DOA? What am I talking about? Even before it arrived in the Senate as part of a gun-control bill, Senator Feinstein’s assault weapons ban is dead.
We knew that the ban didn’t have enough votes to pass the Senate and that if by some miracle it would make it through, it would surely be killed in the GOP-controlled House. But that doesn’t make it any easier to accept. Why was the ban killed? Because Republican Senators will not support it, because Democratic Senators from red states looking to be re-elected in 2014 don’t want to bite the bullet and vote for a ban that is not only morally right, but also supported by a majority of Americans (62%).
My first reaction upon hearing this was anger, then frustration, then sadness and finally hope. Hope? Yes. Take a couple of examples from our country’s history. Today, we have a black President. Just 13 years ago, before 24 hit the air, we either didn’t imagine that it was possible or thought that it would take at least another century. In 2003, 55% of Americans opposed gay marriage. Today, only 10 years later, 58% of us believe that gay couples should have the right to be married.
Time has always been on the side of progress and evolution. But what it’s truly amazing is the speed at which progress and the evolution of ideas are happening in our time. We are doing everything faster, including becoming more open-minded.
So, maybe the NRA leaders are celebrating today. That’s alright. We will pass an assault weapons ban. There is no doubt in my mind about this. The fact that the majority of Americans (including gun owners) support it is a good indication. Common sense and common decency will prevail over spin and greed because there is no other choice. The faces of 20 innocent children and the 6 adults who tried to save them are seared in our collective conscience, prompting us to neither forget them nor to abandon the fight, and fight we must.
How? First, by logic. There is no need, no reason for civilians to own weapons designed for warfare. Period. Second, by our vote. We need to vote for those who shun extremism and divisiveness, who will not mislead us with lies and distortions, and who will not insult our intelligence. The November election results showed that despite the best efforts of some, the majority of us cannot, will not be conned.
So yes, we WILL pass an assault weapons ban. The only question that remains is when. That is a question of time. Let’s hope that, on this too, it will be on our side—fast.