Since the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., which left 20 children and seven adults dead, including the shooter, the conversation about gun control has gone haywire. Anyone who has been tuning out the news media may be the fortunate one as the semi-paranoid gun advocates have taken center stage in the controversy.
Over the last couple of weeks, the “liberal media” have apparently launched a pre-emptive strike to counter pro-gun arguments in support of continued lax regulation on assault weapons. Simply put, the media are showing the public the worst of the worst of pro-gun advocates. On Jan. 7, British CNN talk-show host Piers Morgan brought radio talk-show host Alex Jones on his show for a debate over gun control. Jones, who had previously started a petition to have Morgan deported back to England, appeared hysterical and, well, completely out of his mind. Morgan remained laid-back, asking questions about gun murders in the U.S. versus England, while Jones tensed up and started arguing about great white shark attacks, chimpanzees dancing on the head of a pin, Morgan being the hatchet man of the New World Order, and how Prozac and other pharmaceuticals are mass suicide pills, to name just a few of the crazy things he said. It is no coincidence that Morgan brought Jones on to talk about gun control.
To top it off, James Yeager, video blogger and CEO of Tactical Response, a Tennessee-based defense training company, on Jan. 11 posted a ludicrous, threatening and terrifying rant on YouTube, saying that if more gun control regulations were enacted, he would “start killing people.” Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert later humorously ripped Yeager’s commentary apart for the original video and then the follow-up video where Yeager said that he wouldn’t take back anything he said. Tennessee officials responded by revoking Yeager’s concealed and carry handgun permit.
Along with these extremist pro-gun supporters, the seemingly never-ending string of headlines about gun store owners having to keep up with demand and the fact that tens of thousands of people are attending gun shows only a few weeks after the Sandy Hook tragedy are terrifying and despicable. Despite the apparent burgeoning group of pro-gun advocates, Americans across the country simply aren’t going to take it anymore. Their sentiment — we don’t need one more senseless tragedy to wake us up and get us moving.
On Wednesday morning, President Barack Obama announced a $500 million program to curb gun violence and signed 23 executive orders toward that effort, which included sweeping legislation regarding background checks, the allocation of funding for school resources and improving access to mental health services. The president also called upon Congress to pass legislation that would ban assault weapons, high capacity ammunition clips and ban gun trafficking, though he acknowledged the difficulties to overcome in a divided Congress. The president’s announcement came shortly after families of the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy called for a national dialogue to prevent similar tragedies in the future and a day after New York legislators enacted the toughest gun control law in the nation.
Though we keep hearing pro-gun advocates fall back to our civil right to bear arms, our founding fathers weren’t armed with semi-automatic weapons and high capacity clips. We need to stop the fear-mongering of a possible government takeover that justifies hoarding and stockpiling assault weapons and ammunition. Now is the time to ensure that such weapons do not fall into the hands of the unstable and putting any and all of us at risk, which we have seen happen time and time again. We must stand united in enacting common sense gun control legislation. Contact your local representatives and join the cause that protects everyone’s right to life and liberty. U.S. Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, can be reached at (202) 225-3601 or https://capps.house.gov/contact-me/email-me. U.S. Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Oak Park, can be reached at (202) 225-5811 or https://juliabrownley.house.gov/contact/email-me.