THE FAIRY TALE OF A CONGRESSIONAL SOLUTION TO THE GUN VIOLENCE EPIDEMIC AND WHY THE ONLY WAY TO HALT IT IS BY OBAMA DECLARING A STATE OF EMERGENCY
by Elliot Fineman
CEO National Gun Victims Action Council
November 8, 2015
Once again all the gun violence prevention groups are certain that now—since the school shooting in Umpqua—we have reached a tipping point. Enough is enough they say—and this time it is different. But, this is exactly what they said after Columbine, and after Virginia Tech, and after Tucson, and after Sandy Hook and after Aurora—and it never was different. Why?
CHANGE THAT WOULD HALT THE GUN VIOLENCE EPIDEMIC IS NOT POSSIBLE AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL. NOR CAN IT BE HALTED AT THE STATE LEVEL.
(Imagine seatbelts being mandated in a few states as a solution for safe driving compared to it being a national policy, or DUI laws in a few states as opposed to there being federal laws.)
To understand why we cannot get change at the federal level, it is helpful to look at a simplified model of the United States. Imagine the country consisted of only two states California and Wyoming. And further, imagine that all of the 38 million people in California wanted sane gun laws and all the 1 million people in Wyoming wanted no gun laws.
One could say that 38 million of the 39 million people in the country (97.4%) wanted sane gun laws. But to get them would require three senators to support them. The two senators from California certainly would but both senators from Wyoming would not. Despite virtually the whole two-state country wanting sane gun laws they could not be passed. THE PROBLEM IS STRUCTURAL.
After the horror of Sandy Hook—and despite everyone saying this would be a tipping point—universal background checks could not be passed in the Senate. There were 17 states where both senators voted against the bill (see link http://gunvictimsaction.org/states-against-bg-checks/
These states are pro-gun to the core and their elected senators will never vote for any sane gun law.
And, if by some miracle every senator in the 33 remaining states voted for a sane gun law there is not a chance that the irrational House of Representatives—controlled by legislators from highly pro-gun states—would pass it.
All the renewed enthusiasm, optimism and positive expectation from our side is not based on reason—it is a fantasy—a fairy tale. There is no way the gun violence epidemic can be halted—let alone a single sane gun law passed— by congressional action.
THE ONLY WAY FOR THE GUN VIOLENCE EPIDEMIC TO BE HALTED IS FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA TO DECLARE A STATE OF EMERGENCY. Then he can issue the unrestrained executive orders needed to halt it—executive orders he cannot issue without declaring a state of emergency.
To stop the gun violence epidemic it is essential you get friends, family, people in your world to sign the petition Change.org Petition for State of Emergency. If Obama does not act we will all be helpless spectators—and potential victims—of the gun violence epidemic.