New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and National Rifle Association Executive Vice president Wayne LaPierre are on the opposite sides of the debate on gun control.
But where the two of the most visible voices in the gun debate come together is that they both say it’s now up to the voters to make their position known to Congress.
The coming weeks will be critical to the debate on gun control. Members of congress will be heading home in the next two weeks to hear from constituents ahead of the much anticipated Senate vote on gun control scheduled for next month.
When congress returns home voters should be ready to persuade them to do the right thing and approve gun control legislation.
Voters should urge their senators to pass legislation requiring universal background checks for gun buyers and stiffer sentences for gun trafficking.
Unfortunately a ban on assault-style weapons was dropped from the bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that he would allow assault ban to be voted on separately as an amendment. To his credit, Present Barack Obama called for a vote on the assault weapons ban in his radio and Internet address Saturday.
Shortly after the horrific shooting at Newtown, Conn., elementary school in December that left 20 first-graders and six school administrators dead, Congress appeared as if would be ready to pass comprehensive gun control legislation.
Since then momentum for gun control has appeared to have slowed down despite polls showing that 90 percent of all Americans and 80 percent of NRA members support universal background checks for gun purchases.
Several prominent pro-gun Democrat Senators including Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey have announced they would support gun control measures such as bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
Casey explained his change in position on gun control during a Monday morning appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe saying he thought about the Newtown shooting and realized it could have been even worse.
“When I watch more and learned more about how he killed his mother and the rage that he bought to that school…I began to think of what could’ve happened, and not the reality but the potential,” he said citing published reports. “He was not going to kill 20 children, but he was going to try and kill several hundred and would have if he’s had the time and capacity.”
Now is the time to urge senators to pass sensible gun control legislation.
(Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune.)