, so is a lethal little mechanism called a “modified sear” that turns any conversion-capable rifle into an automatic weapon, as do similar drop-in trigger assemblies that fine tune other ARs into real automatic killing machines. Making them isn’t brain surgery.
AR-15 rifles equipped with Drop In Auto Sears (DIAS) manufactured after October 31, 1981, are considered machine guns and regulated under the National Firearms Act of 1934. Go to an unsupervised gun range some weekend to witness how many are still around.
The altered guns are illegal to own without a special license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. It is an almost impossible law to proactively enforce because there is no obvious indicator that sets altered assault rifles apart from their semi-automatic cousins until the shooter rips off a burst.
Want one anyway? They are out there under a variety of names and guises. So are gunsmiths who dabble in automatic weapons. Just don’t look to a guy who has Alex Jones stickers all over his car, he’ll steal your rifle.